Rotary Celebrates Young Authors, Entrepreneurs and Diversity

Somers High School senior Mary Murphy reads her published poem, “Matthew,” at the “On My Mind 2017” book launch. Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Marc Guberti, a 19-year-old digital marketing expert, blogger and author, shares publishing tips with his fellow authors. Credits: Gabrielle Bilik

SOMERS, N.Y. – The celebrated authors and keynote speakers who gathered in the auditorium of Kennedy Catholic High School for the annual “On My Mind” book launch successfully published a written piece of work before ever leaving high school.

For the 12th year in a row, the Northeast Westchester (NEW) Rotary Club published its student-penned publication, which features original works from area schools. With the highest participation to date, the “On My Mind 2017” edition holds more than 200 pieces written by students from 15 suburban and inner-city schools in New York and Connecticut.

The tradition was started by Rotary members Martin Ashley and Stan Herz-Pearlman 12 years ago to encourage young authors and bring diverse groups of students together. That first year, there were just four schools that participated. Now the publication welcomes more each year. As the well of student voices grows more diverse, the emphasis on unity is more pronounced, and that theme resonated from the pages of the book to the words of many of the speakers at the event.

Sign Up for E-News

At the completion of the project, the students come together for a pizza party. At the May 17 launch, the pizza party preluded a presentation that included a few words from several Rotary members, a presentation by keynote speakers Michael and Marc Guberti, and readings by some of the student authors.

Mary Murphy, a senior at Somers High School, read her poem, “Matthew.”

“It is a list poem and it was inspired by another list poem I found online, and I fell in love with it,” she said. “I loved how each line was its own independent thought, but it was one cohesive piece.”

She and other students worked with John Murphy, a teacher at Somers High School, to submit pieces from the year they were most proud of. Submissions included short stories, essays, poems, and other creative writings. Though each contribution was unique, similarities emerged and works with a common theme were placed into chapters such as “Growing Up” and “Appreciation.”

In addition to authoring several published e-books before the age of 20, brothers and keynote speakers, Michael and Marc Guberti, have taught 43,000 students online in the fields of confidence, high performance, business growth and personal fulfillment.

The two taught their first business seminar by the ages of 16 and 17. What started as a hobby-based baseball blog eventually grew an audience and became profitable, they said. The brothers decided to build on that experience and use what they had learned in the field of social media to educate others. Now, at 20 and 19, they are successful social media strategists, and are enrolled in Fordham University—while teaching there.

The duo hosts a four-day event at Fordham University designed to help underprivileged youth to succeed. Last year, the New York Knicks came on board and now collaborates with them to host the event. Other philanthropic efforts include equipping veterans, single mothers and students with the tools they might need to succeed in a modern world. At the book launch, they extended the opportunity for the “On My Mind” students to join the event for about a quarter of the typical cost.

The brothers said the opportunity to give back has been the driving force behind their careers. It’s something, they said, was instilled in them by their parents

“Even before we achieved success they said, ‘no matter how much you prosper, give back,’” Michael Guberti said.

John Katzenstein, president of the Northeast Westchester Rotary Foundation, congratulated the authors and thanked the event’s young people for being an inspiration.

“In this past political year full of harshness, hate, lack of respect and civility, you have shown us that our future should be brighter,” he said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Sammy Has Crossed Rainbow Bridge

“Just this side of Heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.”



Fifteen years ago, son George adopted six-week-old kittens he named Sammy and Roxy. Sadly, Sammy recently became ill and George had to make the decision most pet owners dread at some point: ease his ...

Calling All Pitchers and Catchers

In early February, from somewhere deep in Florida, near the principal’s office, a call comes out over the PA system: “Pitchers and catchers please report as soon as possible!” And from all over the land, they drop what they’re doing and head to the Sunshine State, the only people under 50 to arrive in large numbers without their grandparents first complaining that they ...

The March Wind Doth Blow

Thanks to New York State Electric & Gas and Mother Nature, I spent last week in New Jersey at my daughter Lisa’s home. Her sister and brother-in-law, Ilene and Curtis, drove me there on Saturday, then went back to Somers on Sunday, March 4.

Although I dislike talking about my health, the main reason I was in New Jersey is because I sometimes use oxygen and the machine needs ...

It's Good to Cheat!

OK, you know that I am working on losing 10 pounds before summer vacation and every weekend I cheat on my diet. I felt a little guilty about that and invariably yelled at myself every Sunday night. I found out that this is not unusual and may actually help us wannabe skinnies stay on our program in the long run. 

Two trusted authorities told me that it’s actually GOOD to cheat! A ...

Reading Across America With Dr. Seuss

Dear Dr. Linda,

I’m a school librarian and I wanted to remind your readers that March 2 was “Read Across America Day.”  Teachers, librarians and others who read with children encourage schools, libraries and parents to celebrate this day with their children. This special date was chosen because it is the birthday of Dr. Seuss, the adored children’s author. That ...

To Harrison, L'Chaim!

At long last, the smile of spring approaches, as an angry winter recedes into good riddance. Our spirit is ready to be re-charged. Damn the power outages, full speed ahead!

For my wife, Elyse, daughter, Elissa, and me, this otherwise exuberant time of year brings a confusion of mixed emotions. In 2003, on the opening day of spring, March 20, which happens to be my birthday, our 15-year-old son ...

When It's Not OK to Ask If Everything's OK

There is this thing that I do that annoys the heck out of my family. Well, to be honest, there are a lot of things I do that annoy the heck out of my family, but I am thinking of one thing in particular.

Whenever someone is in the bathroom for what I determine to be an abnormally long period of time, I stand outside the bathroom door and yell,


I ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, March 23, 8:00 PM

OAC Steamer Co. Firehouse, Ossining

2018 Living Art Event

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, March 24, 10:00 AM

Jefferson Valley Mall , Yorktown Heights

Yorktown Indoor Farmers Market

Food & Drink Health & Wellness

Sun, March 25

First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown, Yorktown Heights

Holy Week at First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown

Religions And Spirituality

Accounting for Illegal Immigrants

March 7, 2018

To the editor,

The latest report from FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) is a detailed analysis of federal, state and local programs that are available to the nation’s illegals (12.5 million) and their U.S. born children (4.2 million) or accessed via fraud. The total cost to the nation’s taxpayers: $135 billion.

What we pay for: As a result of a 1982 Supreme Court ...

Paint Along with the Painted Ladies!

March 9, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: “Paint Along with the Painted Ladies” at The Palmer in Cuba, NY.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Theater Manager Michele Conklin at (585) 209-5512.

On Tuesday, March 20th at 6:00-8:00 PM come and “Paint Along with the Painted Ladies”!  Cost for the class includes Supplies to complete a Painting.  Beer, Wine, ...

Lacking Leadership, Town Struggles Through Another Series of Outages

March 14, 2018

I just gained power today, and because we have a whole house generator I was able to offer showers to residents of Heritage Hills. What got to me is that for them to seek showers at this time in their lives is terrible. Even more so because much of this could have been prevented, or at the very least, reduced in impact.

We can blame the utilities for a double whammy here, increased rates and ...