Inaugural meeting of Interact Club brings Rotary ideals to PMHS


The inaugural meeting of the Pelham Memorial High School Interact club was held on Jan. 21, during which leaders of the student club and adult Rotary International officials met to discuss both the past year’s events, current club inductees and future plans.

Even though this was the formal inaugural, Interact, a youth branch of Rotary International, has already been providing community services, such as donating food supplies to Hope Pantry, meeting with community leaders and planting flowers in Wolfs Lane Park. Recently, the Interact club made holiday cards for the Wartburg nursing home, and the club is currently collecting school supplies for poverty-stricken children’s libraries and schools in the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Members are incentivized to participate in this club by receiving volunteer hours that go towards the amount of community service hours each high school student needs to graduate. Younger participants are encouraged to lead their own service efforts, like the currently running Million Mask Project, dedicated to providing masks to those who would otherwise not have access to them.

Interact Vice President Nevan Malwana said students can “develop lifelong leadership skills” through the club.

Interacct has not remained untouched by the effects of Covid-19, but it has adapted, holding a virtual Veterans Day speaker session with former Pelham Mayor Joe Durnin.

The inaugural ceremonies began with the ringing of the traditional Rotary Club bell, a welcoming action performed by Pelham Rotary Club President Hugh Maynard-Reid. The members then discussed their upcoming plans, including planting another 1,000 tulips in Wolfs Lane Park. Short speeches were made by different members of the community present, including Pelham Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ, PMHS Principal Mark Berkowitz and Maynard-Reid himself.

After the speeches, the members were officially welcomed into the Interact Club with certificates and a round of applause by those present on the Zoom meeting. Nearing the end, Interact President Jamie Burke rang the Interact Club’s bell, a symbol of the relationship between the Rotary Club of the Pelhams and Interact.

“Interact is a great way to give back to the community,” said Burke. “Especially considering the hardships (Covid-19) has brought upon our community and internationally, there is no better time than now to do our part to help out.”