Interact club members with Mamie Martin librarian, Randy Cothern. Pictured left to right: Maney Darby, Margaret Boyd, Lauren Sumrall, Randy Cothern, Raylen Ladner, and Laurel Smith.

The Mississippi School of the Arts (MSA) created an Interact Club in 2018 to serve as a student led community service group. Interact Club is in the process of affiliating with the Rotary Club International Brookhaven Chapter as a student organization. As part of their mission, the Interact Club conducts community service aligned with the goals of the Rotary Club. For their inaugural service project, the MSA students selected literacy as their focus.

Wednesday, December 12 and Friday, December 14, eleven classrooms of Mamie Martin Elementary (Brookhaven School District) students received visits from members of the Interact Club. Raylen Ladner – Club President, Lauren Sumrall, Eli Karreim, Mykala Clark, Laurel Smith, Margaret Boyd, and Maney Darby were the students who visited the school. All the members participated by creating the activities and choosing the book.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to Interact with elementary age students. We hope they will let books come alive in their minds like we did that day. At each session, we encouraged the students to explore books, use their imaginations, and create art,” said Suzanne Hirsch, Executive Director.

Interact Club members read to Mamie Martin students and share the importance of art and creativity. Pictured left to right: Lauren Sumrall, Eli Karreim, and Mykala Clark.

The activities included reading the book “Where The Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak, acting out the story with the students, and each student creating a hand puppet of their unique own monster. The students spoke about MSA with each classroom and encouraged them to keep making art in some way. Each teacher received a copy of a guide with comprehension questions, references, and activity sheets to continue the lesson with their students. At the end of the activities, two copies of the book were donated to the school’s library.

“The club is a perfect opportunity for outreach and to serve the community. Going to Mamie Martin was a Christmas blessing. We were able to share our time and talents by reading a book to the children, engaging them with movements, asking them comprehension questions, and giving them an activity that incorporates visual art. Due to arts that were incorporated during the presentation, this trip was a success. The children were able to answer the comprehensive questions without hesitation. They were as eager to learn as we were to perform for them,” said Raylen Ladner, club president.

For questions about this project or the Interact Club, contact Suzanne Hirsch at (601) 823-1300 or

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