Arlington, VA
Press Release

Rotary Club: Educator of the Year Honored; $18,000 in College Scholarships Presented to Student

By: Arlington Rotary Club

April 26, 2021

The Arlington Rotary Club has honored school counselor Laurie Dodson as Arlington Key Elementary School’s “Educator of the Year” and presented two Arlington high school students scholarships totaling $18,000 at the club’s annual education awards event.

  • Emma Newman, a Washington-Liberty senior, is the recipient of a $10,000 scholarship over four years to attend Virginia Tech. She plans to major in psychology and hopes to pursue a career helping people who live with mental illness.
  • Sarai Joya Argueta, a graduate of Arlington Community High School is the recipient of the $8,000 Audra Rafter Scholarship. She begins studies at Northern Virginia Community College this month to study information technology and hopes for a career in the medical and pharmacy field.

“The awards reflect Arlington Rotary’s ongoing commitment to education,” said the club’s interim Education Fund President Steve Klemp. “We are proud to honor a leader of the present and two leaders of the future. They are assets for our community.”

The club presented the awards on April 22 in an event held virtually because of the pandemic. Lisa Fikes, Acting President and CEO of Volunteer Arlington’s Center for Leadership Excellence, was the keynote speaker.

Arlington Rotary is a partner with Key School, supporting it with special activities throughout the year.

Laurie Dodson was commended for helping Key School-Escuela Key, the county’s bilingual Spanish immersion K-5 elementary school, to achieve national recognition from the American School Counseling Association as a model for its data-informed counseling program.

Dodson also coordinates the school’s “Adopt a Child and Family” holiday gift campaign that matches community donors with over 60 families in need.

Linking Rotary’s motto of “Service Above Self” to education, Fikes noted that “Taking the time to listen and learn is a form of civic engagement” and then taking what you learn “to make a difference.”

“During a time of isolation and fear during the pandemic,” Fikes also observed that “organizations, businesses and individuals came together” to meet community needs. “Creativity will continue [and] Arlington has a right to be proud.”

Klemp voiced appreciation to all whose support make the Rotary Club’s scholarships and service projects throughout the year possible. Event sponsors included:

  • AHC, Inc.
  • Art-Eclectic, a subsidiary of the Lott Family, LLC
  • MESH — Masonic & Eastern Star Charities
  • Carol Sutfin, Broker, MCM Realty Company
  • Claude Moore Charitable Foundation
  • Embassy of the United Arab Emirates
  • John P. and Priscilla C. Becker
  • Kim and Dave Durand
  • Steve and Karen Klemp
  • Gary and Janice Long
  • Steve and Nancy Silcox
  • Phil Traina
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