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Overcoming Obstacles

Posted 10/15/2017 by Halle Bristow

The Spartan team brought energy and excitement to the 2nd annual Water Toy Race. photo courtesy of Joe McComb

The Denver Tech Center (DTC) Rotary Club held the second annual Water Toy Race on September 23rd at Chatfield Reservoir.

The Water Toy Race’s purpose is to provide for post-high school scholarships, in addition to promoting teamwork and fun for the people and schools participating. Senior Leo Busse recounted these adventures, revealing that the 2017 event “brought our community together more than just fundraising did, so it made people enjoy being here.” The sense of fellowship and teamwork at the Chatfield Reservoir that day brought people together for something that had a huge impact on the community. Registration ranged from $200 to $250 per team, including breakfast, music, and a spot in the races. The participants, all a wide variety of ages, raced through an obstacle course using a combination of kayaks, paddle boards, and water guns. At the end, prizes were awarded for the best costume, fastest team, and the most fun to watch.  

TJ Robotics first became involved with the Water Toy Race last year when CTE Partnership Coordinator Danny Showers and the Rotary club asked for them to enter a team. Since the DTC Rotary was a major benefactor for the Robotics SeaPerch National team, TJ’s Robotics teacher Matt Santambrogio explained, “if we can then give back by participating in an event that is not only beneficial to DTC Rotary but fun for everyone involved we are going to bring as many teams as possible. The Water Toy Race are about members in the greater TJ community coming together for a great cause.”

Rotary’s biggest obstacle is its struggle to come up with the money to sponsor these educational programs. Marcia Malone, a coordinator for DTC Rotary Club Service & Programs, added, “I think the challenge – not just for Rotary clubs, but for organizations in general – is we need more collaboration and more joint ventures.” The most challenging aspect about fighting these causes is that Rotary has limited resources. Therefore, their annual Water Toy Race fundraiser is critical to their club because it is their primary source of income to support their youth education improvements.

Several local schools are fortunate to have a connection with the DTC Rotary, which supports their various clubs and events. For example, every month, members of this particular club donate a multitude of free books to Samuel’s Elementary School and read to the students. Literacy is a very important aspect to the school’s community, especially with their variety of languages and diverse student makeup. Not to mention, many of the graduating Samuel’s students eventually feed into the incoming freshman class at Thomas Jefferson High School. Santambrogio mentioned, “Rotary is an amazing group of individuals who come together to do everything they can to serve those in need from sponsoring the robotics team, funding scholarships, and much more.”

The overall hope and goal is that this event continues to grow and prosper, helping support local educational programs for many years to come. Malone summed it up nicely by emphasizing the involvement of the younger generations in the future of The Water Toy Race as well as The Rotary Club: “We are an aging organization, and the millennials don’t always see the real purpose behind it, so we need to do a better job of telling them what the purpose is, and recruiting them.” This larger purpose is ‘service above self,’ Rotary’s motto, where the focus is to bring about great improvements for the wellbeing of people around the world. It is important for the younger generations to get involved in order to carry out Rotary’s values and aspirations for overall prosperity. Rotary is great avenue for Spartans to consider as they give back to the community.