In November of last year Rotary District 5190, covering north eastern California and northern Nevada, tried an experimental program providing leadership training to a select group of Eighth Grade students from 17 of its’ Rotary Clubs. Dubbed (REGL) Rotary Eighth Grade Leadership program it included Amador County’s four Rotary Clubs, which sent 10 students. Ione and Plymouth Foothill Rotary’s shared the $1,500 cost of sending 5 Ione Middle School students, selected by Principle Dr. Bill Murray, to the three day training at Grizzly Creek Ranch just east of Portola in Plumas, County. Image

Ione Middle School Eighth Grade Leaders receive Rotary International’s Four Way Test

From the left: Larry Costick, Jaida Edwards, Jake Herfel, Sharon Long, Miles Tomczak, Zoey Peters, Principle Bill Murray, and Katy Hirschfelt



A very creative and talented group of teachers had been assembled using professional leadership trainers and high school student councilors who had been part of Rotary’s Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program that past summer. The training followed the RYLA base emphasizing the:

·      Fundamentals of leadership

·      Ethics of positive leadership

·      Importance of communication skills in effective leadership

·      Problem solving and conflict management

·      Rotary's purpose and service to the community

·      Building self confidence and self esteem

·      Elements of community and global citizenship

Observing the metamorphosis of these young people from anxious early teens to articulate, self assured young leaders in three days was absolutely amazing. Individual techniques for: resisting peer pressure, overcoming bullying, and the use of school wide competition to minimize the influence of cliques were discussed as issues and possible solutions for addressing middle school problems.

The Ione Middle School students were particularly impressed by the way Rotary’s Four Way Test had been taught and applied to situations throughout their training. After returning to Ione and planning their community service project they asked if Rotary would provide them with a Four Way Test banner for their gymnasium.

Rotary International’s Four-Way Test was first coined in 1932, by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor. It is a code of ethics adopted by Rotary, which has been translated into more than 100 languages, asks the following questions:

Of the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?


Given the success of this program plans are proceeding to have Dr. Murray select another 5 students from Ione Middle School who will attend REGL for a weekend training in mid September.