New Officers Named


Congratulation to our Officers and Directors.


  • President:   Mark Holmes
  • President Elect:  Patrick Brown
  • Past President:   Truitt Matthews
  • Treasurer:  Doug Rabe
  • Secretary:  Dietrich Knabe
  • VP-Fundraising:  Todd Overstreet
  • VP-Programs:  Chris Poteet
  • VP-Youth:  Robert Walne


  • Citizenship & Americanism:  Jon Deats
  • Membership:  Carlin Volkmer
  • Community Service:  Jon Torres
  • Community Events:   Jeff Jacobie
  • Communications:  Eric Holmes
  • Scholarships:  Chris Brown
  • Member Involvement:  Anthony DiVenuti
  • Oktoberfest:  Todd Bowen
  • School Relations:  Tate Gorman
  • Child Abuse Prevention:  Justin Bono
  • New Club Building:  Chris Halpin

Thanks to all these members who have agreed to be serve.

ACE Breakfast, Teacher Recognition and Youth of the Year

ACE and Youth of the Year

A.C.E. Awardees and Youth of the Year | Left to Right-Rebuma Kedir – A.C.E. Awards, Karla Ruiz – A.C.E Awards, Peyton Cabaniss – Youth of the Year, Mark Gaarwood – Youth of the Year

The ECLH gives 8 Youth-of-the-Month awards during our calendar year, and the Youth-of-the-Year (YOY) is chosen from among those to represent our club at the local, state and national level of Exchange.

YOY—An award designed to recognize industrious high school students who have high levels of academic achievement while also demonstrating leadership/involvement/participation and a willing desire to serve others in their school, community and beyond.

A.C.E. – “Accepting the Challenge of Excellence”: These awards are given to students who have overcome adversity and have achieved positive outcomes during their HS careers. It is a national Exchange Club program and a national winner is selected.

Teachers of the Year

teachers of the year

Teachers of the Year Left to Right: Cecilia Whitham – Northlake Elementary, James Bradanese – Stults Road Elementary, Alexandra Hines – Forest Lane Academy, Lilana Castillo – Audelia Creek Elementary, Erin Chesal – Lake Highlands Freshman Center, Cecilia Whitham – Northlake Elementary, Lisa Steward – Hamilton Park Pacesetter Magnet, Lauren Janco – Forest Lane Academy

World Vision Update

The Exchange Club’s 4-29-16 meeting featured a presentation by Merrill Swenke. She lives in Lake Highlands and is a long time friend of club member, Mike Mahurin. She is a Volunteer Child Ambassador for World Vision, a national Christian organization which is dedicated to helping children, families, and communities in 100 different countries. Its goal is to help children reach their potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. It serves all people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or age. Its headquarters is in Seattle, Washington and its main source of income is from individuals who pledge to give $39 each month to sponsor a designated child. The sponsor and child are able to communicate with each other so that the donor can be informed about that child’s progress. World Vision has a very informative web site–, To sponsor a child, or for more information, contact Merrill at or 214-577-8904.

world vision

Picture:Truitt Matthews, Merrill Swenke, Mike Mahurin

Zach Garza and Forerunner mentoring


Truitt Matthews, Tuguan Harris, Zach Garza

The Exchange Club of Lake Highlands 4-22-16 meeting featured a presentation by Zach Garza, founder and Executive Director of Forerunner Mentoring. (He is also an Exchange Club member.) This is a 501c(3) non profit organization that mentors fatherless boys who live in the Lake Highlands area. Zach was a coach and teacher for several years at Lake Highlands Junior High. As he worked with many of his students, he became aware of the many young boys who were living in homes that did not have a father present. (Its estimated that there are 24,000,000 children in the U. S. who live in a home that has no father.) In 2009, his Christian faith led him to found and organize Forerunner Mentoring. A Board of Directors was formed and the organization is now in place and becoming an effective part of the Lake Highlands community. It is currently mentoring 18 young men between the age of 9 and 18 at North Lake Elementary, Lake Highlands Junior High, Forest Meadow Junior High, and Lake Highlands High School. 10 additional boys will be added next year which will create the need for 10 additional mentors. In addition to individual mentoring, the program features after school tutoring and other activities. Zach’s goal is to teach fatherless boys how to become men with good character.

Zach also brought one of their program participants– Tuguan Harris,a Lake Highlands student who is Captain of the wrestling team and program participant for several years. He recounted howForerunner and Zach had been instrumental in his life. Zach is seeking additional volunteers and financial assistance in order that the program can be expanded to other schools. Although most of the volunteers are men, women are also welcome tohelp with the after school tutoring.

The Forerunner website is,
Zach can be contacted at
Tax deductible contributions can be sent to Forerunner at 9660 Audelia Rd, Suite 123, Dallas 75238.

RISD Bond Presentation

The Exchange Club meeting on April 15, 2016 featured representatives from the Richardson Independent School District who presented back ground information on the upcoming bond election which will take place on May 7th. RISD now has some 38,700 students at 55 campuses.  The proposed bond will be for $437.1 million dollars.  It will provide funds for maintenance of existing facilities and equipment, construction and renovation of new facilities and additions such as libraries, technology updates, career and technical education and multi purpose buildings at high schools.  The message was that this is a much needed bond for Lake Highlands residents due to the continued addition of new students in area schools, and the need for an additional elementary school.  Talks were made by two  of our RISD trustees, Justin Bono and Jean Bono.

A presentation was also made by Tony Hakleroad,  Deputy Superintendent, who also answered questions.

A very informative video was also shown.  If you were not present, of if you would like to see the video again, you can see it at which has complete information on the proposed bond.

Early Voting will be from April 23 to May 3.

Picture--Tony Hakleroad, Deputy Superintendent for Finance and Operations; Jean Bono, Trustee; Justin Bono; Trustee; Karah Altman, Director for communications and public affairs

Picture–Tony Hakleroad, Deputy Superintendent for Finance and Operations; Jean Bono, Trustee; Justin Bono; Trustee; Karah Altman, Director for communications and public affairs

April Youth of the Month and Character Counts

The Exchange Club of Lake Highlands presented monthly student awards for April to four Lake Highlands High School students at its meeting on April 8th. These will be the final awards for the 2015/2016 school year.

Character Counts awards were presented to Christopher Polito and Lanie Jackson. These awards recognize students who display strong character traits, serve as role models to other students, and participate in school and community activities. They are selected by LHHS teachers and staff. Christopher is the son of Nicholas and Sunny Polito. He is an honor student and a member of the National Honor Society. He is a member of the Mens Choir and has performed in the school musicals productions. He is also on the school video production team. He plans to attend Emerson College in Boston and major in media studies. Lainey is the daughter of Judy Craigo. She was unable to attend the event and will be introduced to the club at a future meeting.

Youth of the Month awards were presented to Peyton Cabaniss and

Picture--LHHS Principal Frank Miller, Christopher Polito, Peyton Cabaniss, Brandon Kaylor, and Exchange Club VP Chris Brown.

Picture–LHHS Principal Frank Miller, Christopher Polito, Peyton Cabaniss, Brandon Kaylor, and Exchange Club VP Chris     Brown.

APril CC

Lanie Jackson, April Character Counts

Brandon Kaylor. These awards recognize students who are in the top 20% of their class who articipate in student government, school publications, music, theatre, athletics, or other activities. They are also selected by teachers and staff. Peyton is Number 4 in the Senior Class She is the daughter of Kevin and Carol Cabaniss. She a member of the Highlandette Drill team, and President of the A Cappella Choir. Peyton is a member of the National Honor Society and The Girls Service League. She attends Wilshire Baptist Church where she is in the Student Ministry and choir. She plans to attend Baylor University to major in Business.

Brandon is the son of Len and Patti Kaylor. He is also an honor student and enjoys his English and social studies classes. He has been a member of the school football and wrestling teams. Branson has also been a Dallas Mavericks ball boy. He plans to attend the University of Arkansas to major in Business.

Each student received a plaque and a gift of North Park Gold. Letters from teachers told about the Character Counts recipients. The Youth of the Month recipients read their essay on “Responsible Citizenship”. They will be eligible for the club’s Youth of the Year award, Exchange District award, and the National Exchange Club Youth of the Year award.  Over the past 20 years, the Exchange Club has presented monthly awards, and Scholarship awards to over 1,000 LHHS students.

Police & Firefighter of the Quarter


Picture–Community Services Director, Chuck Curtiss; Chief Bret Stidham; Captain Todd Wilson; Senior Corporal RobertoBlanco; and Sergeant John Rigney

The Exchange Club of Lake Highlands presented its Quarterly Police and Fire Rescue Department awards at its meeting on March 25th. The Fire Rescue Award was presented to Captain Todd Wilson by club Community Service Director Chuck Curtiss and Chief Bret

Stidham. Captain Wilson has worked for the department for 29 years, much of it with Station 57 on Audelia Road He is well known for his ability at large emergency events.  He also serves as a mentor to the younger members of his station and prepares them for promotion to higher positions.

The police department award was made to Senior Corporal Roberto Blanco of the Northeast Substation and he was presented by Sergeant John Rigney.  Corporal Blanco is a graduate of Southwestern University in Georgetown and has been with Dallas Police Department since 1992.  He has served in special units that were created to eliminate prostitution activities and to identify and arrest sex offenders.  He is held in high regard by his fellow officers and the staff at the Northeast Substation.

New Member Welcome

John Howell Nicholson and his wife Shannon live on Club Meadows Drive. John is from Dallas and attended Jesuit High School.  He attended Boston College and has a master of accounting from TCU.  He works as a manger in the tax division for Price Waterhouse Coopers.  He enjoys gold, baseball, running/biking and loves to attend Dallas sporting events.  He is sponsored by Mark Holmes.

Daniel “Scott” Booth and his wife Ginny live on Winding Ridge.  He is an owner and photographer for Lone Star Photography.  He attended Lake Highlands High School and Texas A&M University. He loves to tr+avel and is interested in helping out with publicity for the club.  He is sponsored by Jeff Jacobie and Jon Deats.

Family Compass/Child Abuse Prevention

April 1, 2016, the Exchange Club of Lake Highlands heard a presentation by the Family Compass Child Abuse Prevention Center. Child abuse prevention has been an ongoing project by the National Exchange Clubs organization for a number of years. In 1992, club member Gerald Deats,along with several other area Exchange club members founded the Dallas Child Abuse Prevention Center. The organization grew and several years ago, its name was changed to Family Compass. It now has a staff of 23 and is located on Junius Street. It also has an office in Plano. It is a service for children at risk to becoming victims of abuse and neglect. By reaching out to families that have been identified as possible “at risk” households, the center focuses on education and help to prevent abuse from occurring.

The club heard from club member Ward Beaudry, who has been associated with the organization since its inception and currently serves on its Board as Secretary. He introduced Executive Director Ona Foster, Sheryldine Samuel, Director of Community Education, and George Holden, PhD, Board President. They  told about the organization and its work in Dallas and Collin Counties. Our club continues to provide a large financial contribution to Family Compass each year. Club member Jon Deats also serves on the center’s board and Gerald Deats is an advisory director. More information can be found at April is Child Abuse Awareness Month.


family compass

Picture–l to r–Ward Beaudry, Ona Foster, Sheryldine Samuel and George Holden

Principals’ Presentation

Picture--l to r-- Steve White; Mechelle Smith-Asst Principal -Akin Elementary; Bob Johnston; Kim Sullivan- Lake Highlands Elementary; Lariza Liner-Forest Lane Academy; Ingrid Dodd-Skyview Elementary; Allison Kane - Akin Elementary; Michael Thomas-Asst Principal- Akin Elementary; Greg Duval Not present--Lee Walker- White Rock Elementary

Picture–l to r– Steve White; Mechelle Smith-Asst Principal -Akin Elementary; Bob Johnston; Kim Sullivan- Lake Highlands Elementary; Lariza Liner-Forest Lane Academy; Ingrid Dodd-Skyview Elementary; Allison Kane – Akin Elementary; Michael Thomas-Asst Principal- Akin Elementary; Greg Duval Not present–Lee Walker- White Rock Elementary

The Exchange Club meeting on March 18 featured presentations by the principals of five Lake Highlands area elementary schools. In past years, the club has assisted area elementary schools with cash contributions, school supplies, playground equipment, clothing, etc. Last year, the club created a new position–Director of School Relations. Sherman Burns currently fills that position and it’s purpose is to provide a liaison between the club and Lake Highands schools. This will enable the club to have a better idea of how we can be of assistance. Steve White introduced the attending principals and each gave a short talk about their schools, school needs and how we can help. The speakers were–Kim Sullivan, Lake Highlands Elementary; Lariza Liner, Forest Lane Academy; Ingrid Dodd, Skyview Elementary; Allison Kane, Akin Elementary; and Lee Walker, White Rock Elementary.