August 1, 2016 Rotogram: 4

Starkville’s Distinguished Young Woman

July 25— An outstanding rising senior at Starkville High School is the city’s 2017 Distinguished Young Woman and the state’s first alternate DYW.

“When I first asked my mother about competing in the program, she was like, ‘I don’t think this is your cup of tea,’” said CiCi Zhang. “Well, $8,000 in scholarships and six months later, I’m proud to say, ‘I proved you wrong Mom.’”

In state competition, Zhang achieved the preliminary talent award and the overall scholarship award.

Asked about her second place finish, she said, “I don’t think we could have a better representative. On stage, she shines so bright.”

The DYW competition is not a pageant. It is a scholarship program that “provides young women the opportunity to enhance their leadership, competence and public speaking skills.”

The activity focuses on five components: scholastics, interviewing, talent, fitness and self-expression. Basic principles are embodied in the Be Your Best Self motto: Be healthy, be ambitious, be involved, be responsible and be studious.

“I’ve never really been the out-spoken type,” said the SHS student government and Key Club officer. However, I’ve always had a desire to become a leader.”

“I have unique ideas that I wish to share with the world, but how can I do this if I don’t even have the courage to speak in front of a few people?  I honestly can’t believe I’m standing in front of you guys today,” she said of the DYW experience. “Preparing over these past few months has been so challenging, growing and rewarding. And, I have garnered a level of self-confidence I never thought I would have achieved.”

She credits her local support network of 20 “remarkable” people. In particular, she thanked Susan Keith as “my awesome life planner for the past few months.”

A member of the Mu Alpha Theta math honorary and state representative in the International Science and Engineering Fair, Zhang hopes to become a biomedical engineer. Her goal is to alleviate poor health conditions of those in poverty.

With a passion for science and engineering, she is working on a patent-pending process that converts carbon dioxide to the renewable fuel methanol. She explained, “Every year when I go to visit my grandparents in China, there’s always a ton of pollution. I think [my project] is a really good way bring down the level of toxic things in our environment.”

As a first generation American, she thanked her parents who came to pursue their education more than 20 years ago. Now, she has benefited by growing up in Starkville over the past 16 years.

Globetrotter Hargrove Checks on RYE Students

On a trip to Europe earlier this summer, Nancy Hargrove got to see four Starkville Rotary Youth Exchange students.

Her first stop was in Paris to see Marie Baran who was here in 2006-07. The now 26-year-old does publicity for a Parisian company. She had been handling arrangements for entertainment venues.

Baran’s mystery guest at their first meeting was her best friend Emma who had visited her in Starkville. Then Marie treated Nancy to a Seine River picnic where “I was the only ‘older’ person there.”

On her stop in Milan, she had an opportunity to have dinner with Max Garzoni’s family. Hargrove admitted to having two helpings of tiramisu.

The next café stop was to meet Giulia Martinoli. To emphasize the program’s impact, the 2016 RYE student said, “Please tell the man with the airplane that I had such a marvelous time, I changed my major to aeronautical engineering.” Carey Hardin had taken her for a flight the day before she left.

Joining them for lunch was Elisa Malzanni, our incoming student. Elisa arrived at GTR on Thursday and begins school next week.

Nancy & Milan RYE




Starkville RYE in Milan—Nancy Hargrove, from left, enjoys a rainy day on Milan’s Piaza del Duomo with incoming RYE student Elisa Malzanni, and past exchange students Max Garzoni and Giulia Martinoli.


Starkville Community Theatre

Gabe Smith is the chief administrative officer of Starkville Community Theatre. Briar Jones will introduce him.

Next Week: Future Tech

Roberto Gallardo Estrella, with the Tech Outreach Program of the MSU Extension Service, will speak on the future of technology and its impact. Rodney Foil will introduce him.

For the Record—July 25

Invocation and Pledge:                Brian Jones

Attendance:                                          56.2%

Present — 82 (36 exempt)

Absent — 100 (24 exempt, 12 honorary)

Guests: Member guest was Susan Keith of Eddie Keith. Guests of the club were Cici, May Han and J. Lei Zhang, and Alex Onken, Starkville Daily News.

Get Swept Up!

Volunteers are needed for Get Swept Up! on Aug. 31. Contact Carrie-Beth Randall to sign up.

Columbus Shooting Sports Competition

The Columbus Rotary Club has asked our club to help promote its second annual Shots Felt Round the World competition. The event is Aug. 27 at Prairie Wildlife Sporting Estate in West Point.

We’ve been encouraged to sell raffle tickets for a Beretta shotgun. President Briar reminded us that our sister club had helped greatly in this year’s rodeo. Proceeds go to Polio Plus.

The shooting competition is a hybrid of trap and sporting clays that comprises five stations with clays thrown from various houses. Individuals or teams of five people will compete for awards for the High Overall Shooter and the Top Team.



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