The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Feb. 26, 2024

Vantage Interact Club inducts members

Van Wert independent/Interact Club information

Vantage Career Center has had an organized Interact Club for approximately nine years. An Interact Club is a high school Rotary Club. The motto of Rotary is “service above self”. Vantage staff members also believe that community service is a vital concept in which every student should participate.

An Interact Club must have an International project, and the Vantage Interact Club project is a carpentry class in Bordes, Haiti. The local club has created, supported and maintained this program and graduated four classes. Club members could give the Haitians a fish and feed them for a day, or teach them to fish and feed themselves for a lifetime. The Haitian people are very proud and hardworking and would prefer to work to support their families, instead of relying on aid and charity.

Van Wert Rotary Club members (back row, from the left) Eric Hurless, Staci Kaufman, Gary Taylor, Donna Grimm, BarB Thompson, Pete Prichard, and Deb Russell present a donation to Vantage Interact Club officers Caleb Lawrence (Wayne Trace), Jasmine Price (Antwerp), MacKenzie Hanenkratt (Paulding) and club advisor Peg Bollenbacher. (photo submitted)

Upon graduation, each of the Haitian students receives a diploma and about $300-$400 in hand tools. Not only is it important to teach them a skill but to also give them the tools to perform the skills. Many Vantage students have made the trip to Haiti for the purpose of a cultural exchange and to see firsthand how their actions are serving people’s needs.

In non-graduation years, the Interact Club will continue to fundraise to aid in local, state and national projects. The Vantage community has donated tens of thousands of dollars to these projects and Van Wert, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam and Allen county residents have been recipients of those donations. The Interact Club recognizes that there are needs within its own communities and tries to respond as much as it can.

The Van Wert Rotary Club gives the Interact Club financial and generational support. The adult Rotary members provide Interact members with adult guidance and support by attending club meetings. This relationship is unique and challenging.

The students thrive on the adult guidance and support. The adults thrive on the energy and enthusiasm of the students. It has proved to be a perfect match.

On November 3, 93 students were inducted into the Interact Club. The Vantage Interact Club is the largest such club in Ohio and the second largest in the United States. This is quite an accomplishment for a small rural career center. Vantage students have proven that nothing is impossible and pursue their projects with determination and pride.

The annual Interact Club Carnival was held on Monday, November 21, and an additional $900 was raised through games, activities and events.

Peg Bollenbacher, faculty advisor to the Interact Club, has watched this project progress from its infancy to a fully functional organization. She has learned from the students’ involvement to never underestimate the power of a young person’s mind and heart, because they truly do care about their future and the welfare of their own communities.

To the alumni of the Interact Club, thank you for building this Club and its projects and know that the hard work continues. Club members thank members of the Vantage communities for supporting the school and its levies for continued improvement. With the Interact Club projects, club members believe they can give back to communities that have given so much to them.

“We cannot express our appreciation enough to the Van Wert Rotary Club for all the support and cooperation that they have given to our organization,” Bollenbacher said.

POSTED: 11/30/11 at 7:07 am. FILED UNDER: News