In 2022, Gualala Rotary supported education in three ways: (1) Awards for Academic Achievers in our local schools. (2) Scholarships for current HealthCare workers to develop their careers. (3) A radio lab and curriculum for Pt. Arena High School students.

The Radio Lab at Pt. Arena High School 

In 2021 and 2022 Gualala Rotary built a radio lab for Pt. Arena High School.

The team, spearheaded by Jim DeWilder and Superintendant Warren Galletti, remodeled an old storage room at the high school.

Jim DeWilder, Club Project Leader

But we kept at it until…

The team purchased equipment using a matching grant from District Rotary. Gualala Rotary President Annan Paterson provided tables for computers and other equipment.

The School District, led by Superintendent Warren Galletti, provided the curriculum development and a teacher, as well as finding a building.

Indispensable technical assistance came from Blake More and Brendan Mobert.

The project came in on-time and under-budget!

We cut the ribbon on August 26, 2022, just in time for the new school year.

Anticipation…(On the right, Teacher Thomas Cee, next to Blake More)
The students line up to get in.

The students crowd into the broadcast room.

The Students Crowd Into the Broadcast Room

Soon There Will Be Sounds Over the Internet

President Annan Patterson: Well-Done, Everyone!

Academic Achievement Awards

Each year Gualala Rotary honors students in the local schools for their academic achievement. Selected by their teachers, each awardee gets a $50 certificate and a special luncheon.

The first-class buffet line, catered by Surf Super.

Parents, teachers, and school administrators attend too.

Photos below, clockwise from the top left:

Principal Marty Wilkes gives out a student award.

Movers and shakers: Cliff Putnam: A few years ago or so, Cliff’s daughter was a straight-A student, but the schools recognized mostly sports stars. Cliff decided to do something about this sad situation, and started the Academic Achievers program. It’s been going strong ever since.

Standing next to Cliff is the indispensable Lisa Ribolli, the administrator at Pt. Arena High School. Each year, Lisa makes sure busy, busy teachers submit student nominations.

Chillin’ out is Ron Miles. In 2022, Ron resurrected the Program post-pandemic.

Ron’s crew: Steve, Cindy, Annan, Nancy, Mike, Marty, Ron, Jim, and Cliff

Healthcare  Career Development Scholarships

The Club aims to help our present health care workers continue their education.

In February 2022, Samantha Allen, Celeste Carbajal, and Micheline White were awarded scholarships. In May 2022, Sheila Ruiz-Higuera and Lesbeth Santana joined the group. In October 2022, Phil Kaufman was awarded financial support.

Our scholarships cost money. DONATE to Gualala Rotary Education Fund, P.O. Box 1166, Gualala, CA 95445. (We are a 501 (c) 3 organization.)

Phil Kaufman is our latest (Oct 2022) recipient of financial support. Phil is studying to become a nurse. He writes to us: ” Thank you so much!! I am in shock, truly. I cannot tell you how much this helps and am ever so grateful to you and The Rotary Healthcare Scholarship Committee, the members of The Rotary and our community.”

Samantha Allen, a certified Medical Assistant at RCMS, is currently studying for her RN degree.

Celeste Carbajal is a COVID-19 screener and vaccine administrator at RCMS. Short term, she plans to become a phlebotomist. Long term, Celeste will study for the RN degree.

Micheline White is the director of the Mendonoma Health Alliance. Micheline will enroll at USC for advanced work on providing healthcare in rural communities.

Sheila Ruiz-Higuera, a medical assistant at RCMS, studies at Santa Rosa JC to prepare for entry into an RN program.

Lesbeth Santana of RCMS is currently studying in Petaluma to become a certified Clinical Medical Assistant. Long term, Lesbeth plans to earn an RN in Pediatrics.

Rotary needs everyone in this field who wishes to grow to apply:


If you are a Healthcare worker, you may apply any time of the year. To apply, fill out the application form.

Questions? Contact committee chair Nora Messinger at

From Our Past…

Scholarships for High School Seniors

2020: Dylan Freebairn-Smith, Leroy Gustafson

The Mobile Hot Spot Project
Mobile Hot Spot Bus
The Hot Spot Bus: Howard Cole, Armando Ramirez for the Schools; Ron Miles, Jim DeWilder for Gualala Rotary; Warren Galletti, Sherry Baker for the Schools. 2021

On March 17, 2020,  due to COVID-19, Point Arena Schools had to close their campuses to on-site instruction. Gualala Rotary and the Schools purchased and installed school bus “hot spots” for students in remote areas to access and connect to Wi-Fi.

8th Graders Visit Sonoma State

School trip to Sonoma State
In the cafeteria at Sonoma State

In 2018 Gualala Rotary, in a project spearheaded by Annan Paterson, took local 8th graders to Sonoma State University. For many, this was their first trip to a college campus.

The Dictionary Project for 3rd Graders

Gualala Rotary helps build literacy in our elementary schools by providing dictionaries to all third graders. Rotary International has distributed more than 30 million school dictionaries since 1995.