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Aiken High Rotary Interact Club inducts new members

For Jasmine Kitchings, being a member of the Aiken High School Rotary Interact Club is her “bond” with the community.

Kitchings is one of more than 25 new members inducted into the club Thursday night. The students read the club's pledge and received their pins during a student-led ceremony for parents, siblings, faculty and guests in the school cafeteria.

“We're giving back to the community because our community is important. It's where we grow and nurture it so other generations can have the same beautiful community we grew up in,” said Kitchings, a junior and the club's co-secretary. “I love volunteer work, and I love organizing things. My mom is big on volunteering. It's kind of in the family, I guess.”

A service organization sponsored by Rotary International, Interact clubs “bring together young people ages 12-18 to develop leadership skills while discovering the power of Service Above Self,” according to the Rotary website.

President Brian Marra, a senior, said club members participate in a variety of volunteers projects both with the Rotary Club of Aiken and student-sponsored events at Aiken High.

“We participate in activities with the Rotary Club, such as the Walk for Alzheimer's and Help Cure Polio, and we also have some projects of our own that we sponsor, including Fatz breakfasts for Aiken High teachers, breakfasts for different organizations, picking up litter on the road by the school.”

Marra said the Interact Club is one of the biggest student clubs at Aiken High.

“We understand that people have busy schedules as high school students, whether they're studying or playing sports or doing other clubs,” he said. “We don't have any required service hours or any required activities. We keep the club big to allow people flexibility to make sure we always have enough members even if people can't come.”


Keynote speaker Betty Ryberg, a member of the Aiken Rotary Club, told the students they are the community's future.

“We look toward you because everybody in the community sees who we want to pass the baton to, and you are the people to whom we will pass that baton of volunteerism,” she said. “Volunteerism has an extraordinary effect on your lives, more even than the lives that you touch. You learn volunteer and philanthropic efforts from others. And now you are the others. You are tasked to be those leaders.”

Art Lader, who teaches German at Aiken, is the sponsor of the Aiken High School Rotary Interact Club.

“I'm grateful for this privilege and this beautiful opportunity to spend time with these wonderful young people,” he said. 

Read the full Aiken Standard article HERE

Article and Photo by Larry Wood/Aiken Standard