Rotary Club of Oak Bay Victoria British Columbia Canada Rotary District 5020
2008-2009 Rotary International Theme: Make Dreams Real
District 5020 Governor 08-09: Brian Beagle Assistant Governor: David Stocks
Join us at Noon on Tuesdays at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre ( MAP)

Program for March 3, 2009, reported by Neil Madsen. CLICK HERE for Print Version

President Neil’s Anouncements:


In order to maintain an active and vibrant club it is vitally important that every member should attend the club’s regular meetings. While there are times when it is not possible to attend, the bylaws require a 60% attendence record. Rotary meetings allow you to enjoy the fellowship of members old and new, provide the opportunity to bring you up to date on Rotary activities and enjoy informative programs. During the last quarter of 2008 and early 2009 we have noticed a slip in attendence figures and hope that you can make every effort to make club meetings. Why not bring a guest to the next meeting and share Rotary with them?

Lieutenant Governor Visit:

On March 17th our special guest will be The Honourable Steven L. Point, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. His Honour will be speaking on the topic of Literacy as March is literacy month in Rotary. If you wish to bring a guest could you please let Joan Peggs or Neil Rawnsley know for catering purposes. With the visit of the Lieutenant Governor there are general procedures, customs and protocol which are appropriate for the occasion. Members should arrive and be seated prior to the arrival of the Lieutenant Governor. His Honour will speak before the buffet lunch. Please arrive prior to 12:10. Thanks to Joan Peggs for extending the invitation and coordinating the visit.



President Neil began the meeting with a quote from 1998/99 RI President James L. Lacy of the Rotary Club of Cookeville, Tennessee, who wrote in a Rotarian article entitled, A Dream for Our Children's Future: “We cannot talk about the future without talking about children. They are our future”. Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest”.

Tom Lidkea played for O Canada and Peter Lawrie said grace.

Visiting Rotarians And Guests Visiting Guest, introduced by Tav, was Penny Loome, our guest speaker.

Guest Speaker, introduced by Joan Peggs

Penny Loome is an educator with experience abroad (Peru, Morocco, Thailand & Curacao). She specializes in early literacy and children with difficulty learning to read. She has also made documentary films. She started working for Sylvan Learning Victoria in 2001, and in 2007 she and her husband bought the francise.

She began by citing some shocking statistics. For example, a UN survey ranked Canada as 17th in the world (top five were Cuba, Estonia, Poland, Barbados & Latvia) . The UN criteria: ability to read or write a simple sentence. (Ed’s Note: I for one am always skeptical of UN surveys). Another survey (name escaped these old ears) concentrated on prose literacy, i.e., what we used to call reading comprehension. This classified respondents into five categories:
Level - Description - Canada’s position.
1 - Grade one or two - 15%
2 - Intermediate grades - 27%
3 - Secondary school or college - 39%
4 - Good command, above grade 12 level - 11%
5 - Beyond University level - 4%

According to this survey, 42% of Canadians are category one or two, dubbed semiliterate. A recent survey classified 34% of B.C. residents as semiliterate, and this did not improve in spite of $40M being spent on the problem. Penny noted that 90% of the people who come to their institute do so to get training in literacy skills in spite of having graduated from good schools. She ascribed part of the problem to the all-pervading availability of electronic gadgets, such as the Internet, cell phones, etc., and that parents do not take sufficient interest in their children’s school work. Furthermore, 30% of teachers can’t meet a reasonable (level 4) test. Also, 35% of parents can’t properly interpret instructions for the taking of prescribed medicine. In other words, this is another example of the blind leading the blind phenomenon. One final chilling statistic was that 30% of truck drivers can’t properly read and interpret highway signs (mind you, many of these are written by semiliterates and are tough for anyone to cut through their ambiguities and winkle out what was meant).

harrison poster
Ted Harrison with Joan Peggs and Penny Loome, top bidders on the Harrison Rotary Poster.

A lively discussion followed and Perry noted that Indian and Pakistani students in his business or engineering classes wrote better English because their parents had sat on them and made them learn it. Tom Lidkea noted that only a quarter of the engineers he had dealt with could write a decent report, and accused Perry of not doing a good job in teaching them. Neil M. noted that most exams in science are multiple choice and his students were terrified when confronted with an essay question.

The speaker was thanked by Joan Firkins.


Peter Lawrie fined Perry for late night carousing, Dallas and David P. for spectacular runs to steal the last two parking places, Neil M. for signing in as Cedric M., those who had not picked up their Grace books and/or had brought no guests this year.

We sang Happy Birthday for Anne Sims. Happy $ from Mark Bedford for a sold sign on his house, and $5 from Tom Croft for the same reason. Peter Johannknecht gave $20 for finally being admitted to the Achitectural Institute of B.C. Dallas won the draw but drew black.

Peter LawrieA Paul Harris pin with one sappire was awarded to Peter Lawrie (above). President Neil congratulated him and noted his fine contributions as a relatively new member.

Auction of Ted Harrison Posters: For rather obscure reasons President Neil came into possession of 4 of these and auctioned off two of them, one to Joan Peggs for $175 and one to our guest Penny Loom for $170. Two more next week.

President Neil called our attention to two spiffy new banners, one with the 4-Way Test and the other with the Objects of Rotary. Also a new plaque at the foot of the stairs, announcing
our meeting place and date.

Those responsible for the party on Saturday were thanked.


March 2009 Programs
March 3 - Sylvan Learning Centre - Penny Loome
March 10 - Kathy Upton - George Jay School - Their Literacy projects
March 17 - Lieutenant Governor (Stephen Pointe)
March 24 - Literacy programs at The Oak Bay Library. Neil McAllister (Librarian)
March 31 - Social Tuesday - Social Committee
03-Mar Lawrie MacPherson McLean Maxwell McDougall
10-Mar McLeod McLaughlin Murray Mutter Nazar
17-Mar Ockermueller Davie Petrie Peggs Philip
24-Mar Pitt Edgell Prentice Pritchard Schopper
31-Mar Sims Snively Timmermans Timmermans Aked
Cash Desk: Sim; 50-50: Toal

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Tav Macpherson Tom Croft Realty Rod Sim CA CFP Jim Force John Snively Jack Petrie Joan Peggs David Philip Ted Harrison Studio Vicky Pitt