NEWPORT, VT – The Newport Rotary Club celebrated a “dream come true” moment with the installation of the new Northeast Kingdom Rotary Interact Club at a recent celebration and “pinning” event held at the Eastside Restaurant in Newport. Rotary Interact promotes community involvement and international awareness among young people, providing opportunities to make a difference in their community and the world. The event celebrated the charter of the new club and induction of the nearly 45 high school student members.
In her inauguration address, Interact President Sophie Congdon shared that her motivation to create Interact resulted from discussions she had with members of other service clubs at schools throughout the state. “I thought how rewarding it must be to be a part of something so beneficial,” Congdon said.
It is apparent that Congdon has been a driving force in the creation of the club as she shared the details of her efforts recruiting members and her enthusiasm for the club.
Congdon said, “I see support from so many generous adults willing to put their time and effort into progressing this group. Without the tremendous drive of Mrs. Norman, Ms. Poulin, and the members of Newport Rotary, especially Mr. Cartee, Rotary Interact would not be a possibility at North Country, so thank you for that! I can only imagine where we’ll go from here as our starting point has already exceeded expectations,” she concluded.
Rotary District Interact Chairman Jay Polimeno said, “Congratulations, you made it! You are not only the newest Interact Club, but as near as I can tell, you are the largest Rotary Interact Club.”
Polimeno also shared some of the positive experiences his daughter had as a member of Interact. “I can guarantee that if you commit the time and effort in its mission, Interact will be a rewarding and life changing experience not only for you, but also for someone you have impacted along the way."
Rotary District Governor Marilyn Bedell gave an enthusiastic set of challenges to the new club members. These challenges include working to develop lifelong friendships, growing and developing as leaders in the community, providing ongoing continuing education, becoming Citizens of the World, increasing cultural awareness, and finally, having fun. “Interact should be the place for your ideas to take root and succeed, and when they do succeed, don’t forget to stop and celebrate and take time to do a happy dance. I know I’m doing one today!” Bedell said.
The new club members were presented with their charter certificate, their Rotary Interact Club banner, a Rotary Four-Way Test banner, and a Rotary Club bell and gavel. Each member also received a Rotary Club lapel pin presented by advisors and North Country Union High School instructors Norman and Poulin and Rotarian and retired NCUHS instructor Marte Rhodes.
North Country Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Kern and North Country Union High School Principal Bill Rivard both added praise to Newport Rotary and the students of the Interact Club and noted the great opportunities for the students and the community.
Rotary Interact was a goal that Newport Rotary President Doug Spates brought to the club as a result of a Rotary retreat he participated in when he became president.
“We have a number of retired teachers in Newport Rotary so it was a wonderful opportunity for this project,” Spates said.
Rotary committee member Roger Cartee noted that efforts will now be made to encourage students from the other two area high schools, Lake Region Union High School and United Christian Academy, to also participate in the club activities and community projects.
Northeast Kingdom Rotary Interact has already completed two major fundraisers for the community, including a benefit for the Pope Memorial Frontier Animal Society.