Rotary Clubs expanded the Interact service club concept to middle schools only a few years ago, and Cleveland Middle School was the first in Tennessee and one of the first in the South to be commissioned.
Teachers Derrick Marr and Eric Frazier champion the CMS Interact Club this year. Nearly 30 students from sixth through eighth grades make up the membership.
A major project of the middle school group last year was selling Blue Raider wristbands to raise money for the Chattanooga Ronald McDonald House. They also assisted with the Relay for Life. On-campus projects include the Library Book Fair and the Catch the Spirit celebration at the end of the year.
Besides the school-based activities, the local clubs send delegates to the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, an annual convention of young people from throughout East Tennessee held in Pigeon Forge each year.
During a three-day conference the students attend workshops and receive instruction on leadership fundamentals and ethics, communication skills, and problem solving and conflict management. The schools and individual leaders compete for recognition and college scholarships.
Additionally, a group of Interact members from the three schools alternate in attending the weekly Rotary meetings as guests of the parent club.
Cleveland Rotary Club members who have helped to begin and sustain the Interact movement include Amy Card-Lillios, David Carroll, Cameron Fisher, Rick Denning, Ashley Smith, Doug Eberhart, Roger Fuller, and Victor Boltniew.