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Steamboat Springs High School clubs make local, global difference

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A trio of clubs at Steamboat Springs High School are making a difference in their school, community and world.

The Interact club, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs, was created to give students an opportunity to become involved in community service. The club has been running for four years under the advisement of teacher and new Assistant Principal Meghan Hanson-Peters.

Interact club members work in the community at the Doak Walker Care Center every year in a holiday event, for which they decorate ornaments, bake cookies and learn to knit.

Interact students also do work that benefits people across the world. Members of the club’s high school chapter have raised money for a school in Nairobi, Kenya, to remodel one of its kitchens. Club members also have donated money to Red Cross to help flood relief in Australia. And every year, the local Interact partners with the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs to collect gifts for orphans in Agua Prieta, Mexico. Ten Interact members and four Rotarians then travel to the town and deliver the gifts to children at four orphanages.

Senior Taylor Loomis said she joined Interact because of the work it does to help others, not because it might look good on her college resume.

“I didn’t join for college. I joined sophomore year because I like the stuff we do, the things we stand for, and they are a really fun group of people,” Loomis said.

The high school’s Eco Club has a community-level focus with an emphasis on the goals of reduce, reuse and recycle. The club promotes sustainability and the idea that simple changes can make a big difference. The club has been running for three years under the advisement of teacher Cindy Gay.

The Eco Club is working to increase funding for a paper-towel project it began in which paper towels used at the school are composted instead of being thrown away. Eco Club students also sponsor the school’s weekly Earth hour, during which lights are turned off for one hour in the school’s pod areas, hallways and commons area to reduce energy consumption.

Club members also are working to bring awareness to what should and shouldn’t be discarded in the trash. To that end, the club works closely with the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, and students volunteer at the Saturday recycling drop-off and with the Zero Waste Initiative.

“I feel like Eco Club is a way of doing my part, even though it’s something small,” senior Mallory Richey said. “Hopefully, it can get bigger and touch more people — not just the people in our school, but I would like for all the clubs to be more international and reach more people than just those in the community.”

Drama Club, which is in its first year, has been working to bring student awareness and support to arts in the community. The club’s members want to create a yearlong program that includes a series of one-act plays and dinner theater at a variety of restaurants. The club is run under the advisement of teacher Jamie O’Reilly.

O’Reilly said the club teaches its members skills such as problem solving and communication as well as performance and technical skills.

The club provides students a good opportunity to do work outside the classroom and to be part of a diverse group of people who choose to work together on joint projects.

Student advisers have been elected to set up fundraisers, complete paperwork and bring awareness of arts to the student body and the community.

“I joined because I enjoy theater and everyone is a family and supportive of you no matter what you do,” senior and club Vice President Cara Becker said. “I thought it would be a great way to get involved in something I’m passionate about.”

Marty Lamansky, the school district’s director of teaching and curriculum, said clubs serve an important role at the high school.

“I think these groups are really important for three reasons. One, studies have shown the biggest success after high school is being involved in extracurricular activities. Two, the groups that outreach to the community teach a good life lesson for students to have. And three, you learn to work well with others, and that is the most important life lesson and value anyone can learn.”

Together, the three clubs have more than 80 members, though each is looking for more support and growth to help further its impact.

Laura Kuczkowski is a senior at Steamboat Springs High School. She is interning as a reporter for the Steamboat Today.

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