Whakatane High School Interact Club has over 50 members and a reputation for being very active in their school and community with strong connections with Rotary.  Membership is not only about service, it is also about developing new leadership skills with the opportunity to put these into practice.
The following is from the Whakatane High School Year Book 2019:

Whakatane High School Interact Club brings together young people aged 12-18 to develop leadership skills while discovering the power of service and making a difference in the school and wider community. 
Our Interact Club is recognised as an official club by Rotary International. Throughout the years we have grown from a handful of students to a club of over 50 students. We welcome any students of Whakatane High School who are keen to make a difference. Through volunteering, you meet new people while having a good time and are rewarded by the great feeling of giving back to the community. 
Our sponsor, Rotary Club of Whakatane Sunrise, offer support and guidance while also including us in every one of their weekly meetings. This encourages us to develop our own meetings by bringing in new ideas and having a greater understanding of running a club. We have a club meeting every Thursday, as well as a board meeting every Monday. Our board is made up of senior members of the club who manage and discuss new ideas for potential projects. This year’s board members were: Kevin Paulson (President), Luke Hynds (Treasurer), Sandra Dondi (Secretary), as well as directors Stefan Stoove, Amelie Clements, Becca Lory, Kya Keepa and Scarlett Clarke. 
A successful part of our club meetings is the variety of different guest speakers. Every Thursday meeting we introduce an inspirational person from our community whose experiences never fail to teach us something new. This year a few of our speakers have been Karen Hanlen, Lesley Immink, Hannah Van der Horst, Noa Wooloff (from Mayor’s task force in Wellington) and the owner of Rotorua SPCA (who brought a dog!). 
A major purpose of Interact is to participate in many events throughout the community in order to fundraise money for important causes. We not only run our own events, but we also help out with any organisations that seek assistance. Rotary is a regular club we help out. 
Several events we have organised and assisted in this year:
  • The Mayoral Debate - A successful event we hosted which gave the mayoral candidates of Whakatane the opportunity to win our votes.
  • The Pink Ribbon Breakfast - One of Interact’s major fundraiser events where all proceeds are donated to the Breast Cancer Foundation. We managed to altogether raise $1,200.
  • Hospice EBOP Sunshine on a Plate - Who we have made and sold biscuits for at their gourmet markets as well as waitressing their Whiskey & Craft Beer Night and Black and White Ball.
  • Hosted our own movie night at our local cinema, raising money to buy pyjamas for the sick children at Starship and Whakatane Hospital.
  • Waitressing for Dancing with the Stars and the Eastern BOP Horizon Energy Business Awards.
  • Helping with Rotary Whakatane Sunrise Club’s sausage sizzles and washing cars, fundraising to send shelter boxes overseas for people in third world countries.
  • Riding for the Disabled - Running activities and selling food, fundraising money to help give the horses’ stables in winter.
  • Made and sold scones at the Heart to Heart Expo and face-painted children for less fortunate families.
  • Helped disabled kids write speeches for their speech competition in Wellington.
As an Interact Club, we not only fundraise for the community but also donate money to students at Whakatane High School to help support them with their endeavours. This year we have helped send Emily Julian to the USA for volleyball championships, Daniel Patterson to the Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting, Anna Manning and Luke Hynds to the Annual Rotary District Conference in Hamilton, as well as a number of students to Outward Bound. 
This year the Whakatane High School Interact Club contributed time to a number of important events. Not only have we accomplished our fundraising goals as a team, but we have learnt plenty of leadership skills that we will carry with us in life. We have grown as individuals not only in knowledge and skills but in having gained a new sense of confidence that can’t be forgotten. We are ready to take on our goals for next year and are hopeful to get the opportunity to visit Tanzania, where the Club has sponsored a child at The School of St Jude. We’re very thankful for Linda Bonne who has offered her support and guidance throughout the years the Club has been running. Without her interact would not be the successful Club it is today. We are also very thankful for Kevin Paulson and Luke Hynds who have efficiently run the club this year, Anna Manning who has mentored the board, as well as all the members who make Interact possible. As an Interact team, we have learnt that each one of us can make a difference, but together we can make a change.
Written by Scarlett Clark, whose brother Max and sister Gracie are former Whakatane High School Interactors.
From the Whakatane High School Interact Club year book 2019.