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John Monash Science School Interact Club - 2011


On Thursday 1st December 2011 some members of our club visited the John Monash Science School, Building 84 at Monash University Clayton and were privileged to see the largest club in District 9810 have its charter night. No it was not a Rotary Club and it was not even a Rotaract Club. It was the John Monash Science School Interact Club, which is now officially the third Interact club in District 9810.


The John Monash Science School Interact Club was chartered with 78 students who range from the age groups 14 to 18 and cover years 10, 11 & 12 at the John Monash Science School.


The difference with this Interact Club was that normally a Rotary Club would go around to the different schools in the area trying to sell the idea of an Interact club, but in this case the John Monash Science School came to the Rotary Club of Clayton. Not the whole school, but two people. They were Natasha Madan, a student at the school and Sally Cheah-Johnson the Assistant principal.


When Sally & Natasha visited the club back on the 25th July 2011 after an invite from Bill Sides, they spoke to us and we discussed with them the concept of forming an Interact Club at the school. Sally is a past Rotary Exchange student from Malaysia and the daughter of a Past District Governor (Rotarian) so no explanations were needed about Rotary. But after hearing Natasha speak, it seemed to her that Natasha was pressing every button to make Interact happen. With very minimal input from our club, just an e-mail agreement that it was desirable, Sally & Natasha went ahead and sought interest among the students and got 60 positive responses! The John Monash Science School caters for high achievers so the Rotary Club of Clayton was confident that we were dealing with students who both think & perform and could make a big success of Interact. Sally also pointed out that the students also needed hands on experience and not just the classroom theory. Sally was confident that Interact could provide that.


So the seeds were laid for the Interact Club and the work began. Supporting Sally & Natasha (the soon to be Charter President) were Bill Sides (until he went on vacation) and then the job was taken over by John Barnes & Reddy Kandadi all from the Rotary Club of Clayton. Also providing support was Morgan Roberts from the Rotaract Club of Monash. After many visits and meetings it was time to charter the John Monash Science School Interact Club.


The Master of Ceremonies for the Charter night and also the Vice-President for the Interact Club was student Benjamin Nisselle-Griffiths. The night started with us being entertained by the John Monash Science School Choir who sang two lovely songs. It was then time for the Principal of the John Monash Science School, Mr Peter Corkill to officially welcome all the Guests (which included District Governor Juliet Riseley, Rotarians from various clubs & Rotaractors from the Rotaract Club of Monash), Parents and Students. Peter also spoke briefly about how the John Monash Science School started and explained it is a co-educational school devoted to the pursuit of excellence in Science, Mathematics and associated technologies and It is the result of a unique partnership between the Victorian Government and Monash University.


Next to speak was Sally Cheah-Johnson the Assistant principal who explained how the Interact Journey began after the many visits to her office by a very chirpy and inspirational student called Natasha Maden. Sally explained how excited Natasha was after she had found out about Interact during her interview with the Rotary Club of Diamond Creek for the National Youth Science Forum. Sally also told the story about Natasha and her visit on that cold rainy night back in July to the Rotary Club of Clayton.    


The official Charter Ceremony was started by John Barnes providing a brief history of Rotary and how Interact fitted into the picture. Then John gave a quick explanation on what was involved with getting the John Monash Science School Interact Club up and running. John then introduced District Governor Juliet Riseley who spoke briefly on how she was honoured to be part of the charter ceremony and all the good work put in by all to get to this night. Juliet proceeded with the official Charter Ceremony and presented the charter certificate to the President of the John Monash Science School Interact Club, Natasha Madan. Juliet also presented Natasha with the Presidential Collar and Pin. Then came the time for Juliet with the help of Jon Breisch (President of the Rotary Club of Clayton) and Natasha (reading out the names), to present the certificates to all the new charter members of the John Monash Science School Interact Club. Pins were also presented to the office bearers. Unfortunately not all the members could attend the night due to other prior commitments, but there were still enough there to fill the front of the room. Once the handing out of all the certificates and pins was completed, the group stood together and many photos were taken.


The night was completed by President Natasha Madan telling her story “Planting the Seeds”, on how the Interact Club was started and formed. Natasha explained her goals for starting up an Interact club and how she made sure they were completed. Natasha also presented the two community projects, one local and one overseas the club will be involved in. The local project will see the club being mentors for grade six students at a primary school and the overseas project is related to AIDS prevention at an orphanage in Papua New Guinea. Natasha, on behalf of all the members of the John Monash Science School Interact Club, then thanked everyone for being part of their Charter Night.


The night was then finished off with plenty of fellowship between all the guest, parents and students over coffee, tea, cakes & biscuits.


Follow the links below to learn more about the various Youth Services offered by Rotary. If you require any further information or are interested in participating on either of the below links,  you can contact the Rotary Club of Clayton




Rotaract Club of Monash

RYPEN (Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment)

RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award)

Summer Science Schools

MUNA (Model United Nations Assembly)

Rotaract In Australia