Linden, VA—It was a busy morning for Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA) Middle School Students and the Linden Rotary Club, of Linden, Virginia, as the school was formally inducted as an Interact Club during the Rotary Club’s weekly meeting on November 16, 2011.
The concept of an Interact Club at the middle school level is relatively new; it was only in 2010 that the age requirement was lowered from 14 to 12, allowing middle schools to apply for charters (see related Rotary International news release).
The Inaugural R-MA Middle School Interact Club began this fall. The purpose of the club is to instill a mentality of "Service above Self" within the students, their student body and their community. The students meet once a week to talk about different ways of helping their local, national and international community.
Faculty Advisor and RMA Student Life Director Michael S. Williams said, “Already this year, the club has raised $300 to help a struggling family in Hatteras Island, North Carolina that was wiped out by Hurricane Irene, sending gift cards from Wal-Mart, Food Lion and Visa Gift Cards to help them begin to re-build their lives. Weekly, our Interact club sponsors a ‘Chess Club’ at our local public E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School, where R-MA Middle School Chess players go each Monday for 45 minutes to help third through fifth grade students learn to play chess, building coping, stress management, logic, advanced planning and conflict resolution skills.”
Williams said that future projects already discussed are assisting with “Operation Blue Christmas” in which Front Royal Police and other uniformed officers take local underprivileged children Christmas shopping, a winter coat drive for the Salvation Army, an annual “Penny War” to raise money towards Rotary Internationals Worldwide “Rotarians Against Hunger,” as well as participate in the packaging of meals and a spring canned food drive to help area food pantries.
At each meeting, the club members are reminded of the Rotary International Four-Way Test:
“Of the things we think, say or do
1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”
“The ideal behind this test,” explained Williams, “is that if the answer to any of these questions is ‘no,’ then we are to stop thinking, saying or doing it.”
The Officers for the R-MA Middle School Interact Club are Meghan Melberg (President), Emma Bunker (Vice-President), Joseph Silek, Jr. (Secretary), Ken Gilland (Treasurer) and Thomas Minchew (Sergeant- at-Arms).
Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA), founded in 1892, is a college-preparatory, coeducational day and boarding school for students in grades 6 through 12. Students in grades 9-12 participate in R-MA’s 91st Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) and have the option to participate in a unique flight program. R-MA is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and is located in Front Royal, VA.