Category Archives: Rotary News

2016 Demotion Dinner In Honor of Bill Shieff

A stylish send-off for our stylish outgoing President Bill Shieff and First Lady Sue Shieff. Planned and executed perfectly by 2014-2015 President Bryan Earll and the lovely Sarah Earll, with help from Sia Soris, member of the club and proprietress of the Monrovian Restaurant.  The banquet room was quiet elegance with white table cloths, silver chargers, and stunning hydrangea and rose centerpieces.

There were moving tributes to Bill from Bryan Earll, Stan Pitts, Sylvia Domotor, and Bill’s wife Sue. Bill then thanked the members of the Demotion Committee and his Board of Directors for the past year.

As is customary, the demotion marks the selection of the honorees of the club’s top awards, Rotarian of the Year was deserved by Tom Hould for his work with RYLA amongst other contributions, the Tiger of the Year, given to a newer Rotarian, went to Lynda Linforth for her many contributions including her help at the Race to the Falls and First Fridays, and the club’s top awardee was Dr. Sylvia Domotor, winning the George J. Carlson Award which is given in recognition of multiple years of outstanding service.  Notably, “Dr. D” started and runs the annual Santa Clothes program.

Finally, the presidential pin, a vintage pin dating to the club’s inception,as well as the official gavel, was passed to incoming President Susanne Hayek.

2016 Student Scholarships Awarded

The Monrovia Rotary Club presented $14,000 in scholarships to deserving students from the Monrovia School District.  These scholarships were made possible by the generosity of our community partners,  our members, in particular Mr. Richard Tipping, and by the generosity of Choon Baick, M.D. and Delos Comstock, M.D. , the original donors to the club’s Comstock Fund. Special thanks to Erica Hahn(Chairperson), Richard Tipping, Jenny Pappano,Tom Hould for your hard work on the 2016 Scholarship Committee!


The 2016 Scholarship Recipients are:

Monrovia High School


Kaela Polnitz 

Jacqueline Hernandez

Dalila McKelvey   

Ian Flores 

Brian Alvarado


Jacob Szymkowski  in recognition of his outstanding academics


Alexandra Haney

Rogelio Lopez   

Amanda Jaramillo

Aisling O’Beirne

Celina Garcia 

Billy Ryan Athletic

Justin Crutchfield

Mountain Park School


Heather Mercieca


Rachel Acosta 

Tipping Scholarships  

Kirstin Casner

Samantha Proctor

Distinguished Speaker: Zanaida Robles-SGV Choral Company

The Monrovia Rotary Club was pleased to have Zanaida Robles as its guest speaker yesterday, March 1.  She was here to speak about her passion, the San Gabriel Valley Choral Company, of which she is the artistic director.

The San Gabriel Valley Choral Company (SGVCC) was founded by Dr. Thomas M. Miyake in September 1995 to provide local singers the opportunity to “stretch their minds and vocal chords.” The ensemble is comprised of singers from the San Gabriel Valley, the Inland Empire and other local communities. Their repertoire has included music from the Renaissance period to works of the late 20th century. Along with more traditional selections, music performed has included avant-garde, jazz, a Broadway musical review, and staged productions.

Zanaida is a singer, conductor, composer, and music instructor born, raised, and educated in Southern California. She is the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions including the USC Scholar’s Symposium Fellowship, the Young Musicians Foundation Gladys Turk scholarship, the USC Choral Department Scholarship, the USC Black Alumni Association scholarship, two L.A. Artist of the Future awards, the NFAA Young Arts level one award in classical voice, two Charles “Dolo” Coker Jazz Awards, the KCET Emerging Young Artist Grand Prize, the Cal State Long Beach 4-year Dean’s Scholarship for Distinction in the Arts, and the NAACP ACT-SO national gold medal for music composition. She holds a Doctor of Music Arts degree from the USC Thornton School of Music, a Master of Music degree from CSU Northridge, and a Bachelor of Music degree from CSU Long Beach.

Service Saturday

A small but dedicated group of Rotarians partnered with the Monrovia Area Partnership (MAP) and the Volunteer Center of San Gabriel Valley to plant drought tolerant materials at a home in Monrovia. Hard at work were Bill Shieff, Steve Knight, Bryan Earll, Trevor Fessenden, Lindy Hercus and Sylvia Domotor.

Annual Music Contest Held

Jenny Pappano acted as master of ceremonies as four anxious young men each awaited his turn in front of us, hoping to demonstrate his virtuosity on his chosen instrument in the club level of the Dan Stover Music Competition. The completion, named in honor of the Alhambra Rotarian and dedicated musician, is one of three district wide events, along with the Hensel Essay and Four Way Speech contests, held for high school students throughout District 5300 each year. The contestants were: Joseph Garcia, xylophone; Luis Villa-Lobos, violin; Ian Flores, drums; and Nathaniel Young, saxophone. Each was impressive in his own right, but it was drummer Ian Flores who won the crowd over with his stage presence as well as his playing. He accepted his $150 prize with a big smile.  He will move on to compete at the Group level and if successful will compete at the District 5300 Conference, held this year in San Diego.

The Power of One

Rotary brings us many remarkable stories about how one person can motivate wonderful projects.  Today’s breakfast speaker at the 2016 multi-district PETS (President-Elect Training Seminar) was David Bobanick, talking about Rotary First Harvest.  RHF was started in 1982 by one Rotarian, Norm Hillis.  He recognized that roughly 38% of grown food in the United States is wasted due to cosmetic, size, and shape issues.  He had a dream of saving that food to be used in hunger relief centers.  Knowing that 60% of the populations served in those centers were children and seniors further motivated him.  He leveraged his passion and his Rotary and business contacts to create an organization which has diverted  193,679,072 pounds of food from unsaleable to hunger relief agencies since inception in 1982.

The organization is still going strong and has expanded to partner with Americorps Vista to involve recent college grads who spend a year working with small farmers in a produce recovery model that saves 33.4 million pounds of produce.


“The Heart of a Rotarian” – Malcolm Graham

Persons drawn to Rotary membership are often involved deeply in many other charitable activities – Monrovia Rotarian Malcolm Graham is no exception. Following a successful 26 year career in insurance, first with a British Insurance Company (Royal Sun Alliance Group) and thereafter a CEO of an Insurance brokerage company he became a missionary for 30 years with African Enterprise as their Administrator, mostly coordinating their international ministry.

For the past two years the Monrovia Rotary Club has been pleased to partner with Malcolm and African Enterprise with a donation of $500.00 to a school supplies project for 253 children at the Umsilinga Primary School in South Africa.

The following is a letter of thanks  received by Malcolm and the Monrovia Rotary Club:

Dear Malcolm and Monrovia (CA) Rotary Club Members,Thank you so very, very much for bringing such joy and delight to the children at the Umsilinga Primary School.  Through your generous giving we were able to purchase a year’s supply per child of 253 sets of very basic stationery consisting of the following:
–    5 x Bic Click blue Ballpoint Pens
–    5 HB Pencils
–    1 Ruler
–    1 x large Pritt Glue stick.
These little acts of kindness means so much to the children in this destitute community, many of whom are orphaned and living with aged grandmothers and some are in child-headed households.  The 253 children no longer have to beg and borrow from each other.  When we were teaching English at the school we found that one child would write and then hand the pen to the next child.  This was really disruptive to the lessons.We handed over the stationery supplies to Mrs. Essa the Principal of the School so that she and her Educators could do the distribution as we didn’t want to unduly disrupt lessons or take up too much for Mrs. Essa’s time, but we did personally distributed to the one Grade 6 Class.  More photos will

We wish you could have been with us to see the children’s faces light up with such bright and beautiful smiles as they received their stationery!

Thank you Malcolm and the Monrovia Rotary Club for your kindness and

God bless you!

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But
the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” Mother Teresa

Kind regards
Yours sincerely

Sandra Pillay
Project Manager/Fundraiser
PO Box 21810, Mayors Walk, 3208, KwaZulu-Natal
Tel: 033- 342 6525 (Office)
Cell:  074 1200 337
PBO No. 930031274;  NPO No. 040-839
A member of the Southern African Institute of Fundraising

“Blessed is He who considers the poor” Psalm 41:1

Distinguished Speaker: Richard Ashworth, CitizensTrust

The Monrovia Rotary Club is pleased to present Mr. Richard Ashworth as its guest speaker on Tuesday February 1.  Mr. Ashworth holds the position of Vice President, Private Client Advisor at CitizensTrust.

Mr. Ashworth earned his BS degree in Business Administration from East Carolina University at Greenville, NC.  Over the past 17 years Rich has worked at Wells Fargo Securities in various positions focusing on fixed income and broader investment sales throughout Arizona, California and Nevada.  Prior to that, Rich was with Kidder Peabody & Co. and First Interstate Bank for five years and six years respectively.  He has worked actively with clients spanning individual wealth management, municipalities, water districts and corporate market segments.  He has the sales experience, proven performance and depth of investment knowledge to address the needs of those broad groups in a superior manner.

New Member: Dana Sacdalan

The Monrovia Rotary Club is pleased to welcome Dana Sacdalan to membership.

Dana is a financial coach, mother and business owner.  She started a tax, accounting and financial coaching practice (RMD Financial Services) together with her husband Manny, in Monrovia in January 2015.

Dana grew up in Spain and moved to Los Angeles to complete her undergraduate degree in Hotel, Restaurant Management. Since then she went on to complete a graduate degree in Business Administration.

Dana’s passion and calling is to coach others in the skills needed to achieve financial peace.  As a couple, Dana and Manny have coordinated financial classes at their local church to help within their parish and community.  In 2015, Dana received additional training in Nashville by Dave Ramsey’s team of coaches and as a financial coach plans to continue providing coaching both as a ministry, and a fee based service for individuals and small businesses within their company.  Most recently, Dana has implemented financial coaching directed at helping single mothers.

The Monrovia Rotary Club looks forward to partnering with Dana in her passion for community service!

Photo from right to left: Monrovia Rotary Club President, Bill Shieff, Dana Sacdalan, Dana’s sponsor, Susanne Hayek, Manny Sacdalan, back row: Tom Adams, Mayor of Monrovia and Past President of the Monrovia Rotary Club.