Members of the East Wake High School Interact Club have a new appreciation for the word citation – a term that doesn’t always denote referencing sources for an essay.
The club recently received a Presidential Citation issued by K.R. Ravindran, the president of Rotary International. The recognition is bestowed upon Rotary, Rotaract clubs and Interact clubs that meet prescribed goals like building Rotary awareness in a community, growing club membership, and establishing ongoing service projects.
East Wake’s Interact club has grown considerably – to 27 members – since senior and two-year club president Emily Pitt Whitfield joined Interact as a freshman. It has also been particularly active this year.
“It’s really gratifying to me and the rest of the club to see this accomplished this year and see we are stepping forward and being active with the club,” Whitfield said. “We’ve done a lot of service projects this year and it has kept us pretty busy, but I’d rather us be busy and progressing than just having meetings to say we’re in a club. Clubs don’t mean a lot if you’re not doing anything with them.”
Interact, a branch of the Rotary civic organization, pairs fun with service projects for students. It retains Rotary’s “Service Above Self” motto, one the East Wake club has lived up to.
Members of the group partnered with Wendell Rotarians to collect and deliver Thanksgiving dinners to four families in November and collect donations for the Salvation Army at the Knightdale Walmart in December. They also participated in Operation Christmas Child in December.
In February, they took part in a career fair that featured more than 40 businesses at the school. For a school project, club members were involved during the recent Teacher Appreciation Week, and they participated in a children’s carnival at East Wake on Friday.
“Interact club is a valuable resource and great opportunity for students to give unselfishly to people in their community and internationally,” said East Wake Interact advisor Katie Coble, who is also the school’s career development coordinator. “Altruism really shines. (The students) are thinking of others first and their needs, and that is a theme of Interact.”
Ultimately, the club met the minimum of five of eight optional activities needed to qualify for the citation. East Wake’s unit joins Clayton, Fuquay-Varina, Harnett Central and Orange high schools, N.C. School of Science and Math, and Roxboro Community School on the list of Interact clubs in the local Rotary district that earned the distinction this year.
Whitfield said it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Wendell and Zebulon Rotary Clubs, and the advisors and administration at East Wake.
Coble hopes the club can continue to earn the citation in future years, and doesn’t see that being an issue as the club seeks to expand its involvement.
“I’m looking forward to it growing – that’s what is going to be exciting about next year,” she said. “With increased participation from students, the club can only grow.”