April 8, 2008
The Interact Club at East Canton (Ohio) High School grew from twenty students four years ago, and now includes 43 active members. That's a major part of the entire student body.
Kaitlyn Arick told Putnam Rotarians today that East Canton was a small school, with 4th grade through high school in the same building. There were 87 students in her graduating class.
The Club grew as a team and as a force for community improvement because of the many service projects they completed. Among these was a Habitat for Humanity building program, and acquisition of a seeing-eye dog for a handicapped person, she said. These efforts involved many hours of fund-raising -- running a soup kitchen, and hosting pancake breakfasts.
The East Canton group joined with other schools and student groups to raise over $10.000 in a single year for Rotary international projects.
Club members include freshmen through seniors, but the leadership of the upperclass students teaches the younger members the value of respect and teamwork.
"Like on the basketball court now," said Arick, "if you don't respect me, I'll try to show you why you should.
"We learned leadership, we learned to work rogether, we learned that to get it, you have to give it."
As team captain in a state basketball tournament, Arick was approached by UC's Coach Sherry Winn.
"I don't know how you do it," she said to Arick, "but you mnake the people around you seem so much better."
And the East Canton standout accepted a scholarship to play for the University of Charleston Lady Golden Eagles.
Interact students at East Canton were expected to keep a 3.5 grade point average.
"We considered the Interact Club a branch of the local Rotary Club," Arick said.
Once a month her Interact Club met with Rotary. "We got out of school to attend the Rotary breakfast club," she said.
Arick aims to be captain of the Lady Golden Eagles next season. But whatever happens, she will give it her best and be a leader for the team.
Putnam Rotary sponsors an Interact Club at Hurricane High School, and encourages student clubs in other schools.