May was a month that Sun Lakes Rotarians looked to the future through the eyes of the community’s youth and recognized a leader who helped create the foundation to guide them forward.
Rotarian of the Month: Dr. Camille Casteel
The Rotary Club of Sun Lakes proudly named Dr. Camille Casteel as our May 2021 Rotarian of the Month. Our Rotary Club has long enjoyed a strong, resilient relationship with Dr. Casteel and the Chandler Unified School District (CUSD). Sun Lakes Rotary prides itself on our association and commitment to education, and the Chandler Unified School District personifies this excellence.
Dr. Casteel joined CUSD in 1971 and taught first grade at both Erie and Knox Elementary Schools. She became the district’s first female principal in 1983 at Weinberg Elementary School and joined the district’s administrative team as the assistant superintendent in 1986. Promoted to associate superintendent in 1991, five years later, she was selected as the district’s first-ever female superintendent.
Today, CUSD serves over 44,000 students in 47 schools. Dr. Casteel has been deeply honored to serve as CUSD’s superintendent leader during a 25-year period of exponential growth and to have had the opportunity to champion the development of numerous educational choices for those families served by this exemplary district.
Dr. Camille Casteel has continuously given of herself with significant contributions to the school system, the community, and to Rotary. She plans to retire at the end of this school year, and we wish her a well-deserved happy and healthy retirement.
2021 Four-Way Speech Contest:
Five students from five different Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) high schools competed in the annual Sun Lakes Rotary-sponsored Four-Way Speech Contest, held virtually this year. Scoring was extremely close.
Rotary member and CUSD Assistant Superintendent Craig Gilbert visited each school to present the students with the monetary award for their powerful speeches.
Hamilton High School Junior Navaneeth Unnikrishnan took top honors, winning $500. He will present his speech again to the crowd attending the 2020-21 Year-End Celebration and Installation of Rotary’s new District Governor on July 10.
The other honorees of this year’s speech contest were Brielle Edwards (senior) Basha High School, $250, second place; and runners-up Maddie Rumsey (junior) Arizona College Prep–Erie Campus; Natasha Dramicanin, (sophomore) Casteel High School; and Imani Davis, junior, Chandler High School, each receiving $100.
Arizona Rotarians at Work Tree Planting Ceremony
Nearly 100 parents, friends, fellow Rotarians, and special guests were on hand for a late-April tree-planting ceremony celebrating Earth Day and Arizona Rotarians at Work at Snedigar Park East in Chandler.
The ash tree was planted near the children’s playground. More than 30 children from the Strong Foundations Academy entertained the crowd with several Earth Day-themed songs and presented potted plants to Rotary members and guests on hand.
Special guests at the event included District 17 State Representative Jennifer Pawlik; Chandler Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Terri Kimble; Rotary District 5495 Past District Governor Nancy Van Pelt, currently leader of Peace Building Clubs; Judi Edmonds, SLRC Peace Building Projects Committee Chair; Ruston Reynolds from Earnhardt Automotive; and Bret McKeand, the incoming Arizona Rotary District 5495 Governor.