Archives for January 2015

SML Rotary JAMS to the Tune of $1000 Donation to Another Worthy Project

RotaryJAMPhotoThe Rotary Club of SML recently donated $1,000 to help fund the Franklin County Junior Appalachian Musicians or JAM.  The Franklin County JAM is a new program made possible by the Smith Mountain Arts Council  along with other individuals and organizations.  Ms. Emily Blankenship Tucker, Program Director for the Franklin County JAM,  spoke to members of the Rotary Club of SML about the program and its goal of providing opportunities for elementary and middle school students to participate in the old-time and bluegrass music and dance traditions of the Southern Appalachians. JAM provides children with the opportunity to not only learn traditional music but to also develop skills to perform in both small and large groups.


This program is held for 4th and 5th grade elementary students on Tuesdays from 3:30-4:30PM at Burnt Chimney Elementary in Wirtz and for middle school students on Wednesdays from 3:30-4:30PM  at Ben Franklin

Middle School in Rocky Mount. Instruction is currently offered on fiddle, banjo, and guitar.   The cost per lesson is $10 or $5 per lesson for students on free or reduced lunch programs.  JAM tries to provide instruments for those students who do not have access to one.


For more information about the JAM program, please contact Mr. Jim Mullens, Smith Mountain Arts Council, at or Ms. Emily Blankenship-Tucker at  You may also find more information about JAM at


Rotary youth Exchange Student Visits SML Rotary



Jaelyn Tuck, a senior at Staunton River High School, recently returned from Brazil where she spent her junior year of high school as a Rotary Youth Exchange student.  Sponsored by the Rotary Club of SML, Ms. Tuck was in Brazil from September of 2013, until August 2014.


Jaelyn spoke to club members about her experiences during her time in Brazil.  While in Brazil she was hosted by four different families and attended a private school of 300 students for part of the year and a public school with 5,000 students for the rest of her school year.  As part of her year, Jaelyn was able to travel with up to 40 other Rotary exchange students from around the world.  They visited several Brazilian cultural and scenic sights along with many other Rotary Clubs in Brazil.  Academics were also stressed and Jaelyn took approximately 12 classes while in Brazil.


Ms. Tuck stated her experience in Brazil allowed her to learn more about herself and become much more self confident and at ease with public speaking and more open with students and adults.  Jaelyn hopes to attend either West Virginia University, Vanderbilt or the University of North Carolina pursuing a career in pharmacy.


For more information on Rotary’s Youth Exchange Program, please visit the Rotary International website at or contact

SML Rotarian Case Pieterman at


Photo caption:  Rotary Club of SML Youth Exchange coordinator, Case Pieterman, thanks Ms. Jaelyn Tuck for her presentation to club members about her experiences in Brazil as a Rotary Youth Exchange student.