Sequim High School has several clubs with many goals, but their Interact Club is the one focused on teaching students about making a difference in their community — and if the awards they’re winning for their work are any indication, they’re doing a good job.
“The club’s motto is ‘Service Above Self,’ and these kids really take that to heart,” SHS teacher Chelsea Reichner, the Interact Club’s advisor, said.
“They work so hard to help the community and make an impact that reaches well beyond Sequim, and they’re being recognized for it.”
In April, SHS senior and Interact Club president Sean Weber was recognized by the Why Not You Foundation with their youth leadership award for his work with the club this past year. Why Not You was founded by Russell and Ciara Wilson to help promote youth leadership and community service, and both Weber and the Interact Club as a whole deserve the plaudits such an award brings.
Weber and the Interact Club have been busy this school year, leading their now-annual involvement in the Walk for Water cause to help raise money to build water cisterns in Kenya in conjunction with the Path From Poverty non-profit organization in Seattle. This was their third year doing the Walk For Water – a 6-kilometer walk carrying water in emulation of of the walks that many women in Africa have to do to get drinking water every day – helping them raise thousands of dollars so far for their cause.
The club won the Impact Award given out by Path From Poverty for their efforts.
Under Weber’s leadership, Interact Club added another major fundraiser to their impressive list of projects: a 24-hour solar cyclathon.
Aimed at raising money for LuminAid solar lanterns to be bought for the Shelter Box disaster relief charity, the cyclathon had students spend a full day taking turns cycling in place in front of the Sequim city hall to show how easily electricity can be cleanly generated, raising money via sponsorships and from donations throughout the 24 hour event.
Colleen Robinson, the Rotary Club’s adviser to Interact Club, is extremely proud of what the students have accomplished.
“These students have done so much to help in this community, and to bring attention to much wider issues as well,” Robinson said. “They do more and more every year, and they inspire more of their peers every year, too.”
Robinson noted that in the three years she’s been working with Interact Club, their numbers have more than doubled, swelling from 20 members to the 42 involved now.
Robinson and Reichner said that in addition to their major projects, Interact Club help out in a number of other ways in the community. They’re regulars at volunteering to help with various projects for Habitat for Humanity – Robinson is also the executive director of the Clallam County branch of Habitat for Humanity – and have played a big role in their annual Rally in the Alley events for the last three years.
They’ve also featured heavily in projects ranging from Sequim Service Day to Beautiful Day to simpler things like helping spread the word on plans and scheduling on the Fir Street construction project.
Now with his term as club president wearing down, Weber wants his successor to keep pushing things forward.
“For how well the community and club members both responded so well to our projects,” Weber said, “both continuing the Walk for Water and adding another major event (the solar cyclathon) and how engaged everyone got in what we did … it’s really something to be proud of.
“I hope all of the future Interact Club members and leaders remember that they can make an impact with almost everything they do.”