January 20, 2016

PROGRAM – Tom Eltringham Classification Talk

Tom Eltringham joined us this year from the Minersville Club, and this week he gave a “Classification Talk”, that he separated into three parts, his personal like, his Rotary life, and his professional life. Before he started, though, Tom thanked the members for the gracious welcome that he and the other Minersville Rotarians have gotten from the Club.

Tom was raised in Branchdale, where he met his wife Pauline. They’ve been married 37 years and have two children and one granddaughter, a 17-month old who is the “Apple of their Eye”. He has an Advanced Amateur Radio License, and enjoys hiking, walking and target shooting. He and Pauline are members of St. Pat’s Church in Pottsville.

Tom joined Rotary in 1976. He was Treasurer for the Minersville Club for over 20 years, and was Treasurer of the Minersville Rotary Charites from its inception in 1997 through the end of 2015. He was President of the Club “a couple” of times, and also has served as 1995 District Conference Chairman when Bill Parulis’s father was DG, and District Secretary in 1994-95. Tom is a Paul Harris Fellow with 4 sapphires.

Professionally, Tom graduated from DeVry Institute of Technology in 1967. He immediately went to work as a Tech Assistant for AT&T Bell Laboratories, at the time the best Research & Development company in the world. Over the next 46 years, Tom worked his way to the top of the tech ladder, retiring as a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff (DMTS) in July, 2014. Tom joked with the group that although his job was consistent, the name on the top of the W-2’s changed a lot. AT&T diversified and split, becoming Lucent Technologies and then Agere Systems, among others.

Tom detailed some of the projects he worked on, including Safeguard Radar Systems and missile tracking. He has worked in “clean rooms” and huge complexes, worked on lasers and underwater light wave systems. He saw a lot of changes in optic communications over the years and is obviously very enthusiastic about the work he did over his career.

Thanks to Tom for sharing much more information than could be detailed here and welcome to the Rotary Club of Pottsville!

January 13, 2016

PROGRAM – Students of the Month

This week we had eight students make presentations, four from Minersville, and two each from Pottsville and Nativity. We are trying to “double-up” on the Minersville students so everyone honored in the 2015-2016 school year has a chance to speak to the club.

Meg Schwalm, Rachel Sterner, Chris Leshko and Jonathan McBreen represented Minersville, while Ashley Strausser and Rebecca McCloskey represented Nativity and Taylor Young and Ryan Scanlon represented Pottsville.

Meg Schwalm is the daughter of Scott and Patrice Schwalm. Her school activities include Clas secretary, SADD, TAT, National Honor Society, Chemistry Club, Student Council, 1700 Club, softball team and volleyball team, where she is captain. Meg volunteers for St. Matthew’s CYO program and the parish picnic. She plans to attend college to become a biomedical engineer.

Rachel Sterner is a daughter of David and Suzanne Sterner, Pottsville. She is a class officer and a member of the National Honor Society, yearbook club, SADD, Teens Against Tobacco, chemistry club, student council and the 1700 Club. In the community, Rachel is a member of St. Matthew the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, Minersville, where she volunteers at the annual picnic. Rachel plans to attend college and major in physical therapy or a physician assistant program.

Jonathan McBreen is a son of Carl and Colleen McBreen, Minersville. He is a class officer and a member of the Junior Advisory Board, Youth Summit, SADD, Teens Against Tobacco, yearbook committee and 1700 Club. Athletically, he is captain of the football team and a member of the basketball and baseball teams. His future plan is to attend college and study biology/pre-medicine.

Chris Leshko is the son of Terri and Charlie Leshko. He attends St. Peter and Paul Church and his favorite subjects are World History and Physics. He is involved in basketball and baseball and plans on attending college and majoring in Computer Information Systems.

Ashley Strausser is the daughter of Alan and Michelle Strausser of Port Carbon. She attends St. Stephen Church where she is active in alter serving. Her favorite subjects at Nativity are Anatomy and Art. She is involved in Varsity Volleyball, Basketball, Track & Field, Interact Club, Student Ambassador, art Club, National Honor Society and Science Club. She has received many awards including Outstanding Student Ambassador, Distinguished honors, Highest Achievement in Psychology, Outstanding Effort in Advanced Pre-Calculus, and First Honors. Ashley plans to attend a college or University for her Doctorate in Physical Therapy.
Rebecca McCloskey is the daughter of Joee and Karen McCloskey of Pottsville. She attends St. Patrick Church where she is active in alter serving and church picnics. Her favorite subjects at Nativity are Calculus and Physics. She is involved in Competitive and Social Cheerleading, Softball, Interact Club, Math Club, Student Ambassadors, Yearbook, Campus Ministry, Student Government, International Club, Red Cross blood drive coordinator and Meals on Wheels volunteer. Rebecca received the All-American Cheerleader, America Needs Cheerleads Leadership Award, Outstanding Effort Award in Pre-Calculus and advanced Algebra 2/Trig. Her plans for the future are to attend Drexel University and major in Mechanical Engineering.

Taylor Young is the daughter of Dan and Darlene Young of Pottsville. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Quill and Scroll Honor Society, and has received the AP Scholar Award. She is a four year member of the Spanish Club, Ecology Club, Marching and Concert Band, and AID, plus is a member of Publications and Student Council. Taylor is captain, lettered and is a four year member of the swim team, lettered and is a three year member of volleyball, lettered and is a one year member of water polo, and is a scholar athlete. Her favorite subjects are math and sciences, and she plans to attend Penn State University and major in Environmental Science with a minor in Environmental Engineering.

Ryan Scanlan is the son of Douglas and Mary Scanlan of Pottsville, where he is a member of the St. Clair of Assisi Church. He is a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society, plus a four year member of Cross-Country, Swimming, Spanish Club, Track & Field and the Leo Club. Ryan is also a member of the Ecology Club and SADD. He lettered 4 years in Swimming where he is currently captain, and three years in Cross-Country and Track & Field. His favorite subjects are Chemistry and Spanish, and he plans to attend Temple University and major in Pre-Pharmacy.

Pete Yasenchak gave the students and our guests a nice presentation on Rotary, particularly on our efforts against polio.

Our Winter Carnival contestant, Sarah Derfler, also thanked the Club for sponsoring her and said the experience has been a wonderful way to connect with people in the County. She is a 2012 graduate from Nativity.

January 6, 2016

PROGRAM – Classification Talk – Paul (Pete) Zaharis

New Pottsville Rotarian (and long-time Minersville Rotarian) Pete Zaharis told us about his life and career at this week’s meeting. Pete grew up in Minersville, where his father owned a cigar/candy store. He had an early interest in music, playing clarinet and saxophone, and participating in the dance, concert and marching bands, as well as being on student council. He graduated high school in 1964, and chose military service over continuing his education.

Pete told us several interesting stories about his time in the Navy, including boot camp in the Great Lakes area, playing in the Navy Band, and stints in Pensacola, Florida and Gulfport, Mississippi before going to Vietnam, where he worked in an Administrative Office and was trained as a movie projection specialist, among other things.

Upon returning home, he worked for 3 years at Coney Island before deciding to start his own business, Frank n Burger in Minersville. Pete ran that business for 35 years before closing and retiring in 2011, shortly after his wife passed away. He told the crowd that he does miss the store and seeing people and customers coming in every day.

Pete joined Minersville Rotary in 1993, and served as Secretary before serving as President in 2000-2001. He recently got engaged, and currently lives in Minersville with a dog, cat and pet snake that he watches for his daughter.

Thanks to Pete for a very interesting Classification Talk and welcome to the Pottsville Club!

December 30, 2015

PROGRAM – Today we were entertained by the Avenues Community Connection Choir, who presented some of their, and our, favorite Christmas Carols. Among the selections we heard were the 12 Days of Christmas, Away in a Manger, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Wee Three Kings, Silent Night, Blue Christmas, Silver Bells, Joy to the World, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, O Come All Ye Faithful, Jingle Bell Rock, Joy to the World, Holly, Jolly Christmas and Frosty the Snowman. It was a delightful program enjoyed by all!

December 23, 2015

PROGRAM – Fellowship and Christmas Carols led by Pete Yasenchak. Pete also gave us some of the background stories on favorite Christmas Carols.

December 16


We were entertained today by the Pottsville Area High School Chorale, who performed a Christmas Concert. The Chorale was led by Kim Rismiller, Director of Pottsville Choirs at PAHS. Among the many selections we heard were Silent Night, Variations on Jingle Bells, Child of Peace, What a Wonderful Child, Peace on Earth, and Sending You a Little Christmas. It was a great performance and we congratulate the students and wish them Merry Christmas!

As a follow up from last week, here are the write-ups from the Minersville Students of the Month who spoke at our weekly meeting.

November Student of the Month -Haylea Winand. Haylea is the daughter of Scott and Melissa Valukevich, Minersville. Her school activities are Vice President of Marching and Concert Band, member of Pit band for Annual Musical, German Club, National Honor Society, Chemistry Club, Academic League, Classics Club. Outside of school she is the Treasurer for the Minersville Area Leo Club. She plans to attend college and major in English.

December Students of the Month Alyssa Polansky and Jordan Tellez

Alyssa is the daughter of Lisa Polansky and the late Daniel Polansky, Pottsville. Her school activities include being a member of the National Honor Society, Yearbook Committee, Varsity Track and Field and Varsity Cheerleading. Outside of school, Alyssa volunteers at the Travis Newton Memorial Pumpkin Festival, Make A Wish Softball Tournament and she works at Ritas Italian Ice. She plans to attend college and become a veterinarian for exotic animals.

Jordan is the son of Jeff and Susan Tellez, Pottsville. His school activities are Drama Club President, Senior Class President, member of the Annual Musical and Track and Field team. Outside of school Jordan is a volunteer for the Rhoades Foundation for Education Events and a member of St. Michaels Church. His future plans are to attend Bloomsburg University.

December 9

PROGRAM – Students of the Month

We were treated to presentations from 7 students of the month this week, 2 each from Pottsville, Nativity and 3 from Minersville.

McKayla Jones and Andrew Horst from Pottsville Area, Cecelia DiNicola and Travis Steele from Nativity and Alyssa Polansky, Haylea Winand and Jordan Tellez from Minersville were our student speakers this week.

McKayla Jones is the daughter of Pamela and Michael Jones of Pottsville. She is a 4 year member of the Leo Club, French Club, Ecology Club and 3 year member of SADD. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and French National honor Society, and her favorite subjects are Physics and Chemistry. McKayla earned varsity letters in track & field her freshman, sophomore and junior years, including being the second highest point scorer on her team her junior year. She plans to attend Desales University and enter the Physician’s Assistant program.

Andrew Horst is the son of Lori and David Horst of Pottsville. He is a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish Club, and played baseball for two years at PAHS. His favorite subjects are “anything math related”. Andrew is an active member of Grace E.C. Church in Schuylkill Haven. He plans on attending Bloomsburg University and major in Accounting.

Cecelia DiNicola is the daughter of Dino and Lorna DiNicola from Pottsville, where she attends St. Patrick’s Church. She is involved in the Interact Club, Volleyball, Yearbook, Student Government, Math club, Science Club and Student Ambasadors. She thanked the Club for our donation to her fundraiser called “Giving Our Gift”, where she purchases toys to be donated to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Cecelia plans to attend a 4 year University and major in Business.

Travis Steele is the son of Richard Steele and Karen Ferenchick of Pottsville, where he attends St. Patrick’s Church. Travis is a member of the National Honor Society and he has earned a varsity letter in both Football and Track. His favorite subject at Nativity is Accounting, and his future plans are to attend a 4 year college and then pursue a business career.

Alyssa Polansky plans to be a veterinarian, Jordan Tellez plans to attend Bloomsburg University and work in IT Management. Haylea Winand, who was actually a Minersville Student of the Month in November, plans to attend college and major in English.

Please note the Minersville students had already turned their notes in to the school before the meeting. If I can get copies of them, I will send more info on these deserving students.


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