Even in their teenage years, they are already exposed to Rotary International (RI), an international service organisation whose aim is to bring together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian services, among other consideration.
At this stage, they are being groomed as young leaders through the school’s Interact Club, and will be making more trips to Kota Kinabalu than their counterparts in other rural schools.
Interact Club is Rotary International’s service club for young people of secondary school age (12-18) to develop leadership skills and to promote international understanding and peace.
The idea of developing the youth, through the formation of an Interact Club, was mooted by the President of RCKK, Jeyan Marimuttu. Thus, sponsored by RCKK, the Interact Club of SMK Sepulot was born in February this year after motivational talks by past Assistant Governor of RI District 3310, Iskandar Ahmad.
Handholding the 35 Interactors for now is Paul Foronda in his capacity as RCKK Interact Adviser for SMK Sepulot.
In the words of RCKK President, it’s an Interact Club in a rural setting, incredibly the first such club in Sabah.
Motivating the students, one Rotary leader after another threw challenges at them during the inaugural visit of RI District 3310 Governor Michael Yee from the Rotary Club of Garden City, Singapore, recently.
As he put it, “You (Interactors) are going into a new exciting adventure.”
Enlightening the boys and girls, Marimuttu said the formation of the Interact Club has been endorsed by Yee for it to be registered. “You are in an international organisation…you are ahli (members) of one big Rotary Family the world over,” he told them.
Members of the Interact Club are looking forward excitedly to a proposed trip to the State capital at the behest of RCKK.
“We (RCKK) are sponsoring the students’ trip in terms of transportation and accommodation.
We want as many as possible to come to KK for them to gain experience and exposure.
We want them to join the other Interact Clubs in KK for several activities such as the joint installation of Interact Clubs, Board of Directors (BOD) training and the International Understanding (IU) Bazaar,” said Marimuttu while expressing the hope that the new Interactors will learn something useful from this rare outing.
Paul will be making the necessary arrangements for the Sapulut boys and girls to participate in the IU Bazaar.
During the sharing session to inspire the students, incoming District 3310 Governor Datuk Lee Chuen Wan traced how he became a Rotarian, telling the boys and girls “Saya percaya kalau saya boleh, kamu semua pun boleh” (I believe if I can, all of you also can).”
Then 19 years old and in the Lower Sixth Class, he became the President of the Interact Club of All Saints Secondary School in 1970. “It was the first Interact Club in Sabah and sponsored by the Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu (RCKK).
Tan Sri Thomas Jayasuriya was then the Club President. And In 1983, I joined the Rotary Club of Likas Bay as a member,” he recalled.
Lee added : “Who knows? Maybe 10 to 20 years down the road, you (boys and girls) might become a Rotarian.
You might even charter or sponsor an Interact Club in Sapulut, Nabawan. By then, you would already know what a Rotary Club can do for the community at large.
“Even becoming a District Governor is not mustahil (impossible). But first of all, you must berusaha (work hard), you must study hard to get a good academic or professional qualification. Share this with your peers and friends.”
District 3310 Assistant Governor Emily Chong, who also spoke, was impressed with the welcome accorded to the Rotarians by the Interact Club. “We hope you will bertungkus lumus (struggle) for a bright future.
Apart from striving to get good grades, we would like you to be actively involved in the Interact Club,” she said.
Noalizan Harun, who represented the Principal of SMK Sepulot, expressed his appreciation to the Rotary leaders for giving the school a golden opportunity to be associated with the Rotary movement. “We will do our best to make the Interact Club a successful one. Hopefully, this will not be your last visit. Please come again,” he enthused.
Also present were District 3310 Governor Nominee, Jeffrey Yong from Rotary Club of Bandar Seri Begawan (Negara Brune), District Membership Development Chairman, Khushroo Dastur from Rotary Club of Tanglin (Singapore), past District 3310 Governor, Datuk Zainie Abdul Aucasa, past Assistant Governor Iskandar Ahmad, ex-Senator Datuk Naomi Chong Set Mui, District 3310 Rotary Community Corps (RCC) Regional Chairman for Singapore, James Lee, Regional Chairman for Johor, Ir. Derek Cheah, Regional Chairman for Sabah, Christopher Liew and RCKK’s RCC-Club Chairman, George Taitim Tulas.
Members of the Rotary Clubs of Garden City, Singapore, Bandar Seri Begawan, Johor Bahru Sentral, Kota Kinabalu, Likas Bay, Kinabalu Sutera, Kota Kinabalu Pearl and Kota Kinabalu Mandarin, and a member of Rotary Satellite Club (Singapore) also participated in the mission to SMK Sepulot.