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The Villages
Saturday, December 3, 2022

Students honored by Rotary Club for their efforts to help homeless veterans

South Sumter High School’s Rotary Interact Club recently received a Citation of Excellence award from Rotary Zone 34 for the 2021-2022 school year. The SSHS chapter is sponsored by Rotary Club of The Villages Evening.

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Members of the South Sumter High School’s Rotary Interact Club were presented with their Citation of Excellence award by Club Liaison Earl Wilkinson (far left) and Past President Gay Ratcliff Seamans, far right.

At the beginning of this year, there were more than 600 Interact Clubs and only 100 of them received this citation, which recognizes clubs for their service to the community and their growing membership of students. Club Liaison Earl Wilkinson and Past President Gay Ratcliff Seamans presented the citation to the club members on May. 15.

“These students have really been busy this year,” Ratcliff Seamans said. “They sold healthy snack bags for a successful fundraiser twice this year. They only had two weeks to get their fundraiser organized and implemented … but they did it!”

The club is developing a project with the school on composting.  The students were concerned about the amount of food being thrown away, so they want to find a way to ensure it’s not just wasted.

“They have lots of energy and like to help others,” Wilkinson said. “That’s the heart of Rotary Interact.”

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South Sumter High School Rotary Interact Club President Lyndsay Fortado shows one of the special sleeping pads distributed to homeless veterans.

In one of the club’s main projects, the students collected all types of plastic shopping bags and learned how to crochet the “plarn” into sleeping pads that were distributed to homeless veterans. More than 30 pads were created, with each one taking several hours to make.

Officers for the SSHS Rotary Interact club are President Lyndsey Furtado, Vice President Madison Mallory, Secretary Quinn Tobbe, Treasurer Kenya Taylor, and Historian Jasper Hearn.

Rotary Interact clubs bring together young people ages 12 to 18 to develop leadership skills while discovering the power of Service Above Self. Members find out how serious leadership can be seriously fun. Interact clubs organize at least two projects every year – one that helps their school or community and one that promotes international understanding. Rotary club sponsors mentor and guide Interactors as they carry out projects and develop leadership skills.

For more information about Rotary Club of The Villages Evening, visit their website.

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