Gateway: Living

Midday Rotary, Henderson Bay High join forces for Interact Club

HBHS Interact Club President Justin Johnson displays the $413.30 sign, signifying the club’s contribution to Charity Waters’ project. Patricia Scott and students Melissa Ellis, Shania Fry and Hailey Hazen, from left, were also involved in the project.
HBHS Interact Club President Justin Johnson displays the $413.30 sign, signifying the club’s contribution to Charity Waters’ project. Patricia Scott and students Melissa Ellis, Shania Fry and Hailey Hazen, from left, were also involved in the project. Special to the Gateway

At Friday’s Communities In Schools of Peninsula Welcome Back get-together with Peninsula School District principals and administrators, CISP’s Henderson Bay High site coordinator Robin Malich asked me, “Whatever happened to the HBHS Rotarian Interact Club story for which you took photos?”

Oops!

It got submerged in my email tsunami … but here it is.

It was a beautiful spring day when my camera and I honed in on my HBHS target. The kids were gathered at the school’s entrance basking in the up-til-then-infrequently-seen sun.

I was informed that CISP and Gig Harbor Midday Rotary Club have worked together to develop a mentoring project, an Interact Club, at HBHS and that Peninsula and Gig Harbor high schools already had the Rotary youth organizations.

“GH Midday Rotary sponsors Interact at Gig Harbor High School, almost next door to HBHS, so those students have been helpful in supporting this new club,” Malich said.

Midday Rotarians Bob Anderson and Patricia Scott worked with students and CISP’s Malich and HBHS staff member Peter Liljengren to start the club this past spring.

Its first project was providing cinnamon buns, coffee and hot dogs for people attending HBHS’s annual garage sale in June. The club made $413.30. The kids decided to give the money through Gig Harbor Gives to Charity Waters, which provides clean drinking water to developing nations.

“That way, they can see how their project contributes to the overall effort to provide clean water,” said Gig Harbor Gives’ Susan Bouterse.

Cheyenne Anderson, then an HBHS senior, said, “My family came to help with the food sale and garage sale.”

A big focus for CISP at Henderson Bay is to provide students service opportunities, Malich said.

“Our caring, compassionate students want to do their part to give back at both the local and global level,” she said. “Interact provides them the opportunity and skills to become future humanitarians and community leaders. It’s a win-win for all!”

Malich has been extremely impressed with the enthusiasm and energy the students have brought to the Rotary mission of “Service Above Self” — making a difference in the community.

“There are 15 members in the club, or about 10 percent of the student body,” she said. “We know we struck a chord.”

To HBHS Interact Club president, sophomore Justin Johnson, “Service can look like many different things, but to me it looks like putting someone else’s needs before your own. I hope to get all three schools together to work on a project that can make a big change, not only in our state but in our world.”

“I enjoy helping my school and community,” said sophomore Logan Richey. “Joining Interact has let me do that with friends. I want to change the way people look at our school; I want them to know we are a school that cares.”

I loved it when two of the guys answered my, “Are you glad school’s almost out” question with, “No, not really. You don’t understand how awesome this school is. It’s so great. We’re going to be so bored when school is out.”

What a testimony!

Hugh McMillan is a longtime freelance writer for the Gateway. He can be reached at hmcmnp1000@centurytel.net.

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