By Grace Borchert
On Wed., Jan. 28 Batavia High School’s Interact Club had their first annual recognition night. The night started with speeches by both Rotary Club leaders and Interact Club leaders. Rotary Club founded Interact Club. Rotary club was pleased with Batavia’s club,
“It showed Rotary Youth Service at its best,” said David Pedersen in the Rotary newsletter.
During this school year Batavia’s Interact Club has made more than 20,000 meals for the Northern Illinois Food Bank, packed bags of treats for children who had to spend Halloween in the hospital, and helped kids open their Christmas presents because their disabilities prevented them from doing so. Interact Club has at least one member volunteering every single day of the week. The first year Interact Club only had about 15 members but the club has grown each year. Each of the last four years, there have been more than 250 members, partially why Interact Club can volunteer so often.
Rotary Club wants the interactors to be able to strengthen their leadership and language skills so they recommended a program for Interact Club members to participate in. This program is a long weekend camp called Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, also known as RYLA. This is a leadership camp in Northern Wisconsin where four of Batavia’s members will attend and develop the leadership skills that help students get an important position in the Interact Club. This year the students who have important leadership roles in Batavia Interact Club are president Rebecca Kelly, vice president Denise Cartina, secretary Sydney Cavanaugh, treasurer Casey Gainer, membership chair Maddy Astling, partnership chair Taylor Cichon, and communication chair Sean Townsend.
Rotary Club also recommended two programs called the short-term program and the long-term program. These programs were recommended to help students develop communication and leadership skills. The short-term program lasts at least three weeks. In the program students communicate with someone overseas and then switch places with them and experience their culture, get a broader view of the world, and develop crucial communication skills. The long term program is the same except students would switch for a year. To be able to participate in the program students must be between the ages 15.5 and 18.5 and have an above average aptitude for learning another language.
As the night was ending different Interact Club members such as Miranda Rea and Claire Maloney shared their experiences. Rea shared about her time volunteering in Ghana and Maloney shared about helping with the Fox Valley Special Rec. activities. They both enjoyed the experiences and recommended them to the other members. After they spoke each Interact Club member was called up and received a certificate of membership and a pin. The night ended with a group photo which made it onto the rotary newsletter.