By Natalie Allen
Students roundup their binders and books, head to their lockers, and hurry to the MPR room for a monthly Interact Club meeting. They all sit at their tables and take in advice from New Albany Rotary Club members with full eyes and ears.
Interact club is a club that helps provide for the community with the help of Rotary members. They have guest speakers come to some of their monthly meetings and give advice and help them accomplish their goals
“The Rotary Club of New Albany sponsors the Floyd Central Interact Club. Interact is the high school club affiliated with Rotary International that abides by the motto ‘Service Above Self,’ said Rotary Club member Emily Stumler.
First Vice President of Interact club Christine Scharrer said Interact Club is a form of Rotary, which is just one local branch of many branches throughout the country.
“Occasionally we do have guest speakers at our meetings from different schools and branches. For example, our next meeting will have New Albany Rotary President Michael Sanders coming to speak with us,” said Scharrer.
These two clubs are very popular all over the world. Interact has almost 400,000 members in over 17,000 clubs. The local chapter includes former school board member Roger Whaley.
“There are high school clubs connected with Rotary all over the world. New Albany Rotary wanted to sponsor a group, and Floyd Central was chosen. Mrs. Poe’s daughter, Emily (an attorney), is a Rotarian. I just became a member after I retired in 2012. I taught choirs, handbells, general music and theatre at Floyd Central Junior High (1970-2004) and at Highland Hills (2004-2012). Several of the current members were my students. Mr. Whaley is also a Rotarian, so we have lots of personal ties to the school,” said Rotary Club member Susan Adams.
The Rotary Club organization has been around for a great deal of time and is being honored with a special anniversary this year.
“2015 we celebrate 100 years as a club and we are building an ADA compliant playground in New Albany to celebrate this milestone,” said Stumler.
Rotary Club has been involved in an immense amount of organizations to help the community in the past, such as Henryville Tornado Relief, Ronald McDonald House, “I Like Me” book distribution, Community Alliance to Promote Literacy, Boys & Girls Club of Kentuckiana, Children’s Academy of New Albany, The Carnegie Center, Clean Up New Albany, American Cancer Society, Angel Tree, and many more.
“I decided to join Rotary because I wanted to give back to my community, and pair with an organization that would help me meet that goal,” said Stumler.
The Rotary Club lives by one mission that affects people internationally, and they have become more successful with it over time.
“The main international mission is to eradicate polio from the world, and they have made great strides in getting vaccinations to developing nations,” said Stumler.
The Interact Club helps with the polio vaccinations as well, along with many other projects.
“The Interact Group at Floyd Central has participated in fundraising for worldwide polio eradication, helping to have enough vaccines that this muscular disease no longer exists on Earth. They raised enough for 850 vaccinations. Every bit helps. They also hosted an international tea that helped buy presents for the Angel Tree. Their final project will be raising money to purchase farm animals through Heifer International which sends them to places where they can help sustain a better economic life,” said Adams.
Secretary of Interact Club Aysha Omar said they have recently finished some projects relating to books.
“We recently finished our annual book drive for Read Across America Day and Dr. Suess’s birthday. We were able to collect used books from students and staff to donate to Greenville Elementary School,” said Omar.
The Rotary Club has meetings every week to discuss what is going on in the community and see how they can get involved.
“It is very rewarding to me to go to a weekly lunch meeting with leaders of the community in areas different from mine and be able to have discussions and goals in common about many interesting topics. Each week we learn about something happening or about to happen in the Louisville area and we have a chance to understand our world in a deeper way. Recent programs have been about the new soccer team in Louisville, the Senior PGA Golf Tournament, new businesses in town, and how people are helping others in distressed parts of the world,” said Adams.
Adams is an influential part of the Interact Club. She provides encouragement and help to the members so they are more able to provide for the community.
“Our Rotary advisor, Susan Adams, regularly attends our meetings to not only provide support, but also to make sure that we’re making progress as a club,” said Omar.
Omar also said the Rotary members are always more than willing to give the officers of Interact club advice on how to effectively lead the group.
“It can sometimes get a bit overwhelming when there’s a lot of people that want to participate, and so Ms. Adams and Mrs. Poe always try to help as best as they can. There have been several occasions where we didn’t think we would be able to accomplish certain tasks, and our advisors and other members of Rotary would come to us ready to help in any way that they could,” said Omar.