One of the multi-year dreams of the Rotary Club of Stoneham has been to start an Interact Club at Stoneham High School. That goal is now one step further to being realized after our information session at Stoneham High School on Thursday, January 8. President Amy Palmerino began the presentation, framing the evening and providing a history of Rotary, Interact and what Service Above Self means to those committed to our mission. Dave Gardner, Youth Services Chair, then spoke about the path that has been traveled to get to the information session and what he envisions in a successful club. There were over 20 students, ranging from freshmen to seniors who were there to find opportunities to provide community service and learn about the opportunities that Rotary's Youth Programs can provide.
Keith Harris, an Ipswich Rotarian, shared his experiences about his summer event, "Pedaling for a Purpose". The students listened intently as Keith told a few stories of his many incredible interactions with people he met along the way. He wove how his life-long dream into one which raised $42,000 for the Rotary Foundation and the many ways in which the Foundation funds both local and international projects.
We were very excited to have Tyler from North Reading Interact and three surprise visitors from Reading Interact, Hannah, Caitlin and Alex. Each shared their stories about either Interact or RYLA. Ranging from building leadership skills to the impact that providing community service had on them, it was clear that they not only loved the program, but provided compelling reasons for Stoneham to start a club. There were also three recent Stoneham students who attended RYLA last year, Saige, Sandra and Gabrielle who are excited that an Interact Club is now within reach. Another past RYLArian, Thomas, who has also served as a senior staffer and more recently, as a facilitator was there for support as well.
A survey will be sent to all Stoneham students in attendance to determine the best date and time in the next 2 or 3 weeks to determine if there is sufficient interest in starting a club, determine what projects the students would like to rally around, selecting an advisor and to begin the actual process of chartering the club. From the buzz in the room it appears that a dream has come true.
A special thank you to Stoneham High Principal, Mrs. Donna Cargill, Stoneham Rotarians Dennis O'Hara, Bruce Doyle, Su Mansur, Dick Mansur and our AG Peter Majane.