On Wednesday, August 2, 2023, the Agawam Rotary Club hosted several Agawam High School students at a luncheon at the Agawam Senior Center.
Shown above left to right are Agawam Rotary Club members Marlene DeJesus, Michael Squindo, George Bitzas, Donna Bys, RYLA Students Hazel Meyer, Isabella Olivera, and Samantha Dean, Club President John Barber, RYLA Student Mia McGregor, Club member Joe Clark, Mayor Bill Sapelli and Club member Dave DeLancey.
Hazel Meyer, Isabella Olivera, and Samantha Dean spoke about their experiences at the 2023 RYLA Conference.  Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is an intensive leadership experience that helps young people develop leadership skills, make connections with other youth in the region, build communication and problem-solving skills, and learn from community leaders.  The students attend a one-day conference on Saturday, June 3, 2023 at Springfield College East Campus.
When recalling their experience at the Rotary luncheon, all of the students agreed that “communication is important to leadership and that listening and getting the other person’s perspective is critical.”
Mia McGregor, a 2022 Agawam Rotary Club RYLA recipient was selected by her peers at the 2022 RYLA Conference to attend a week-long World Affairs Seminar, or WAS, at Carroll University, Waukesha, WI.  June 24-30, 2023.    WAS brings together peers from around the world to learn international relations and develop skills in diplomacy, communication and cooperation.  It was the first time McGregor had traveled alone and the experience was “amazing.” The seminar’s theme was Climate Change: Youth Take Action. At the Agawam Rotary luncheon, McGregor shared a PowerPoint presentation of her experience. At the seminar, McGregor shared a project on tracking your carbon footprint.
At the end of her presentation, McGregor posed a question to the Rotary and guests, “At the conference I had the opportunity to meet and talk with a student  who had worked with Greta Thunburg, and I asked her the same question I am asking you- How do I keep going- keep fighting climate change- and maintain my optimism in the face of so many who question and deny its existence?”