Jasper High School Interact Club to represent Texas at Model UN

Jasper High School in Plano is home to one of only five Rotary Interact clubs to represent Texas at the Rotary International Peacekeeping Conference in Chicago on June 2.

That’s a pretty amazing feat considering there are over 60 other Interact clubs in District 5810 which include the other four attending — McKinney, Frisco, Woodrow Wilson and Faith Family Academy Charter School. Interact clubs are an early precursor to the Rotary where students learn leadership skills and make a commitment to volunteering. The Jasper High School club is sponsored by The Plano Rotary Club.

(from left) Jeff Beckley, Rotarian Advisor for Jasper High School Rotary Interact Club, with Jasper Interact Club members Julie Johnson (Interact Club President), Taylor Osborn, Alysa Ismail, Shawn Wang, Edward Benitez, Sarah Gilani, Muskan Dharani // courtesy The Plano Rotary Club

“One of the greatest things that I do is teach kids how to run a non-profit. These kids have to learn how to run board meetings, and they have to work with other student body clubs,” Alex Johnson, Interact Chair for Rotary District 5810, said.

Jasper Interact club students will represent Israel as they participate in Model UN, which is sanctioned by the United Nations, at the conference. It is an opportunity for them to vote on resolutions in relation to education and peace. Because students are representing other countries, Alex said this forces them to step out of comfort zones, learn to tweak or alter resolutions and then come to a consensus.

Edward Benitez, Interact Club Member and Model UN Delegate

Julie Johnson, president of Interact at Jasper, is a freshman while other club presidents are usually seniors. She was interested in creating an Interact club at Jasper while she was in middle school. She started the board, hosts monthly meetings and does service projects over the summer.

She hopes to inspire others by telling the stories of these experiences and to get more students interested in continuing the process throughout their school years. There should be plenty of great information to share because conference attendees will also get an opportunity to tour Chicago and meet with United Nations members while at the conference.

“I always wanted to do the Model UN and thought it would be a great learning experience — to go somewhere I have never been, meet new people and work together,” Julie said.

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