Huntington High School’s Interact Club has never been known to sit on its collective hands when there is work to do and when club members spot an opportunity to make the world a better place.
The teenagers recently visited Jefferson Primary School and the two groups of Huntington students worked together on a joint project. “The Interact Club is always working to help others,” said Camille Tedeschi, the organization’s faculty advisor and a longtime social studies at the high school. “Our guiding principle is ‘Service Above Self’ and this year’s initiatives are no different. The students are eager to change the world and that starts locally.
Huntington High School social studies teacher Camille Tedeschi is the Interact Club's faculty advisor.
A Rotary International program for teenagers, Interact strives to carry out hands-on projects and offers members a chance to make international connections, develop leadership skills and have fun while making a positive difference in the world.
Natalie McCann is this year’s president with Noah Morris occupying the position of vice president. Mia Nitekman is the treasurer with Katie Stock serving as corresponding secretary and Phoebe Walther carrying out recording secretary duties. Katie Riley is the historian and Haley Mortell is the organization’s public relations coordinator. Jackson Pitti and Christiana DeLuca are administrative assistants.
Interact Club members recently worked with Jefferson School’s student leadership team. The high school teenagers discussed what it means to be a leader and why it’s so important to be kind to others. The two groups of students then went to work on making rafiki bracelets that will be sold to help hurricane victims.
“The rafiki bracelets came to us from a trip to Tanzania and now they are our focus on a variety of projects,” Ms. Tedeschi said. “Rafiki means friend in Swahili so we make them and share them with as many people as we can to promote positive connections, including the concepts of kindness and friendship.”
Amanda LoScalzo a member of Huntington’s Class of 2017 who is in the midst of her sophomore year at Gettysburg College helped resurrect the long dormant high school club three years ago and it quickly took off with an energetic group of teenagers working with Ms. Tedeschi on some ambitious projects.
Traveling to Jefferson School and joining forces on a joint project was simply magical. “Working as a community changes people’s lives in ways that cannot always be seen,” Ms. Tedeschi said. “Just sitting and talking and working with these young people could be a memory they will never forget. I am always impressed by my students and their drive to interact with people locally and globally.”
Huntington’s Interact Club is well on its way to another successful year. “Recently we received a generous donation from the Rotary Club of Huntington and it didn’t take long for the students to vote on ways to use that money to help our community and the world,” Ms. Tedeschi said. “Some of the projects will include adopting a gorilla, creating water projects in Tanzania, adopting a local family, collecting food for local food banks and creating birthday boxes for local kids.”
Huntington’s Interact Club is open to any student in the building. There are more than 12,300 Interact chapters in 133 countries. Supported by the local Rotary Club, the high school chapter’s goal is to carry out at least two service projects a year, one local and the other aiding an international organization providing assistance to those in need.
“We are looking forward to working with the leadership team at Washington Primary School in January,” Ms. Tedeschi said. “We will also be working with the Rotary on a new project to help design a new logo for them.”
Contact Ms. Tedeschi (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information about the Huntington High School Interact Club chapter.