DHS Chorus Brings Holiday Favorites For Lunch

DHS Chorus at DRC Meeting

In keeping with a long standing tradition, the Dracut High School Chorus came to lunch on December 18th and brought with them holiday favorites to delight members and guests. Following the meal and regular club meeting, the Chorus regaled those at the gathering with a short program featuring several holiday and winter numbers that they will be performing at the Holiday Concert at DHS later in the week. Then director Ethan Lobenstine turned the program over to a “Sing Along” with Rotarians joining in. Again this holiday season, Club members left the meeting with true holiday spirit thanks to these excellent young performers. Thank you Dracut High Chorus!

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Dracut Rotary’s 12th Annual Gingerbread Competition

Dracut Rotary rang in the holiday season in style with its 12th Annual Gingerbread Competition on Saturday, December 1st. Hundreds of local residents packed Harmony Hall to see this year’s gingerbread creations. The event, held in conjunction with the town’s Tree Lighting Ceremony at the adjacent Daoulas School Complex, is the annual kick-off for Dracut’s holiday season. Visitors got to view dozens of entries, take chances to win their favorites and pick their choice for first, second and third place winners. Entertainment was provided by a string trio of Dracut High School students. Santa visited between 5:00 and 7:00 pm and there were free cookies, doughnuts, cocoa and coffee served all day along, with hundreds of gingerbread cookies for children to decorate. Donations and proceeds from the event are contributed annually to the Dracut Food Pantry.

This year’s creations were among some of the best ever, according to event chair Susan Neary. Choosing the winners was a tough choice for this year’s visitors. The creations were divided into four categories;  professional, amateur, young adult and children age 12 and under. Club members added to the creations, baking up their own entries. This year’s winners were:

1st place Professional Category

Professional:  1st – Bittersweet Bake Shop (Lynn Donnelly & Elisbet Dupont);  2nd – Sugar Coated Bakery (Jennifer Gryckiez);  3rd – Collette Turgeon

1st place Amateur Category

Amateur:  1st – Tricia & Lauren Natale;  2nd – John Cole;  3rd – Joann Smith

1st place Young Adult Category

Young Adults:  1st – Bryce Kelly;  2nd – Marissa Jones & Olivia Keating;  3rd – Sarah Turner & Addie Nelson

1st place Children 12 and Under Category

Children:  1st – Dimitri, Alyson & Kate Asikis;  2nd – The Bergeron Family;  3rd – Thomas Tziotzioras & Charlie Keating

1st place Rotary Category

Rotarians:  1st – Rachel & Frank Antifonario;  2nd – LouAnn Jendro:  3rd – Kate Dame

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DRC Hosts Middies Football Seniors

Middies Head Coach Jason Rivers is honored for Patriot’s Head Coach of the Week award.

In a tradition dating back more than 40 years, Dracut Rotary hosted the senior players on the Dracut Middies Football team at their meeting on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving . The senior team members were the club’s guests at their regular meeting to wish them well in their Thanksgiving eve game against Methuen.  

The players got a chance to experience Rotary and the club got a chance to congratulate Head Coach Jason Rivers on being named the New England Patriots High School Coach of the Week on October 30, 2018, marking the Middies first playoff win since 2008.


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DRC Honors Those Who Support Our Veterans

On November 13, DRC held its 2nd Annual Veterans Appreciation luncheon at Lenzi’s. Members of the Dracut American Legion Post 315, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Greater Lowell Veterans Council, Nam Knights, the Veteran Outreach at Christ Church United, and the Veterans Resource Center at Middlesex Community College attended the meeting and shared their mission to serve those who served us. Staff from the MCC Veterans Resource Center provided extensive resource materials about their program for all present.

Dracut’s new Veterans Service Officer, Jeffrey Hollett, spoke about his experience as a returning veteran and his commitment to serve veterans in our community. Hollett expressed his thanks to the DRC for sponsoring this event and stressed the importance of letting all veterans know what help there is and how to access that help.

DRC is committed to making this event our yearly opportunity to thank those who dedicate their time and resources to helping and honoring our veterans.


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Students Share RYLA Experiences

RYLA students share their experiences at June conference. From l. to r. RYLA Chair LouAnn Jendro, Andrew Salois, Shakira Kawuba, Jillian Gomes, Rachael Doyle, Paige Dame, and Club President Chuck Moran.

The 2018 Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) attendees were the guest speakers at Dracut Rotary Club’s annual RYLA Night on October 30th. They had been selected by Dracut Rotary to attend RYLA in March. High School sophomores  from suburban Boston, Metro West and central Massachusetts gathered at Fitchburg State University for the 3-day conference last June. The event included presentations, activities and workshops in leadership fundamentals, ethics, communication, and problem solving.

The students, along with their parents, enjoyed dinner and fellowship as guests of the club. It was then their turn to share their RYLA experiences with club members. Each spoke about the activities that they participated in that helped to build their confidence and leadership skills, as well as the friends from other communities that they made that weekend.

RYLA is a Rotary International event designed to promote leadership skills for sophomore students to use in high school and beyond. Approximately 200 students participated in RYLA 2018. Dracut Rotary Club has been selecting students to attend RYLA since the program’s inception in 1994.

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Plans Underway for Annual Gingerbread Event

Plans are currently underway for Dracut Rotary Club’s 12th Annual Gingerbread House Competition to be held this year on Saturday, December 1st, at Harmony Hall.  This annual event is held in conjunction with the town’s tree lighting ceremony at the adjacent Daoulas School Complex. Bakers are currently registering to participate in this holiday event.

The competition is open to four groups: professional bakers, amateur adults, young adults ages 13 to 19, and children up to age 12. Individuals and groups (clubs, classrooms, church groups, families, scouts, etc.) are always welcome to enter. Gingerbread creations of any design are eligible, but they must be edible and become the property of Dracut Rotary Club. All entries are raffled off to lucky event guests.

Bakers are encouraged to register now to participate. Creations are to be dropped off at Harmony Hall on Lakeview Avenue in Dracut on Friday, November 30th, between 4:00 and 7:00 pm. The entries will be on display on Saturday, December 1st, from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. The public is invited to view the gingerbread masterpieces and enjoy the music, snacks and coffee and cocoa … and its all free.  There will be free gingerbread cookies for children to decorate all day and Santa will be dropping by from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. The public will vote for their favorite entries and winners will be notified that evening at 7:00 pm.

There is no charge for admission and all proceeds from the raffle and donations will be presented to the Dracut Food Pantry. The community is also encouraged to donate non-perishable food items. Prizes will be awarded for 1st place ($75), second place ($50 ) and third place ($25) in all categories and entrants will receive a sheet of raffle tickets.  For information or to enter please contact Susan Neary, Dracut Rotary Club at Dracut_Rotary_Gingerbread_House@comcast.net.

Plan to join us for this community event to celebrate the Joy of the Holiday Season.

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DRC’s Dining Around Dracut Huge Success

Diners selected taste treats offered by 31 restaurants.

Dracut Rotary’s Dining Around Dracut was a huge success,according to DRC’s president Chuck Moran. Nearly 500 attended the event, the club’s major annual fundraiser, held March 5th at Lenzi’s, 810 Merrimack Avenue in Dracut. Thirty-one restaurants participated, offering guests tasty treats to sample during the two hour celebration. The “diners” chose their favorites in four categories. Taking home bragging rights for “Best Appetizer” was Not Your Average Joe’s in Methuen. “Best Entrée” went to Brothers Sports Bar & Grille. Two Chefs Are Better Than One took two awards… “Best Dessert” and “Best Presentation”.

Again this year, tickets for Dining Around Dracut were $20 if purchased in advance. They were available at six locations in Dracut. Tickets were also available online with eventbrite.com.You could still get tickets at the door for $25. “The majority of our guests bought their tickets in advance,” said Dining Around Dracut chair, Lee Ouellette.

Also new this year was expansion of the venue to include Lenzi’s front function room. “This is where we had our dozens of gift baskets,” said Ouellette. “They were on display throughout the evening.” Patrons agreed this was a plus. According to one gentleman who attended last year’s Dining Around Dracut, the layout gave people time to check out the baskets and gifts. It paid off too, according to raffle chairs Jessica Silva and Dot Amborsini The Club sold twice as many raffle tickets as the year before. The room was set up with tables and chairs as well, giving guests a spot to enjoy some food offerings, before returning to the banquet hall to try something new.

In addition, an admission ticket was a chance to win this year’s door prize, generously donated by Lynette Duggan. One of the evening’s diners walked away with a flat screen television. The door prize, raffle prizes and delicious fare from 31 of Greater Lowell’s restaurants and caterers kept Dining Around Dracut hopping and guests happy. As they left, many in the crowd thanked the Rotarians for hosting the event and said they would be back next year.

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