More than 100 people gathered at the Harker Heights High School auditorium Oct. 2 for the inauguration ceremony of the first Interact Club and to induct its first slate of officers and student members.
Interact is a service-based club, sponsored by the Rotary Club, for ages 12 to 18 who want to tackle issues in the community they care most about. The club’s name, Interact, is a combination of the words “international” and “action.” It has more than 250,000 members in more than 11,000 clubs worldwide, according to Rotary International.
The newly selected officers for the HHHS Interact Club are: Jessica Babb, president; Jeremy Candelas, vice president; Julia Smith, secretary; and Logan Melvin, treasurer. Katie Arey and Madison Helton are directors.
John Johnson is the club’s Rotarian adviser and Stacy Stool is the club’s faculty adviser.
The officers and members received certificates, ID cards and pins. The club also received a banner of the Rotary Four Way Test and a banner marking the official establishment of the HHHS Interact Club.
“It’s great for high school kids to do service and be a part of the community,” Rotary Club President Jennifer McCann said. “I’m inspired by seeing how excited they are and will tell you that it’s kids like this that make our membership smile in some form or fashion.”
Rich Kaye, governor of Rotary International District 5870, said the Harker Heights Rotary Club is now one of only two clubs in the district who sponsor Interact Clubs in their communities. The other Rotary Club is in Georgetown.
“It’s been so refreshing to work with kids who are so positive and don’t hesitate to get out and serve others,” Johnson said.
The development of Interact at HHHS began after the Harker Heights Rotary Club sponsored Babb to attend a camp this past summer where she learned about Rotary International and the Interact Club.
“I really fell in love with the club and wanted to bring it back to HHHS,” she said. “It will definitely be worth the time and effort.”
Her personal goal for Interact goes along with the Rotary Club’s motto “service over self.”
“Making an impact on peoples lives is my main purpose,” Babb added. “We’ve already begun service projects such as work at Rosewood and are planning many more as the club begins to develop its identity.”
Jeremy Candelas, club vice president, said the group has already had its first meeting and brainstormed projects such as sponsoring an orphanage overseas.
Heights Rotary Club will support the Interact Club by inviting representatives to report on their activities, helping them develop strategies to recruit and retain members, establishing a recognition program to acknowledge achievements, and asking the club officers to meet with the district governor.
“To see these students take on civic obligations like this and be involved in service at this point in their lives makes me proud,” Rotarian Phil Haggerty said.