What was once a high school-only club is now spreading to the middle school level.
The Interact Club, the junior arm of the Rotary Club, has set up shop at Riverview Middle School.
"We have a club at the high school, but their numbers had dwindled over the past few years, to about 10 kids last year," said Interact sponsor and Rotarian Bob Alman. "This year, I did a big recruiting effort to bring the club back up to about 45 members. We're looking to grow the club as a community."
Part of that recruitment effort was to start the club at the middle schools.
Alman's wife, Vanessa, Interact faculty sponsor and sixth grade science teacher, approached her husband and asked if he would get the club started at Riverview Middle.
"Eventually, with these kids being involved with Rotary, we hope to help the community out and it's going to be a good thing overall," he said. "The kids get exposure to business and community leaders and hopefully, one day, will become Rotarians and do good things in their community."
Alman said he is still looking for a sponsor for Dawson County Middle School.
"We want to spread to both middle schools, but I haven't gotten a faculty sponsor for Dawson County Middle yet," Alman said. "Hopefully, we'll grow Interact in the community and get it at both [middle] schools."
While the club has only had one meeting and won't meet again until the end of this month, at least half of the 19 students are already clambering over who will be officers.
"I was a president in 4-H and I definitely think I have leadership skills," said seventh-grader Chloe Chameli."I've also read to students at Riverview Elementary, so I've done community work."
Alman said that he hopes students like Chameli will step up and show leadership skills and grow.
"I feel like there's a responsibility to help mentor our youth and help them grow in ways maybe they wouldn't get exposed to otherwise, such as doing community service," he said. "We want to get them interested in what it means to be in the Interact Club and what a difference those ‘Interacters' can make in the community."