Easton High School Interact Club taking strides
EASTON — Members of the Interact Club at Easton High School are working hard to earn their first official Rotary citation.
The club revolves around local projects, aiming to positively impact those in the community and beyond. Efforts are focused mainly on showing compassion for others, and fighting hunger, disease and poverty.
Interact Club members recently made it a point to increase communication with the Easton Rotary Club.
“In the last few years that I’ve been active with Interact, I’ve seen the club produce excellent leaders who are interested in making a difference in our community along with two supportive faculty members, Jeremy Hillyard and Heather Andrews,” Easton Rotary President Richie Wheatley said.
Hillyard, who works in the EHS Foreign Language Department, said he has a big heart for service and was in Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity, while at Susquehanna University.
“The current club officers are definitely stepping up and increasing their leadership to become a self-sustained club,” he said.
Andrews, an EHS EOSL teacher, said she loves the
enthusiasm the club’s members bring.
“To have a project, work on it, complete it and present it and see how it affects others, I think that’s key to this club and what makes it so important,” Andrews said.
EHS senior and Interact Club President Minahil Cheema had the club’s best interests in mind upon her election from her prior position as vice president.
“Obtaining a Rotary citation for the Interact club was one of President Minahil Cheema’s main goals when she became president,”
Wheatley said. “This clearly shows her commitment that when students unite and take action to accomplish certain goals it can produce a lasting impression on their school, community and most importantly themselves.”
“It will help them in becoming role models to their peers,” he said.
The closer relationship between both clubs resulted in Interact co-sponsoring the Rise Against Hunger event on Jan. 27 in the Waterfowl Festival building. Through the help of many volunteers, over 10,000 meals were
packaged in 90 minutes.
Rise Against Hunger is a hunger-relief organization founded in 1998. Through the meal-packaging program, it serves 74 countries around the world.
The meals are delivered mostly to foreign countries, although they have been delivered to provide disaster relief in the United States. They are offered free of charge to any child who wants them, but the catch is children have to come to school to get them.
The Rise Against Hunger event is EHS Senior and Interact Club Vice President Katie Allen’s favorite.
“I always come away from that day just thinking of the difference that all of us made,” Allen said.
The Interact Club aims for one project a month, and other efforts have included the Pink Angel project, which spreads breast cancer awareness. The club also assembles and hand-delivers care bags to the local cancer center.
Club members also are engaged, after an interviewing process, with the Rotar y Youth Leadership Awards. In 2017, 13 students from EHS won first place for designing a community service project called “Camp LIV.”
The project would promote mental illness awareness and was inspired after the loss of Christopher Bradley, an EHS football player whose team number was 54. Bradley died in April 2017 when his car collided head-on with a tree.
Additional projects include working with Acme to package turkeys, making Easter baskets for families and the Smile Project.
Elaborating on the latter, EHS junior and Interact Public Relations Officer Lilly Roser said students of varying EHS English classes are assigned to write inspiring quotes on notecards. All the cards were glued together on a large piece of paper and displayed in one of the school’s hallways.
Roser said the Smile Project is an example of how the club reaches out to others and shows compassion.
Finally, the club works to instill leadership skills in all of its members.
EHS junior and Interact Club Secretary Maryam Khalid said she once was apprehensive about public speaking, but thanks to Interact, her position as secretary is helping her push past it.
“I really want others who fear public speaking to overcome it through Interact and leadership positions,” Khalid said.
“We want to make sure everyone is a leader because leaders create leaders, leaders don’t create followers,” Cheema said.
With Cheema having attended RYLA, and Allen’s past involvement with a similar group, Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership, the officers said they feel qualified to expand their gathered leadership skills onto others.
In the future, the club hopes to extend its community service to caring for animals, too.
Interact Club members hand-deliver care packages to patients at the Cancer Center in Easton.
Easton High School’s Interact supports the Easton Rotary at the Rise Against Hunger Event.
Faculty member Jeremy Hillyard poses alongside Easton High School Interact board and club members.
Pink Angels the Easton High School Interact Club made for its Pink Angels Project.