14 October 2016 – A new committee took over the running of the Saints Interact Club on Thursday night at a function held at the Cricket Pavilion, with Jamie McLeod succeeding Malcolm Chigawa as President of the Club.
At an intimate dinner, outgoing President Malcolm firstly thanked Mrs Petro de Villiers for her guidance of the club, which she has led for the past 20 years, before moving on to focusing on the organisation’s activities during the course of the year.
One of the highlights of 2016, he said, was seeing Martie du Plessis pupil Charl Marais finish his school career after 14 years of support from the Saint Andrew’s Interact Club. Charl attended a Chapel Service in the third term to thank Saints and to present the Interact Club with a memento to recognise the support they had provided for him.
Charl Marais with the Saints’ Interact Club, which supported him throughout his school career
Early in the year, the Interact Club partnered with Free State Care in Action and adopted a house at Ons Kinderhuis, assisting a group of 12 young toddlers who came from abusive homes and families. Each child received a pair of trainers and was taken on an outing to the Bloemfontein Zoo.
“It was the fulfilment and joy in their eyes that provided such a reward to each member of this club. In this moment we realised the greatest gift one could give was time,” Malcolm said.
The Interact Club also visited the old age home in Brandwag. With Tony Yu on the piano, they formed an impromptu choir and sang a number of hymns before, in the words of Malcolm Chigawa, “resorting to a more social approach”, as the singing was unsustainable.
During the year, the blood drive received strong support, with numerous first-time donors being welcomed and helping the club to exceed its target by raising just less than 40 units.
In addition, a new partnership with Grace in Action was undertaken. The Saints Interact Club donated R5 000 to the charity, with the money being used to purchase food parcels that were distributed to communities on the outskirts of Bloemfontein.
The new Interact Committee with Mrs Petro de Villiers
The Headmaster, Chris Thomas, urged the incoming committee – President Jamie McLeod, Vice-President Josh Koopman, Project Managers Judah Prins and Greg van Mastrigt, Treasurer Stehaan van Jaarsveld, Deputy Secretary Tony Chiu, Sergeant at Arms Ahmed Dhupli, Deputy Sergeant at Arms Harry Huang, and members Kabelo Leiee and Ranesh Somaru – to aim even higher in 2017.
“Service is an important part of what we do as human beings,” he said, before adding: “We benefit by serving others, and you will find you are blessed by serving others. Also, because it helps those that we are giving to.”
Helping to uplift the community was vitally important, he continued: “I think the Interact Club is a vital part of life at Saint Andrew’s. My challenge to the guys who are taking over is to see if we can double or even triple whatever we have done before.
“Make it a goal to add to everything. Increase what you raise and increase what you give.
The Headmaster ended by lauding the work the Interact Club does: “I think you do fantastic work. I think you have done fantastic work. I just hope to see you do more fantastic work.”