Interact Club of ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY was recently recognized for their outstanding community service this past year. Rotary Club of Kapolei Sunset President Lani Bergstrom presented Interact Club President Maddie Mizon and Vice President Kristin Chun with the Youth Service Club of the Year award for 2020-2021 at a special ceremony on Monday. Rotary Club of Kapolei Sunset was selected for the award out of 53 clubs in Hawai’i, in large part due to the contributions of IPA’s Interact Club.
“Dr. Dan White (founding Head of School) one time said to me, ‘Oceans depend on rivers that are fed by streams’,” shared Bergstrom with Interact Club members. “Imagine Rotary is the whole ocean – a global network of more than 1.2 million people who together unite and create positive change globally, in your communities, and in yourselves.”
“Interact is part of that,” she continued. “You may look back on the last year and what Interact did – small projects, larger projects – that was what fed the stream that filled that river that fills the ocean of Rotary. That’s how you make a difference – the tiniest things that you can do as a person change the world globally when you can unite all of these people world wide. Collectively, we make a difference.”
Interact Club advisor Sabine Yamamura is a strong advocate of service work. “It is so important for our students to be involved in good works around them. There are so many issues that need to be addressed and it can be overwhelming at times,” she shared. “Students want to be part of the solution to contribute in a positive and meaningful way. The Interact Club allows them to be part of a positive force for good and everyone feels better when being involved.”
The Interact Club’s accomplishments of the past year were especially noteworthy given the challenges presented by the pandemic, and with a large number of students doing distance learning last year.
“The students did a great job working together, despite all its unique challenges. And Maddie and Kristin have done a terrific job leading this club,” explained Yamamura. “Students participated as best as they could, being present at projects around the island, joining meetings remotely, planning in person. This was an incredible feat. Pulling all the different elements together and still having students being enthusiastic about giving of their time – it was truly inspiring.”
“We all worked really hard to push out a lot of projects, at least two per month, throughout the school year, and we’re definitely one of the most active clubs.” shared Chun. “So it is really very rewarding to see the members being recognized for all of their work.”
Mizon, who has grown the club membership from a few students to more than 50 in just two years, sees parallels between IPA’s core values and the mission of Rotary. “Our values of ‘Whenever you can, help’ align so well with the mission of Interact, and Rotary,” she explained. “Interact helps students fulfill their CAS (service) requirements for graduation, and a lot of them are looking to join National Honor Society, which also values community service, so Interact helps set them on the right path.”
“Hopefully we’ll see a lot of these Interact members join clubs like Rotaract and Rotary in the future,” she added.
“I am so proud of the students and this accomplishment. It is a true testament to the resilience and spirit of this club. And we are grateful to Mrs. Gloria and Mrs. Lani for all their support and dedication with this club,” shared Yamamura. “I am so happy that the students’ hard work and dedication has been recognized in this way. I could not be more proud of the IPA Interact Club and I can’t wait to see what this year brings!”