The Jim Thorpe Rotary welcomed 16 students to its Student Rotarian Program during a short program at Jim Thorpe High School on Tuesday.

The students, representing both Jim Thorpe Area High School and the Carbon County Technical Institute, will each take part in Rotary meetings in turn as a "student of the month" during the 2009-2010 school year.

"This is a very special evening," said Rotary President Bill Allison, speaking to the crowd of students and parents. "It kicks off the Jim Thorpe Rotary's Student Rotarian Program."

He explained that each student is chosen for the Student Rotarian Program based on their service and leadership skills, both within the school and out in the community.

"They represent the motto of Rotary International: 'Service Above Self,'" said Allison. "These young people certainly represent the primary leaders in their school."

Students were nominated for the program through a principal or director at the school. At Jim Thorpe High School, Principal Tom Lesisko chose eight students. Administrative Director Dave Reinbold nominated an additional eight students at CCTI.

"You should be very proud of these fantastic kids," said Lesisko. He pointed out that several students in this year's program have already demonstrated strong leadership skills, going beyond what is asked of them to help the school and community.

Allison explained that Rotary is primarily a service organization. Its members are local business and professional leaders who choose to serve their community through fundraisers, sponsorships and service activities.

The Rotary also follows a strict ethical code, asking four questions of every action: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill? And will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Rotary hosts two students each month through the Student Rotarian Program, in order to expose young leaders to these ethical principals and service activities at their weekly meetings.

"This is a way to build leadership," said Allison. "These young people will go out of this town and represent us," whether they return to stay in the area or speak about their hometown in a new city, he added. "This is a part of their education."

Students representing Jim Thorpe Area High School include Meredith Brisbane, Marisa Cantelmi, Corey Cinicola, Christian Ferko, Samuel Lux, Hilary Reis, Oliver Schultz, and Dillon Smith.

CCTI students are Samantha Adams, Kyle Bretz, Shealyn Burkholder, Dylan Crenko, Nicholas Davis, Danielle Leone, Natasha Roth, and Xavier Vargas.

Each student was given a $50 US Savings Bond after being introduced to the program. Rotary members, students and parents then gathered in the Jim Thorpe Commons to share a meal.