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Career Technical Education Program at Chaparral High School, February 14, 2016
Rotary Club of Ojai helps local students realize their dreams by providing over $65,000 in college and vocational scholarships each year to graduating high school seniors through its Educational Foundation (RCOEF).  It also supports school programs for students as they prepare themselves for good jobs and to become good citizens. 
That’s why Rotary Club of Ojai is especially interested in the new Career Technical Education Program at Chaparral High School, funded through the Ventura County Innovates grant.  Chaparral students can take classes in Horticulture, and in Graphic Design and Product Printing. In addition to providing valuable skills that can lead to employment, students can also get college credit at Ventura College upon successful completion of these classes. 
“All students aren’t cut out for the traditional academic path to college and a career, but are highly motivated when they are learning a skill that they enjoy,” says Becky Beckett, Dean of Students and Director of Alternative Education at Chaparral High School.  She hopes that they can expand the technical education program with additional classes next year.
Rotary Club of Ojai donated a much-needed tool shed and a green house for Chaparral’s horticulture vocational program.  It is also arranging for local representatives to speak with Chaparral students about opportunities in areas of work most available in the Ojai Valley: building trades, independent small businesses, hospitality, and health care. 
 High school seniors graduating in June from all schools in the Ojai Valley can apply for vocational and college scholarships funded by the Rotary Club of Ojai Educational Foundation.  Scholarships may be used at community colleges, vocational or technical training schools, or to purchase tools or equipment required for training programs, in addition to four-year colleges and universities. Applications are due by March 18, 2016, and can be found at, then follow the link to Ojai Rotary Ed Foundation.
Photo by Marty Babayco
Students in Horticulture Career Technical Education Program at Chaparral High School
Left to right:  
Shane Ortiz
Justin Morter
Hannah Johnson
Sara Ignacio
Daniel Lindsey
Wyatt Heuser
Keegan Scarminach
Rotary donates new Matilija Auditorium sound system, January 20, 2016
Matilija Junior High School Auditorium’s aging sound system got a “voice-lift, ” thanks to Rotary Club of Ojai and Rotary Club of Ojai West, and a District Grant from Rotary District 5240.  The antiquated analog soundboard with missing channels, and only one aging loud speaker, detracted from the excellent student and community productions produced at Ojai’s largest public venue that is used by numerous school and civic groups. 
Now sound in Matilija Auditorium sparkles with the PreSonus 32.4.2Al mixer and two Crown Stereo amplifiers mounted on the side walls.   The Rotary Clubs included several individual lavaliere microphones for the Nordhoff music department and drama program in this sound makeover.
The system was designed and installed by sound engineer James Atunez, of A to Z Musical Services.   “Besides being more energy efficient, this system is a lot easier for people to use,” reports James, who is planning to train students and adults from organizations that frequently use the auditorium.
           “The old system seriously limited our ability to do any exciting new sound effects.  Now we will have much clearer digital sound, which will really increase the enjoyment of the audience,” said Rotarian Marty Babayco, director of Nordhoff High School’s popular musicals.
Until the Ojai Playhouse’s renovation is finished, this new sound system will also improve the audience’s viewing pleasure at the Ojai Film Society Sunday afternoon showings. 
Sound engineer James Atunez demonstrates the new sound board to (Left to right) Bill Wagner, Music Director at Nordhoff High School, Suzanne Scar, President of Rotary Club of Ojai, and Bill Shouse, President of Rotary Club of Ojai West. (Photo by Marty Babayco)
Rotarians Celebrate International Literacy Day, September 8, 2015
September 8 was International Literacy Day, and you have an opportunity to further literacy.  Over the last several years, the Rotary Club of Ojai has provided volunteers who devote 1 hour per week helping students in Ojai Unified School District elementary schools learn to be better readers.
The club is looking for additional volunteers from the community.  Ten people regularly volunteer their time each week, but principals report there is a need for more.  No special training or skills are required beyond a pleasure in reading. Each volunteer will work under the supervision of a professional teacher.  Typically, a volunteer will work one-on-one, or with a small handful of students.  According to previous volunteers, the hours devoted to helping students read and read better are enormously gratifying.  One volunteer said, “It is really great to meet your students in Vons and have them tell you what books they are reading.”
Frederick Douglass, who was born a slave and who taught himself to read, said, “…once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”  If you are interested in volunteering, please call Randy Roth of the Ojai Rotary Club at 805 798 3925.