On Oct. 14, 2018, Interact Club’s Fall Leadership Conference, or FLC, took place at Independence HS. Around 4,000 members of the club from District 5170 – which consists of 13 areas, Monta Vista being Area 12 – attended to participate in activities like Area cheers, leadership workshops and more.
In Interact, club members are part of one of two committees: the International Project Committee (IPC) or the Community Project Committee (CPC). The IPC and the CPC each are divided into projects that students participate in during the year, which are announced at FLC.
As the biggest event of the year, senior and president Abhilasha Goel says the event was not only spirited but also gave people the opportunity to meet new people.
“Well, [FLC is] pretty much hype,” Goel said. “It’s one of our biggest events so we really try to hype it up because it’s something that’s really fun … like a rally. And even through the workshops, we’re still with our people from our Area. We’re also meeting people from other Areas. And then we just kind of work on the projects because that’s something our entire district is doing together.”
A video is presented to all the members to introduce the projects and their application to the world. Senior and Jr. Interact President Priyasha Agarwal describes the video as one that captures everyone’s attention and also allows students to reflect on their current lives.
“[During the video], they dim the lights and everyone has their phone flashlights out so you’re getting into the vibe of it,” Agarwal said. “This year they talked about how Venezuelan kids are struggling because they don’t have enough money and they don’t have a lot of the advantages that we have living [in Silicon Valley]. It kind of is like everyone’s realizing the truth about the world, so it definitely is an eye-opening experience.”
Interact is focused on community service and helping people in less developed parts of the world with living safely. Agarwal, who was a part of the IPC last year, worked together with other members of the committee to host a mixer and raise money for the country.
“We … raised around $3,000 to $4,000 in order [to] help children in Burkina Faso in sustainability of the community there because Burkina Faso is one of the poorest nations in the world,” Agarwal said. “That [money] was later donated to an organization that we partnered up with and given to [the children living in Burkina Faso].”
After finding out what the projects are for the year, everyone at the event splits up into smaller groups according to their project. In those groups, they work on leadership skills and also have workshops in which they discuss projects and learn valuable lessons about the world around them. The workshops held this year were Pay it Forward, in which members learned what it meant to pay it forward and become a better person, as well as workshops that focused on the questions “What is it to be a leader?” and “What qualities does a leader hold?”
Junior and Community Project Chair Siddhi Shenoy describes FLC as an event that gives students the opportunity to meet new people and develop lasting relationships with them.
“Some of us are kind of introverted but the majority of Interact I would say is a bunch of extroverts,” Shenoy said. “They’re very kind [and] accepting. In workshops, … it’s random groups, and even when you’re talking to them, even though you don’t know them at all, it’s like you guys have been friends for a long time because [people are] very accepting.”
Overall, junior and Webmaster Nayana Balusu finds Interact to be unlike other clubs at MVHS because of its involvement with more than just volunteering.
“I think [Interact’s worldwide involvement is] what differentiates [it] from all the other volunteer clubs on campus,” Balusu said. “You’re not just volunteering [because] there’s so many more connections with the outside world.”
Goel believes that on top of all the projects that members of Interact participate in, being a part of the club makes someone feel better about themselves.
“[Being a part of Interact] helps you feel like you’re bigger than just what you are because right now in the school, you have your committees and you have your projects,” Agarwal said. “But you don’t realize that there’s other people out there doing the same thing as you are, and then you go to FLC and you realize that all these thousands of people in this room, they know what you’re doing as well, so you’re just working together.”