2017-03-16 / Front Page

HLHS Rotary Interact students to build homes in El Salvador


HOUGHTON LAKE ROTARY INTERACT Of the 39 Houghton Lake High School students in the Houghton Lake Rotary’s Interact Club, 14 of them will be traveling to El Salvador later this month to build con­crete homes for families in great need of shelter. Pictured, wearing their new T-shirts given to them from a recent sponsorship fundraiser, are (front row, left to right) Vice President Lauren Haggart, Ashlee Aardema, Madisen Forman, Kollin Gosney, Ariana Nagel, Kaylyn Allen, Junior Class Representative April Johnson, Senior Class Representative Ashley Lee, (second row) Rotary Interact Advisor Rhonda Lamberg, Houghton Lake Community Schools Interim Superinten­dent and Rotarian Susan Tyer, Alyssa Taylor, Emily Burgis, Sidney Shaloy, Julia Lee, Corrie Stadler, Megan Major, Emily Johnson, Sarah Barnes, Lexi Blanchard, Ally Sajdak, Madelyn Yuncker, Houghton Lake High School Principal and Rotarian John Winkler, Sarah Williams, (third row) Faculty Interact Advisor Chris Sura, David Johnson, Freshman Class Representative Chloe Koupal, Yuhe Chen, Sophomore Class Repre­sentative Joey Peterson, Kelli Ignat, Chance LaPratt and Treasurer Cameron Fulco. Not pictured are Ro­tary President Jim VanSice, Interact students Bailey Decker, Brittany Cooley, Brook Pepper, Brooke White, President Courtney Ignat, Ellie Connett, photographer Grace Sura, Korrin Pease, Secretary Madison Flick, Madison Shamel, Paige Girardin and Rachael Earley. (Photo by Cheryl Holladay) HOUGHTON LAKE ROTARY INTERACT Of the 39 Houghton Lake High School students in the Houghton Lake Rotary’s Interact Club, 14 of them will be traveling to El Salvador later this month to build con­crete homes for families in great need of shelter. Pictured, wearing their new T-shirts given to them from a recent sponsorship fundraiser, are (front row, left to right) Vice President Lauren Haggart, Ashlee Aardema, Madisen Forman, Kollin Gosney, Ariana Nagel, Kaylyn Allen, Junior Class Representative April Johnson, Senior Class Representative Ashley Lee, (second row) Rotary Interact Advisor Rhonda Lamberg, Houghton Lake Community Schools Interim Superinten­dent and Rotarian Susan Tyer, Alyssa Taylor, Emily Burgis, Sidney Shaloy, Julia Lee, Corrie Stadler, Megan Major, Emily Johnson, Sarah Barnes, Lexi Blanchard, Ally Sajdak, Madelyn Yuncker, Houghton Lake High School Principal and Rotarian John Winkler, Sarah Williams, (third row) Faculty Interact Advisor Chris Sura, David Johnson, Freshman Class Representative Chloe Koupal, Yuhe Chen, Sophomore Class Repre­sentative Joey Peterson, Kelli Ignat, Chance LaPratt and Treasurer Cameron Fulco. Not pictured are Ro­tary President Jim VanSice, Interact students Bailey Decker, Brittany Cooley, Brook Pepper, Brooke White, President Courtney Ignat, Ellie Connett, photographer Grace Sura, Korrin Pease, Secretary Madison Flick, Madison Shamel, Paige Girardin and Rachael Earley. (Photo by Cheryl Holladay) Rotary Interact Club was designed to help students in grades nine through 12 grow in qualities of leadership. Through Rotary, youths learn about “Service Above Self.” Many opportunities be­come available to Interact students (known as Interactors) by the combined efforts of Rotarians and Rotary Interact Clubs around the world working toward the same goals and sharing ideas.

The 39 members of Houghton Lake Rotary Interact have been offered an opportunity to build concrete houses for people who in El Salvador are cur­rently living in scrap metal shanties or mud huts held together by bamboo. The district-wide service trip is sponsored by the Noroeste Rotary Club of San Salva­dor, El Salvador.

Of the 39 Interact members, 14 are planning on traveling to El Salvador. Chaperones include Rotarians and Inter­act alumni (who have been on these trips as students and are now adults).

Those attending the trip include Houghton Lake High School seniors, Rachael Earley, Lauren Haggart, Court­ney Ignat and Ashley Lee; juniors, Julia Lee, Corrie Stadler and Madelyn Yunck­er; sophomores, Sarah Barnes, Kelli Ignat and Joey Peterson; and freshmen, Kaylyn Allen, Chloe Koupal, Sidney Shaloy and Alyssa Taylor. Interact Ad­visor Rhonda Lamberg will attend as a Rotarian chaperone.

The educational service trip will take place March 22-30 for Rotary Interna­tional District #6290, which includes the western central and the northern por­tion of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan up to WaWa, Canada. It is the District’s second annual trip to the area and it is coordinated by Rotary District Interact Advisor Doug Mealey, who has directed 25 trips of this type to El Salvador.

An educational service trip is an op­portunity for students to serve families who have great need and it offers stu­dents geographical and cultural experi­ences as well as leadership growth and deeper appreciation of self worth. Last June, the Houghton Lake Interact Club, adopted the educational service trip to El Salvador as the club’s international project for the 2016-17 school year and quickly began planning fundraising events to assist the 14 members who vol­unteered to make the trip.

The cost was originally $1,300 per person, which included airfare, hotel, meals and transportation while in El Sal­vador and included the cost of building supplies for a home. Each Interact stu­dent was responsible for the cost of their trip, but as a service club project, the In­teract membership worked hard to offset the cost for the Interactors attending.

With support of the Houghton Lake Rotary Club, which provided $3,000 for the building supplies for one home, the cost for each individual attending from Houghton Lake was decreased to $1,000.

Through the Interact Club’s fundrais­ing efforts over the past nine months – including several garage sales, bake sales, bracelet sales, many can and bottle drives, canister change drives and in- kind donations – the club received ap­proximately $8,000 from community residents and visitors. A recent T-shirt sponsorship supported by local service groups, businesses and individuals sup­plied the Interact membership with club shirts and allowed the Interactors to reach a total of $14,000 for their club’s fundraising efforts for this international project.

The goal of the service trip was to build at least three homes for multi-gen­erational families (families that may in­clude grandparents, great-grandparents and other relatives) in what is known as the 100 house Rotary Village in Tal­nique. District #6290 will be represented by 54 Interactors and 30 adult chap­erones. Rotary Clubs and individuals have donated funding to allow for eight homes to be built on this year’s trip.

Through this program, Houghton Lake youths will be exposed to new geographical areas, cultural experiences and immersion into a different language, while providing hurricane-resistant shel­ter for several deserving families. These students will serve as ambassadors of Houghton Lake High School, the com­munity and the United States.

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America, sharing borders with Guatemala and Honduras on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. It is about the size of Massachusetts. It has a mountainous terrain and a tropical climate. Spanish is its main language. Interactors will arrive during El Salvador’s winter, with tem­peratures that may reach 100 degrees.

A service trip of this nature, under such guidance, provides students with many opportunities now and in the fu­ture. By continuing to offer a variety of different growth experiences, Rotary can continue to help develop caring leaders and doers.

The Interact Club expressed its ap­preciation to District Coordinator Doug Mealey, the Rotary Club of Houghton Lake, Houghton Lake High School ad­ministrators, faculty, staff and students, the Houghton Lake Chamber of Com­merce, service groups, churches, busi­nesses, families, visitors and all those who have supported this international educational service trip project.

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