Most active Interact members recognized for putting “Service Above Self”
At the final meeting of the year for the Vineland High School Interact Club, 10 members received special honors for exemplifying “Service Above Self” – the motto by which more than 1.2 million Rotarians live. This honor was earned throughout the school year as club advisors tracked the points earned by members each time they participated in an Interact meeting, event or service activity.
When the results were tallied, 10 club members stood out among the rest. The top performing member was Meranda Cardona. Cardona is a senior and served as Vice President of Membership. In addition to her work with the VHS club, Cardona started an Interact Club at her middle school alma mater, Anthony Rossi Intermediate School. She attended every meeting and event since the club began and played a large role in its success. Cardona received a plaque in recognition of her service.
Recognized with medals for their exemplary efforts as part of Interact included: Sejal Menghani, a junior and the club’s Public Relations Director, who also organized the area’s first Project Smile Color Festival in support of Smile Train India; Jesus Hernandez, a senior and the club’s Fundraising Director who also tutored students weekly at the Salvation Army; Neha Ashraf, a junior and Fundraising Director who developed her own Mother’s Day carnation sale in support of an epilepsy project; and Angela Benson, a senior and club President who also traveled to an orphanage in Santo Domingo for a service project. Also recognized were Elissia Forty, Neeraja Thakur, Alex Matos, Anthony Matos, and Akshay Patel.
Over the years, the VHS Interact Club members have volunteered and partnered with local organizations including: Big Brothers Big Sisters, Salvation Army, Hadassah, Project Thanksgiving, Main Street Vineland, Landis Theater, Bay Shore Discovery Project, American Littoral Society, North Vineland Little League Challenger teams, Habitat for Humanity, Pedals for Progress, Vineland Clean Communities, Rotary International, and the Vineland Rotary Club. Leading these efforts are club advisors, Miriam Jamil and Conor O’Grady.
Interact Clubs are youth-sized versions of Rotary Clubs formed to involve students in service and service learning projects at a young age. The VHS Interact Club is one of the largest in South Jersey.