WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Members of North Surry’s Interact Club traveled to West Virginia recently to give a presentation at a district conference for the Rotary Club.
Interact was selected to present its kindergarten literacy project at the Rotary District 7690 Conference at the Greenbrier Resort in late April.
Representing the club were officials John Nichols, club president; Caleb Cooke, vice president, Cassidy Willard, secretary; and Breanna Goins, treasurer.
Interact Clubs are student-led community service organizations that provide high school students with the opportunity to do service projects in their communities in addition to participating in international service projects.
The North Surry Interact Club, sponsored by the Mount Airy Rotary Club, was chartered during the 2013-2014 school year.
Using funding provided by the Rotary Club, Interact partnered with Franklin Elementary to begin a literacy project.
Tonya Fletcher, Franklin media coordinator, chose books for the high schoolers to read to the kindergartners. The high school students read to each of the kindergarten classes and the exceptional children’s classes in small groups; the 110 students were able to take a copy of the book home to keep.
During the 2014-2015 school year, the Rotary Club increased funding for the project, and the Interact Club read to Franklin Elementary two more times with about 220 books distributed.
The success of the program spurred the Rotary Club once again to increase funding for the 2015-2016 school year.
In addition to reading to Franklin Elementary School, the Rotary Club provided money for books to be given to kindergartners at White Plains and Cedar Ridge elementary schools.
Flat Rock was not funded because the Mount Airy Rotary Club already had an existing reading program at that school.
Because the high schoolers wanted to serve all four elementary schools that feed into North Surry, the Interact Club raised additional funds to purchase enough books to read to the kindergartners and the Pre-K classes at Flat Rock. This year the club has given out almost 900 books to young students.
The Kindergarten Literacy Project was implemented because some research has shown that reading aloud to children is the single-most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading.
The nurturing and one-on-one attention from adults and role models during reading aloud encourages children to form a positive association with books and reading later in life.
There is also a correlation between elementary school literacy rates and eventual high school graduation rates.
The Kindergarten Literacy Project is just one of the group’s accomplishments this year. On April 30, the club also sponsored a bingo game at North Surry to raise money for the Taylor Thompson and Megan Davis Memorial Scholarship fund. So far, the club has collected more than $10,000, and donations are still being accepted.
The literacy project and the bingo fundraisers are just two of the projects Interact has sponsored this year. Other events and accomplishments in which students have taken part include:
• Town of Dobson Latin Festival volunteers
• Pilot Mountain to Hanging Rock Ultra-Marathon volunteers
• Town of Dobson Spooktacular volunteers
• Collected money for Purple Pinky Day to help eradicate polio
• Habitat for Humanity Fall Carnival volunteers
• Town of Dobson Spring Folly volunteers
• Collected more than 100 dog leashes and collars for Mayberry 4 Paws
• Collected first aid supplies to be distributed in Uganda
• Collected 122 coats for Give A Kid A Coat with the Spanish Club
• Habitat for Humanity Christmas tree sale volunteers
• Student Election Assistants for the Surry County Board of Elections at the primary election
• Collected more than $900 for Pennies for Patients for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with HOSA Club
• On May 10, Interact Club members were servers at the Surry County Educational Foundation dinner.
On May 18, North Surry Interact will be partnering with Be The Match to recruit bone marrow donors in memory of Shaun Calhoun, a North Surry student who passed away in June 2015.