In 2022, Gualala Rotary supported education in three ways: the Academic Achievers in grades 6-12. Scholarships for current HealthCare workers to develop their careers. And a radio lab and curriculum for Pt. Arena High School students.

Student Achievement Awards

Each year Gualala Rotary honors students in grades 6-12 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: 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 recognize 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. He deftly energized the Club membership to embrace this inspiring event. Before we knew it, we had all volunteered to be a part.

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, Sheila Ruiz-Higuera and Lesbeth Santana joined the group.

As we all know, scholarships cost money. Help make our coast a better and safer place to live: DONATE to Gualala Rotary Education Fund, P.O. Box 1166, Gualala, CA 95445. (We are a 501 (c) 3 organization.)

About our winners:

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.

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

Questions? For 2021-22, contact Marty Trieb, MD, at For 2022-23, contact Rich Hughes at or Ron Miles at



NOTE: This form is NOT interactive due to site security.

1. Copy and paste the fields into a text editor, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs.

2. Fill out each field. You may write as much as you would like.

3. Save your file.

4. Send your file as an email attachment to either Marty Trieb at or to Ron Miles at

Or, you may fill out the form by hand or put it in a typewriter, and mail it to Gualala Rotary Club, P.O. Box 1166, Gualala, CA 95445.

Current Occupation:
Current Employer:
Length of time with this employer:
Current Certification:
Experience in health care:
What program are you applying for?
Expected costs of your program:
1. Tuition and fees
2. Room and Board
3. Books
Other (specify)
What is your commitment to remain in our local community?

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?


Gualala Rotary, is building a radio broadcast room for Pt. Arena High School. Students will attend classes for credit and then do hands-on work in the new radio station. Students can even become Certified Radio operators, part of the Society of Broadcast Engineers.

Our Project manager is Jim DeWilder, with Cindy Cione. School Superintendent Warren Galletti found us space at Pt. Arena High School.

but oh my, the clean-out job required.

Rotarian Marty Trieb in awe at the clean-out task ahead.

Other Rotarians pitched in to help, and then…

Where did all that stuff go?

Warren Galletti also found other space for all that junk–THANKS!

Jim and Cindy hired an experienced technical consultant, Blake More, who specified the room requirements for the construction workers and for the broadcast equipment. Club President Annan Paterson donated the long tables needed for the equipment.

Blake and technical guru Brendan Mobert:

The final result:

Broadcast Room

Blake and Brendan have now completed the set up of the broadcast room. The teacher has been chosen and lesson plans underway.

The power-up date and class sign-up is on schedule for September 2022. (For the first transmission will be internet-only, with open loop transmission about 6 months later..)

And, in the past:

2020 High School Scholarship winners:

Dylan Freebairn-Smith, Leroy Gustafson

Student Achievement Awards Program, 2020.

Although the program was suspended in 2021 due to the coronavirus, it will resume in 2022.

Due to the coronavirus, awards in 2020 were given out by mail.

Point Arena Joint Union High School

12th Grade: Dylan Freebairn-Smith, Loden Haught, Jason Belleza

11th Grade: Sadie Hanson, August Riehl, Chanille Malik

10th Grade: Caitlin Huse, Josue Sanchez, Yazmin Carbajal

9th Grade: Sean Freebairn-Smith, Nayeli Orozco, Ava Sexton

PCC High School

12th Grade: Logan Duggan

9th Grade: Brenda Walsh

South Coast Continuation School

12th Grade: Christi L. Cobarrubia


7th Grade: Ku’ulani Makaiwi

Arena Union Elementary

8th Grade: Kyle Caughey, Sidney Regelbrugge

7th Grade: Roselyn Aguilar Villagomez and Leonor Olalde Bernal

6th Grade: Alexa Ferreyra, Giana Blackburn


8th Grade: Ethan Miller

7th Grade: Fathom Williamson

6th Grade: Jean Carlo Bolanos, Nayeli Zamora

Pacific Community Charter K-8

8th Grade: Oliana Marzoratti

7th Grade: Elijah Garcia

6th Grade: Jesenia Rodriguez

Manchester Elementary

8th Grade: Madison Mertens

7th Grade: Belen Vazquez

6th Grade: Joaquin Faiella

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. The Schools implemented Distance Learning on-line. But, it soon became glaringly apparent that not all households had access to the internet. Thus, some students were not able to participate virtually with their instructors and classmates.

Two Rotarians, Jim DeWilder and Ron Miles, who were trustees on the school board at that time, came up with a plan. Gualala Rotary and the Schools would purchase and install “hot spots” for buses to be parked in remote areas where students could readily access and connect to Wi-Fi.

Together with fellow Rotarians, Ron and Jim were able to secure a grant to purchase these Wi-Fi “hot spots.”  School employees Howard Cole, Sherri Baker and Armando Ramirez installed them in two school buses and one van.  Depending on topography, connections can be made at distances up to 300 feet away from the buses and van.

When students are again allowed to safely attend classes on campus, the Wi-Fi equipped buses and van will benefit students on long bus/van rides to/from school, on field trips, or traveling for school sporting events.

8th Graders Visit To 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

In past years, Gualala Rotary helps build literacy in our elementary schools by providing dictionaries to all third graders. In conjunction with Rotary International, we give grade-appropriate dictionaries to third graders from six local schools– Manchester, Pt. Arena, Charter, Horicon, Kashia, and Ft. Ross.  For some kids, this is their first “real” book they have received as a gift. Students can take their dictionary home, a key benefit for students who do not have internet access after school. Since 2001, Gualala Rotary has distributed about 750 dictionaries. Nationally and internationally,  Rotary has distributed more than 30 million of the school dictionaries since 1995.

Other Past Projects

We’ve sponsored Career Day with Gualala Rotarians, and funded the motivational movie “Spare Parts” for grades 10-12. This movie, from 2015, is based on the Wired magazine article “La Vida Robot” by Joshua Davis, It’s the true story of a group of students from an underfunded, mainly Latino public high school, who won the first place in the 2004 Marine Advanced Technology Education Robotics Competition sponsored by NASA, on a budget of $800 plus “spare parts” from local merchants. (They bested students, with a team budget of $10,000, from a world-class, private engineering school.) Hopefully, all of our local students will aim as high as these kids.

Gualala Rotary has also provided a PC and publishing software to produce school newspapers, and a ramp at Point Arena High School for those with limited mobility. For several years, we sponsored a poetry contest for all grades.