Lauren Hannani staff writer
Although social media is a popular base for networking among teenagers, the Interact club members network with others by attending annual community events and activities every year. The club, which has been at the high school for decades, works closely with the Rotary Club of Beverly Hills to contribute to citywide events through community service and build leadership skills through team building activities.
“We take part in elections within the city, as well as Lupus LA, Every 15 Minutes, the Chinese New Year Parade, the LA Marathon, Rotary Youth Leadership Assembly (RYLA), as well as other district events,” president Samantha Boudaie said. “As a club we work to both increase student involvement with the city and make connections, volunteering frequently with the community.”
The club stems from a much larger network of 1.2 million people and more than 35,000 clubs around the world.
“Since Interact is a nationally recognized club, and a part of Rotary, what we have offered through the club is only a tiny piece of what is beyond Beverly’s doors,” junior vice president Lital Peykar said. “There is so much more to Interact than what you see because there are a lot of people involved in Rotary, other communities and around the world.”
Club members do have a chance to see how large the Interact community really is through field trips like the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), a three-day leadership camp where students from all over southern California can make life-long friends while learning the fundamentals of leadership.
“We were put into groups with complete strangers and forced to complete tasks that modeled real life situations, sometimes life threatening,” junior ambassador Liza Freiberg said. “I learned problem solving skills, like first identifying the problem, then listening to everyone’s suggestions, and trying to incorporate everyone’s ideas into a unique solution and execute it.”
With annual events like RYLA, Interact club members have been able to witness how big of a community they are a part of and how big of a difference they can make as a result.
“These different events have shown me a larger community than Beverly Hills. They have shown me how big Los Angeles really is, as well as how interesting it is to meet others who also invest their time in doing service for their communities,” Peykar said. “I have learned the value of giving to others, and the impact it makes on the person or people on the other end.”
Peykar has also learned how to serve as an effective leader while running a club that strongly values those kinds of leadership skills.
“I have learned how to be a better communicator, and also a better friend,” Peykar said. “Being vice president of a club like Interact has really motivated me to become more involved in community service during high school, and being so close to the president has influenced me to be a better person and partner to her in order to help run such an important club.”
Whether running club meetings or large city gatherings, the Interact Club gives students a unique opportunity to be leaders in whatever environment they are in.
“By doing team building events, I can take back what I learned to my life in Beverly Hills,” Freiberg said. “And wherever else I go, I can apply these same problem solving techniques and instigate a shift in the way which my community deals with real life situations.”
As a result of teaching students important skills, the club prepares students for life after high school in a different way than academic classes.
“School is not just academics. Learning the quadratic formula is important, but at the end of the day, it’s just as important to learn networking skills that you can take with you after high school,” Boudaie said. “And that’s exactly what the Interact Club is.”