With near perfect weather for the opening weekend of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival, President Corry called the 33rd meeting of the 28th year of the Rotary Club of La Quinta’s meeting to order.  Corry led us in the flag salute followed by an invocation by Marc Rosen.
At the greeting table this week was Baird Boucher taking attendance, Tom McDermott selling lunch tickets and Adrian Gyzi selling Raffle tickets.  
Visiting Rotarians this day included Andy and Roger Gavin from Washington, Bill Clottier from Albany, Oregon, and of course Barry from So. El Monte.  Guests this week included last week’s speaker (and potential new member) Victoria Llort and Diane Kelly’s guest (sans Diane) Benjamin.
Not in attendance today was Dick Anderson who was busy being honored at the Inspirational Senior Awards.  Congratulations Dick!
President Corry made the following announcements:
The next club board meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 29th, at Baird Boucher’s (Wholesale Jewelry) store in La Quinta starting at 5:30 PM.
District 5330 Assembly will be Saturday April 18th at Beaumont High School at 39139 Cherry Valley Blvd. in Beaumont.
Joe LaMantia announced that Rotary Direct forms were lost and would not be at the greeting table today. 
Rotary Math Day will be held on May 5th.  Those interested in helping out as proctors or serving and monitoring the students during lunch are asked to contact Martha Mendez at 760-396-6945.
Our District 5330 Conference hospitality night will be on May 15th at the Doral Hotel again this year, more info to follow.
Victoria Llort announced that the American Outreach Gala will be held at the Gardens on El Paseo (Palm Desert) on Saturday May 2nd starting at 4:30.  Attendance is free!
Finally, Dick Jandt announced that the City of La Quinta Birthday celebration will be held on Saturday April 25th at the La Quinta City Park.  Our club contribution will be to cook and serve 1000 free hot dogs to all of the citizens in attendance.  This is always a fun event.  Just show up and we’ll put you to work… and give you a free hot dog!
With $567.00 in the jackpot this week Bob Becker held the winning raffle ticket.  Unfortunately for Bob he drew a clear marble and won only $5.00!
Following the raffle Marc Rosen played a fantastic video that he created from photos taken by him and other club members of our recent Strut Your Mutt event.  After the usual and customary “technical difficulties” the presentation played flawlessly and really showed off what a great community event this is and how much fun attendees have here each year.  Great job Marc!
Our Fine Master Walter Keating started this week’s recognition by auctioning off the fine free badge.  Adrian started us off with his $19.00 bid which soon escalated to Rey Neufeld’s winning bid of $60.00.  We learned that Jimbo Dorr had accumulated quite a few no make-ups due to a heart attack!  His debt forgiven he made (and paid for) a public service announcement advising members not to ignore the signs associated with the early onset of a heart attack… chest pain, numbness in the arm, indigestion.  Thank you Jim for the great advice and we are glad to have you back!  Andy Lorenz tried to invoke the rule of “85” for his no make-ups claiming his age plus years of service as a Rotarian equaled 107!  But being the great Rotarian that he is, he paid $10.00 anyway.  Dr. Bruce Underwood paid for his anniversary, Walter Keating paid for his phone going off and disrupting the meeting, Corry paid for the closure of his new home (finally!), Joe LaMantia paid for the great slide show and Bruce Cathcart paid for the return of Victoria Llort to our meeting today.
Our speaker this day was Sheri Tucker, the Director and Lead Instructor of the Culinary Institute at La Quinta High School.  We first met Sheri at our Wine and History event held in 2014 where her students did a marvelous job of “catering” our event.  The Culinary Institute is a program offered at the La Quinta High School designed to give students both the physical skills and business understanding associated with the culinary arts.  It is a “hands on” program that spans all four years of high school.  It is more of a career/technical education program than the core educational programs normally offered in high school.  Sheri has approximately 35 students per class and a total enrollment each year between 150 and 175 students.  The program has been in existence for 13 years with the first 11 years being taught out of a typical 900 square foot home economics classroom.  Two years ago, thanks to the new facilities bond approved by the local voters, a new classroom has been built that encompasses 12,000 square feet of commercial grade kitchen! 
Students are assisted with mentoring programs in local businesses and connect with the public through their catering of events (much like our own) where they do all of the negotiating, menu planning, cost analysis, cooking, set up, serving, and clean up. 
In addition, the La Quinta High School Students compete annually in the National Restaurant Associations “Pro Start” competition.  Of the 9 times that they have competed they have been State Champions an amazing 7 times!  The ultimate goal of the Culinary Arts program for the students is college and career readiness.  Sheri related several stories of her student’s successes, many of whom have either stayed in the desert or returned to the desert to pursue their careers here. 
Congratulations Sheri on an outstanding program.  To contact Sheri regarding the possibility of having your event catered by her culinary arts students please email her at sheri.tucker@desertsands.us
To watch a short video on the LQHS Culinary Arts Program click on the following link:
President Corry closed out the meeting leading the members in the four way test. 
This week’s newsletter was written by Bruce Cathcart