Rotary hears from newer members

Published 3:10 pm Tuesday, August 27, 2019

What do you do when the scheduled speaker cancels at the last minute? You reinstate a forgotten practice of having some of the newer members give an introductory talk about themselves.

That is what happened at Rotary this week.

First up was Michael Kirkland who is an educator with the college in Bainbridge.

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He chose to talk about those who helped him achieve his goals. As a student at Bainbridge High School, he was always encouraged by then Principal Tommie Howell who served as his mentor and encouraged him to pursue his dream. He attended Bainbridge College before moving on to UGA to obtain his bachelor’s degree and pursue his dream of becoming a history teacher. At that point he decided he wanted to teach history at the college level, so he earned his Master’s degree from Valdosta and returned home to Bainbridge College. Kirkland began teaching at Bainbridge College in 2003 and this year he is back in the classroom where he always wanted to be.

He, his wife and children are residents of Iron City and he serves on the Seminole County School Board. A requirement of his profession was to go to Athens and take a course in ethics. He was surprised and proud to see that one of Decatur County’s finest, Luther Conyers, had made the video being used as a class standard.

Another recent member, Tabitha Payne also graduated from Bainbridge High School and received her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Her classroom experience began at Jones Wheat Elementary, where she learned a great deal from her associates, especially Principal Larry Clark. She decided to pursue a degree in law and enrolled in law school in Jacksonville, Fla.

She resides in Bainbridge and is a law partner in a firm with Josh Bell. Their offices are in Whigham, with plans to open a satellite law office in Bainbridge.

In this way, long-time Rotarians have an opportunity to get better acquainted with new members.