• Club Number 18039
  • District 9685
  • Chartered 1946


Youth Exchange Student John Goris - Report from Finland

Winter is coming to Finland early it seems. We had the first Autumn snow of the year in Toijala just two days ago but it only left a light coating and is already melting away. It’s not so cold yet, the days hang around -3 to 5 degrees so with three layers you’re fine unless it’s really windy. Just like squirrels, the Finns are preparing to hibernate for the winter. DVD’s are being stocked up on, video games are being bought and everyone’s getting a new winter jacket. 

It’s really noticeable the shift in people’s moods with the cold weather. People don’t do stuff nearly as much as in summer and I think they’re already getting bored. But it looks like there won’t be any chance for snow sports for another couple of months so it should just be snow in the shoes and the occasional snowball fight. 

I had a really awesome opportunity to be a teacher for a couple of days at a school in a nearby town called vesilahti. One of my school friends is a teacher there and she asked me if I’d like to give my presentation about Australia to her English classes. They’d be for years 7-9 so about 12-15 year olds. The lesson plan was first to introduce myself, then give the presentation, short question time and then we went outside and threw a boomerang. 

The classes responded really well to my presentations and asked a lot of good questions about both me and Australia. At lunch I was given a tour of the school which has recently been awarded best international school in Finland which is extremely impressive considering Vesilahti is rural town smaller than Toijala. I gave my presentation about 12 times and then after I finished on the second day, I was invited by the school principal to join him, and the school council, on a day cruise to the Aland islands between Sweden and Finland. The cruise was also for the school student council so they could meet and decide on school matters. 

I prepared a report about my school in Australia, how it differs from school in Finland but talked about more philosophical matters like the school’s ethos and the importance of the school in the community. In the afternoon the meeting was over and we could enjoy the on-board buffet, spa retreat, duty free shopping and all the amazing views of the Finnish archipelago. I spent this portion of the cruise with the principal who is an extremely funny man and we chatted casually whilst enjoying the cruise. 
I also moved to my last ever host family, the Tuominen’s, since last report. They’re a very nice family who have a lot in common with me. My host Dad is called Juha, he spends a lot of time out of the house because his job requires him to travel a lot but when he is there we tend to watch movies together. 

Anu, my host mum, doesn’t speak very good English so we speak finglish with each other. My youngest host brother, Julius, loves video games so we play together. Jasmin was an exchange student in new Zealand last year and we’re already becoming really close friends because we have so much from exchange in common. The other big highlight is Kristian, my exchange student friend from Germany came to visit us. I’m so jealous of him being able to travel around Europe so easily! Why does Australia have to be in the middle of nowhere!? 

Anyways he came to visit and it was really great to catch up. We went to Tampere together for the day with a couple of other people, got up to some shenanigans and then had a movie night back at my house. He seemed to be dealing with post-exchange life quite well and had grown a lot from the experience. Matty D and I decided that we would travel together to Germany, Finland and the States to see all the good friends we had made on exchange. Just need to win the lottery/ rob a bank first.

Last weekend as part of a scout activity. We went around Tampere doing challenges. These were just little games but at the end we got to abseil down pyynikintori! It’s this old stone tower thing that’s about 30 metres high and on the only hill in Tampere so you can see the whole town from up on top. Abseiling down wasn’t really scary. Especially after going bungee jumping but it was still pretty awesome. It was like a slow awkward version of being Spiderman. 

School’s going well too, I’m learning French in it this semester which is so much easier than Finnish. I’m actually learning quite a bit of Finnish from my French which is helping me study for the language test this week. I’m quite nervous about but I’ll tell you how it goes when I get the result back. 

John Goris

A message from Meals on Wheels


This is to let you know that after 28 years at the helm of Weekend Meals on Wheels I am retiring from the Service.

Throughout my period as Co-ordinator the backbone of the Service has been the Volunteers, and I have been very fortunate to be associated with  such a fine bunch as the Rotarians. They have been with me since the beginning at Ryde Hospital, then to the shed at the Centre on Hillside Road, and for the last 7 years at Shaftsbury Road.

Rotary volunteers embody the values of Christian Community Aid Service, in that they give  the client service with dignity, respect, privacy and confidentiality without discrimination.  They deliver the meal, interact with the client and observe as to their wellbeing and environment. 

I thank you all for your many kindnesses; I could always rely on you all. 

Again I thank you and salute you. 

Aileen Lingard

Email message from Kelvin 23 Sept 2013

Dear All at The Rotary Club of Ryde Inc,

This term, as they did in term 2, our secondary students are typing a letter to their sponsors!

If you’d like to email your sponsored student, you are welcome to do so. We will print your email and pass it on.  However, we do not have the facilities to print photos here at the school, and students will only receive a black and white version. You can send these emails to sponsor@schoolofstjude.co.tz.

The reply from your sponsored student may take a few months, as the students do not have direct access to email. The Sponsor Relations Team read all communications that go to and from our students. We do this to protect both our students and our sponsors.

Jamie Tucker

Sponsor Relations Team
PO Box 11875, Arusha, Tanzania, East Africa
Web: www.schoolofstjude.org

Below is Kelvin’s letter to you:

Dear all at Rotary Club of Ryde inc. Hopefully you are all well and thus  going great with your daily activities

. For me I thank the Almighty for I am extremely healthy and doing fantastic with my studies it is a little bit hot here at St Jude this could be summer, what about Australia?

ust a few days ago here at St Jude we had career fair celebration and it was such a spectacular event. All St Jude students showed great artistic skills beyond compare. On that day I saw a lot of stuff and lucky enough I got exposed to adverse career clusters. I wish you guys were there to share the happiness with me, hopefully next career fair if God wishes we shall be together and I am praying for that. Well at the moment I am preparing myself for end of term three examinations. It is my belief that you guys will pray for me so that I may do them with ease
 I would like to say God bless you all for the love and support.

With love,


Letter from Kelvin

Dear All at The Rotary Club of Ryde  Inc, 

This term, rather than sending an aerogram, our secondary students are typing a letter to their sponsors! If you’d like to email your sponsored student, you are welcome to do so. We will print your email and pass it on.  However, we do not have the facilities to print photos here at the school, and students will only receive a black and white version. 

You can send these emails to sponsor@schoolofstjude.co.tz. The reply from your sponsored student may take a few months, as the students do not have direct access to email. 

The Sponsor Relations Team read all communications that go to and from our students. We do this to protect both our students and our sponsors. Below is Kelvin’s letter to you: 

Dear All at The Rotary Club of Ryde Inc,

It's been a while no talking to you guys but I do hope that you are all going great.

To my side I'm terrific and about school's life, generally st Jude’s life sounds really great though it is a little bit cold what about SYDNEY AUSTRALIA is it summer or winter? 

Apparently I'm preparing my self for end of term two exams hope you guys shall pray for me so that i can pass them with ease, here at St Jude we had celebrated cultural day that is usually held every year in July to be clear it was extremely 
SPECTACULAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We students witnessed a lot of amazing presentations from both our fellow students and teaching staffs moreover there were various exhibitions of cultural foods, it was really nice for those foods were prepared by our fellow students.

we also witnessed a lot of fashion shows from our fellow students  who really dressed up nicely, I wish if you all could be there so that we could share the happiness together.  Having said so I would like to wish you guys all the best and may almighty God bless you all. 



Hilda Meela 

Sponsor Relations Team 

PO. Box. 11875, Arusha, Tanzania, East Africa 

Web: www.schoolofstjude.org

June 2013 News From the School of St Jude

Greetings from St Jude’s,

Each week at our school assemblies, teachers and other staff at The School of St Jude have an opportunity to reward students for good work and good behaviour with awards. Your sponsored student Kelvin received an award for active participation in History presentations in class.

Thank you for your continued support, and we hope you enjoy the attached photo.
Hilda Meela
Sponsor Relations Team
PO. Box. 11875, Arusha, Tanzania, East Africa
Web: www.schoolofstjude.org

Thanks from St Michaels Meadowbank

Hello Allen, Charles and Members of the Rotary Club of Ryde, 

On behalf of all at St Michael's Primary School Meadowbank, I am writing to thank you most sincerely for the presentation made to Natalia by Mr Kilby at our assembly last Wednesday morning. 

Charles, we are very, very appreciative of your visit and your time, so generously given. The awarding of the absolutely beautiful framed photo board was a lovely surprise for us all, especially Natalia and her family. The Perpetual Trophy will also be proudly displayed in our Administration Area. 

Allen, thank you again for organising this competition for the youth of our local area. 

Rotary Club Members, we also thank you for your generosity in all these matters. I have attached a photo of Natalia with our School Principal, Brian Story, and Charles Kilby at the Assembly Presentation.

Kindest Regards,

Anne Evans - ESL Teacher

St Michaels Meadowbank

School of St Jude bids farewell to Ms Christina

Dear All at The Rotary Club of Ryde Inc,

Thank you so much for your continued support of The School of St Jude.

We are writing to let you know that your sponsored teacher, Ms Christina, is no longer at St Jude’s. Ms Christina has been a dedicated member of our team since 2004, and is well respected by students and colleagues alike. We will miss Christina dearly but we wish her all the very best in her future endeavours.

As you can imagine, change within our Academic staff over time is inevitable and we thank you for your understanding, and for the generous support you have already given Christina. Each year as St Jude’s continues to grow and take on more and more students, we also need more qualified and dedicated teachers, so we still need your ongoing assistance.  With your blessing, we would like to transfer your sponsorship to another teacher – Ms Elkanai Pallangyo.

Ms Elkanai has been part of our teaching team since 2010. In 2013, she is teaching Social Studies at our Upper Primary Campus. We have attached information about Ms Elkanai including some photos! Also attached is a document of Frequently Asked Questions regarding Teacher sponsorship at St Jude’s, which may be useful in answering any queries you have about your continued sponsorship. If for any reason you are not completely happy to sponsor Ms Elkanai, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can discuss alternate options.

As we say here in Tanzania, asante sana (“thank you” in Swahili) for your most generous, ongoing support of St Jude’s and standing with us in our fight against poverty! 

Best wishes,

Trish Murdin

Sponsor Relations Coordinator

PO Box 11875, Arusha, Tanzania, East Africa

Web: www.schoolofstjude.org

School of St Jude 2012 News

Welcome to the final edition of St Jude’s news for 2012!

What a year it has been! I am so proud of the achievements of the St Jude’s students and staff this year and would like to take this opportunity to thank you for continuing to fight poverty through education. It is only thanks to you that St Jude’s continues to grow from strength to strength.

In this edition you can read about:

  • Our very first Form 4 Graduation
  • Our Dare to Dream sponsorship campaign
  • The nine supporters who summited Mt Kilimanjaro for St Jude’s 
  • Christmas for our students – how they and their families will celebrate this year
plus much more! 

I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2013 and look forward to sharing all of our wonderful stories from St Jude’s with you.

Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year from Tanzania!

Hugs, Gemma

To view all School of St Jude newsletters, click here

District Governor John Dodd - November Newsletter

Regular readers of this missive (yes, both of you) would have noticed its absence last fortnight. I admit I have been a smidgen busy and it fell off my radar. Just to indicate I have not been slacking off entirely, the events and meetings I have attended in the last month include:

Rural Pride of Workmanship at Kariong Somersby, Penninsular Presidents meeting, Policeman of the Year, Carlingford's 40th birthday, Eastwood meeting with their local member, Sydney Peace Prize Presentation, Redistricting Committee, Conference Committee, Zone and Membership Mentor AGs' meeting, the ROMAC concert, Youth Exchange Outbound briefing and the Pride of Workmanship at North Rocks.

In between times, I have assisted both of my daughters to buy alternate apartments,  James has his 21st last weekend and Janelle is laid up at the moment having had an arthroscopic clean out of her ankle. I am not feeling the best about the last as I had to leave Janelle at home for the surgery so I could come to Adelaide (see below). I have also run a dozen court cases, including a full week in the Supreme Court. Pretty long excuse for missing one newsletter.........

I am writing to you from the Australian Rotary Institute in Adelaide where I will be for the week. The last few days have been full on in the DGs' Symposium where I have been very pleased to have adopted the changes to the Probus South Pacific Constitution I have been working on for the last six months, a concept for and Australia wide Media and Marketing Unit for Rotary, and I even had the head of the National Insurance Committee conceded that the committee has not sought one alternate quote for our Public Liability Policy for more than six years, resulting in a directive to his committee to get and provide some alternate quotes - may not seem much, but may save Rotarians across Australia $50,000 to $100,000.

Each of these issues has required a lot of back room work and politicking to get accepted. I am lucky with my legal and insurance background as most Rotarians simply have no grasp of these issues. I felt I was of some service being able to distill down the issues and present them in intelligible form. A significant development has been the start of the "G-train", with there being a real emphasis on continuity between DGs, DGEs and DGNs. This is essential to ensure long term perspectives are taken on vital issues (and gives rise to many jokes involving "G-something"). We also approved a long term membership plan which I will be briefing my team with straight away.

Tomorrow is your last day to get the early bird pricing for the Conference next year. It only needs a deposit of $50 to book. The program is almost complete with Past RI President Bhichai Rattakul to give two major addresses, Professor of Peace Studies at Sydney University Stuart Rees to speak on Peace through Service, many more keynote speakers and all the usual events of Vocational Excellence Award, 4-way Test Speaking Competition Final and  GSE presentation. We have a great MC in Chris Jocselyne (who MCs about six conferences each year) and the Night at the Museum dinner/dance giving your club the opportunity to dress up as their favorite historical characters. Please take the opportunity of the early bird discounts: I fear the numbers could be limited.
After returning from the Institute, only another dozen events before the end of the year, including the Christmas Presidents' Meeting on 7 December (make sure you have checked in with Gina). Then, I must admit I am looking forward to a bit of a break, so I can catch up with the paperwork.

Yours in Rotary

John Dodd
District Governor 2012-13

Community Services Update by Nora Etmekdjian

The first quarter of the financial year was a busy one for the community services with lots of Sunday events. We coordinated the distribution for Meals on Wheels with a number of recently inducted Rotarians. The next event is on 30th Dec – can you volunteer? 

Our club was also busy with graffiti clean-up for Graffiti Action Day 2012. 

We visited six nursing homes on Sunday Sept 2nd to wish the residents a happy Father’s Day, and gave each a nicely wrapped gift from Ryde Rotary. 

The second quarter will involve activities on every day of the week, and it will get busier as the number of projects increases, including the three Christmas projects. 

We are currently taking orders for the Christmas Puddings, Whisky Cakes and Biscuits. If you have not placed your order please do so ASAP.  

The second project is the Tree of Joy which will be placed in four different locations: Top Ryde City, Ryde Library, West Ryde Market Place and Eastwood Shopping Centre. Volunteers are needed to look after each tree.  

The third project is Christmas gift wrapping at Top Ryde City during the ten days leading up to Christmas. We will once again have James Ruse Agricultural High School Interact Club students helping with this project. 

Have a wonderful time leading up to Christmas. 

Community Services Chair
Rotarian Nora Etmekdjian


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