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

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 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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It’s time again for Dining Around Dracut

Patrons sample taste treats at last year’s Dining Around Dracut’

Plans are underway for Dracut Rotary Club’s annual fundraiser to support the Club’s many charities. This year’s tasting event will be held at Lenzi’s in Dracut on Monday, March 5, 2018, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Restaurants are lining up to participate. Dozens of raffle items are also being collected for what is expected to be an exceptional offering of prizes for lucky patrons.

“We are expecting this year’s Dining Around Dracut to be bigger and better than last year,” said Chair Lee Ouellette.  “Most of the restaurants from last year are returning and a few new ones will be participating as well,” added Ouellette.

To date, 31 restaurants are committed to participate on March 5th. Partons can expect to taste treats from ABrews Tap & Grill, Bahama Breeze, Bittersweet Bake Shoppe, Brickhouse Pizza, Brothers Sports Bar, Brown & Budnick’s, Burtons Grille,  Casa Blanca, Cazadores, Chowder Factory, Crown Fried Chicken, Dracut House of Pizza, Edible Arrangements, Firewater Tavern,  Frobies, Grazie at 4 Oaks, Harrows Chicken Pies, Heav’nly Donuts, Jon Ryan’s Pub, Lenzi’s, Lisa’s Family Pizza, Mama’s, Not Your Average Joe’s, Olive Garden, Outback, Owen & Ollie’s, Primos, Shaw Farm, Sugar Coated Bakery, Two Chefs and Village Inn.

“We are very excited by the response so far,” said Club President Chuck Moran. “This is a major fundraiser for us and one we work on all year.”

Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. You can purchase them at Szczepanik Insurance, ATux Formal, Daigle Insurance, Dracut Hardware, Alexander’s Pharmacy and The Fox Cut Salon. You can also purchase your tickets online this year at

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DRC Hosts Fellowship Night

President Chuck Moran welcomes Rotarians from area clubs.

Dracut Rotary hosted an Evening of Fellowship for area clubs on Tuesday, January 30 at Lenzi’s in Dracut. Participating were members of nine area clubs, including Andover, Ayer, Dracut, Groton -Pepperell, Lowell, Merrimack Valley, Nashoba Valley, Tyngsboro – Dunstable, and Westford. District Governor, Karin Gaffney joined DRC President Chuck Moran in welcoming more than 50 area Rotarians to the dinner meeting. Chuck said the evening was planned to renew connections and bring area Rotarians together. Karin encouraged the clubs in attendance to take turns hosting similar events each quarter.

The Lowell club, widely recognized as the Club that Sings, provided some musical entertainment for the group, singing one of their traditional favorites, “Hello.”  

Area Rotarians enjoy dinner and conversation at Lenzi’s.

While the intent of the evening was strictly informal, a representative from each club took the opportunity to promote their club’ s upcoming events. From Tyngsboro – Dunstable’s Sock Hop on February 3, to Westford’s  Blues and Brews on August 11, 2018 promises to be packed with Rotary events worth adding to your calendar. For information on area Rotary happenings in the upcoming months, check the clubs’ websites.     

Nine area clubs were represented at the Fellowship Night. From l. to r. in back, Chuck Moran – Dracut, Jim Pope – Westford, Mark Gillette – Andover, Dolores Alberghini – Ayer, Chris Diaz – Tyngsboro Dunstable, District Governor Karin Gaffney – Nashoba Valley; front row l. to r. Amy Pessia – Lowell, Suzanne Frechette – Merrimack Valley, and Derek TenBroeck – Groton Pepperell.


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2017 Gingerbread Competition Huge Success

Hundreds of visitors crowded into Harmony Hall on Saturday, December 2nd, to view Dracut Rotary Club’s Annual Gingerbread House Competition creations and celebrate the holiday season. The visitors were treated to festive decorations, holiday music, yummy holiday treats and a visit from Santa. Children decorated gingerbread cookies and adults took chances on the gingerbread entries that they would like to add to their family decorations. Visitors said it was a great way to celebrate the holidays with their children and Club members called it a huge success.

The entries were divided into four categories; Professionals, Adult Amateurs, Young Adults [ages 13 to 19 years of age], and Children [up to age 12 years]. Visitors purchased tickets and took a chance on the creations of their choice with all proceeds going to the Dracut Food Pantry. Everyone in attendance also got a chance to vote for the entries they thought should be chosen as the winner in each category.

Winner of the Club Member Category – Frank and Rachel Antifonario

Club members got into the act donating gingerbread entries of their own creation as well. One of the highlights of this year’s competition was the donation of the winning Club Members entry to the Salvation Army Radiothon on WCAP. The house created by Frank and Rachel Antifonario won that distinction and was raffled off at the Radiothon.

Adding to the festive spirit of the day was music provided by a string trio, with members of the Dracut National Junior Honor Society. Violinist Rosalie Pineda, cellist Maddie Archambault and violist Rachel McIntosh treated visitors to a holiday serenade. The town’s Tree Lighting Ceremony at the adjacent school complex capped off the day of celebration. All agreed that the annual event was a great way to usher in the holiday season in Dracut.  

Winner of the Professional Category – Collette Turgeon

Winner of the Adult Amateur Category – Val Gauthier

Winners of the Young Adult Category – Elly McKenna and Lauren Masse

Winner of the Children Category – Bergeron Family

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Salvo - Children 1st Place  It’s time again to get ready for the holidays, and what better way to usher in the season than entering Dracut Rotary Club’s Annual Gingerbread House Competition. This year, the competition will be held on Saturday, December 2, 2017, at Harmony Hall in Dracut. As always, the event is planned in conjunction with the town’s official Tree Lighting Ceremony. So get your cookbooks out and start planning your holiday creation.

The Club is seeking gingerbread houses in any design. The only requirement is that the entries be edible and they become the property of the Rotary Club of Dracut. Your entry will be placed on display on December 2nd, from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. Visitors to Harmony Hall then buy raffle tickets to take a chance on winning their favorite gingerbread creations. The proceeds from the tickets go to the Dracut Food Pantry. Tina Keiley - Amateur 3rd Place

There is no admission fee, although patrons are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items for the food pantry. There will be holiday music, free refreshments, and gingerbread cookie decorating for children all day. As usual, Santa will be stopping by from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, so bring your cameras.  

There are youth, adult and professional categories with prizes for the best entries in each category. This is your chance to show off your creativity and get in the holiday spirit. Just download your entry today and start planning your creation.      

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