Rotary recognized on public television's 'American Graduate Day'

Rotary was recognized on 17 September on public television's fifth annual American Graduate Day program for its work with San Diego-based Monarch School, a K-12 school for homeless youth. The Rotary Club of San Diego, California, USA, was applauded for its work mentoring Monarch's students, keeping them on track to graduate, and helping the school to continue thriving during tough economic times.

Monarch School CEO Erin Spiewak appeared as one of the show's guests, along with Monarch Alumnus Cynthia Valenzuela, who attested to the positive, life-changing experience Monarch School gave her and the thousands of students who have stepped through the school's doors.

When Monarch School was in danger of losing its lease amid a wave of redevelopment in San Diego's urban core in 1998, members of the San Diego club came together, pooled their resources, and took action: ultimately finding a new location and leading efforts that raised $1.4 million for renovations, furniture and equipment.

Nearly two decades later, in an airy space near the waterfront, the school provides education and social services for about 400 of San Diego's estimated 20,000 homeless and transient youths. Students' test scores have improved, and club members continue to support the school and volunteer as mentors, tutors, and chaperones.

Rotary was one of 25 nonprofits to be recognized during the broadcast, the culmination of a full week of primetime education coverage on PBS. Hosted by Soledad O'Brien, the four-hour show included celebrity guests such as basketball great Shaquille O'Neal, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and musician Rachel Platten.

'American Graduate Day' was streamed live from WNET in New York City and broadcast on public television stations across the United States.

Watch Rotary's segment