Posted on Dec 29, 2018
Whakatane High School Interact Club is the ‘Youth arm’ of Rotary, a service Club for young people between ages of 12 and 18.
Our Interact club is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Whakatane Sunrise, who provide support and guidance with our many activities.
Our Interact Club is chartered, meaning we are recognised as an official club by Rotary International.
Whakatane High School’s Interact Club welcomes any student of Whakatane High School that is interested in making a change in their school and their community. 
We have three committees: school, community and international, which focus on their different areas, and have a board made up of senior student members of the club that meet every Monday to discuss leadership for the club and potential activities, who then present these ideas to the rest of the club on our annual Thursday lunchtime meetings. 
This year's board members consisted of Kevin Paulson, Nicholas Jones, Jean-daniel Rosset, Stefan Stoove, Sophie Butler ( Club Secretary), Elisa Gates (Club Secretary), Emily Julian (Club Treasurer) and Anna Manning (Club President). We aim for our club to be sustainable, provide opportunities for personal growth and leadership, develop relationships with community and local organisations, and encourage participation and involvement.  
Throughout the year every second Thursday meeting featured a guest speaker, who is a leader within the community or another significant guest. Some of the Speakers we had this year were Craig Julian, Nick Christie, Amy from Moxi, Head Boy Mitchell White, and Head Girl, Caroline Paulsen, among the many speakers. This year the club participated in and held many events throughout our community and school. One of our major fundraisers was The Pink Ribbon Breakfast which we sold tickets for $20 each to members of the community providing them with a lovely cooked breakfast made by Louise Paulsen and Interact Club members. All proceeds from this event were donated to the Breast Cancer Foundation, altogether we raised $803 dollars and 93 cents. 
Some of the other many activities that the Whakatane High School Interact Club assisted with this year were: waitressing at Sunshine on a Plate, provided food and helped out at the annual Rotary Whakatane Sunrise Garden Ramble, face painted kids at Art in the Park at Sullivan Lake, waitressing at the Eastern Bay of Plenty Horizon Energy Business Awards, where Sophie Butler presented awards to many local business recipients , planted trees on Earth Day for the love of our environment and Rotary Whakatane Sunrise, assisted with Bra-afternoon Tea for Breast Cancer, hosted our own Movie night at our local Cinema raising money for Starship Hospital and Whakatane Hospital to buy pyjamas for the sick children, sold baking at the Jennian Homes Mothers Day Fun Run, fundraised by washing cars alongside Rotary Whakatane Sunrise Club’s sausage sizzles to buy shelter boxes for people who live in third world countries when a disaster occurs, and made and baked 10,000 cookies, raising money for our club in order to donate money to many of the athletes at our school who need financial assistance for competitions/tournaments representing New Zealand in other countries.
Some of the students we have donated money to this year were Hayley Mackey, Elisa Gates, Shardae Last and teacher Mr Nic Christie. This year was the opening of last years president Shanell Ward’s project of the waterproof shade sail that is standing currently around the canteen area of the school. This was a great use of last years funds as students use this during lunch times and when it’s raining as it is waterproof. Shanell was proud to be named the winner of the 2018 Trustpower Youth Spirit Awardee in the Trustpower Community Awards. The WHS Interact Club was one of four finalists in these prestigious awards, thanks to Anna Manning and Sophie Butler who have continued to run the club so efficiently. Thanks to teacher Linda Bonne for her guidance and the amazing support of the Whakatane High School Interact Club, it is very much appreciated as there wouldn't be such a successful Interact Club without her.  
By Emily Julian