By Kevin Arter, a member of the Rotary Club of Melbourne, Florida, USA
Fifty years ago, my club sponsored the very first Interact Club at Melbourne High School. The Interactors at Mel High, as it is known locally, received their charter on 5 November, 1962.
More than half of our Rotary club’s members today were not yet born when Interact began. But the youngest members of our club, who are in their 20s and 30s, recognize the enormity of our club having started something so important, and are excited to celebrate the 50th anniversary.
No one in our club today was a Rotarian back then. But many of us remember Rotarians who were around at the birth of Interact. One of our members, Greg Maxwell, was a student at the high school in the fall of 1962. And though he was never a member of Interact, Greg was able to reach out to members of the class of 1962-63 who were students when Interact was formed, and invite them to our club’s Golden Anniversary celebration of Interact on 3 November.
Current members of the Interact Club of Melbourne and their faculty sponsor, Stewart Houck, were an instrumental part of the evening. They have been eager to learn about their place in the history of Interact. Our keynote speaker, District Governor Nominee Juan Ortega, joined Interact in his native Colombia. His experience in both Interact and Rotaract put an exclamation point on the evening, and reminded us of what our club started.
Fifty years ago, our club recognized that Rotary could be a vehicle that offered young people the opportunity to serve and grow. Half a century later, our club, and the Mel High Interactors, are awed to celebrate the vision of Rotary International and the legacy of our clubs.
- See a video about the Melbourne anniversary celebration
- Learn more about Interact
- Read how other clubs are celebrating the golden anniversary
- Enter the Interact Video Contest