Over the past few weeks, the Leesville Rotary Club has heard from an impressive lineup of guest speakers.

On March 12, Beverly Sanders and Olivia McKee from the Leesville Mayor's Women's Commission spoke about their efforts and the purposes they serve in the community.

They spoke about the citywide cleanup day as well as multiple ways in which the community can participate in making the City of Leesville a cleaner city. They hope to win the Cleanest City Award again this year.

In the same meeting, Rosana Meirelles surprised the club and gave an impromptu presentation.

Meirelles is from Brazil and is upcoming Chairperson (current Vice Chair) for Rotary International Youth Exchange.

Danny Manuel from Rotary Club of Many was hosting her for her visit and facilitated the impromptu visit.

Having Meirelles visit allowed the Leesville club an opportunity to learn more about the Rotary International Youth Exchange. Meirelles also oversees Rotary Friendship Exchange and Generation Service Exchange.

The Exchange groups involve travel abroad for individuals starting as young as 15 years old, involving travel time extending from weeks to a full year of adventure.

The exchange individuals, as well as the recipient families, are rigorously vetted, ensuring the safety of all participants.

These opportunities are phenomenal ways for individuals to explore the world through travel within the Rotary organization.

"I am who I am today because of Rotary," Meirelles said.

She explained that she only wants to do her part to ensure others are as fortunate.

"I want the youth of today to have the opportunity to be even better than us, current Rotarians, in the coming years. These experiences change lives,” Meirelles said.

A week later at the March 19 meeting, the Rotary club was visited by some of the Vernon Parish School board.

James Williams, Vernon Parish School Board Superintendent along with Curriculum Directors Renita Paige and Ann Smith presented information regarding Dual Enrollment and Accountability programs, ACT and Jump Start testing statistics.

The also provided an overview of how Vernon Parish schools measure up to the rest of the state.

"It is always a proud moment when our students excel in sports and academic competitions. But, truly, my thoughts are always with the safety of the students, whether they are eating well, whether we are challenging our students to reach the next level in life," Williams said.