Destin Middle School's Interact Club gets rolling on Destin Fishing Rodeo T-shirts

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log
About a dozen students from the Destin Middle School Interact Club helped to fold and roll up Destin Fishing Rodeo T-shirts for the upcoming fishing tournament.

Folding, rolling and boxing T-shirts — that's what the Destin Middle School Interact Club has been doing this past week to help out with the Destin Fishing Rodeo.

Each year the rodeo, Destin's oldest tradition, has thousands of T-shirts with various designs for sale throughout the month. Locals and visitors alike love the shirts that come in short and long sleeves.

For the past month, the shirts have been coming in and rodeo volunteers have been tagging the shirts. But they have to be folded, rolled and ready to go for the merchandise trailer that will be stationed at AJ's Seafood and Oyster Bar on Destin harbor when the tournament begins Oct. 1.

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"We've never done it before," said Mary Bettinger, a Destin Middle teacher who heads up the club.

Bettinger volunteers at the rodeo each year and saw the need and thought it was something her service club could help with.

Kathryn Donatelli, a seventh grader at Destin Middle, works on folding the shirts correctly.

The Interact Club came out two days this week and folded and rolled about two dozen boxes of shirts.

"Those girls and boys, by the time they finish, they will have folded about 3,000 shirts," said Helen Donaldson, executive director of the rodeo.

"We get about 6,000 shirts in, and we've already done about half that before they got involved," Donaldson said.

But the service the students provided, "it's huge," Donaldson said.

Members of the Destin Middle School Interact Club help fold and roll up Destin Fishing Rodeo T-shirts.

"We have never started the rodeo with all our stock tagged and rolled … ever. So, this is big," Donaldson said.

"They are doing it quick and doing it very efficiently. It's awesome," Donaldson said.

The students had about six tables set up at the Destin Community Center where they worked for a couple of hours each day to get the job done.

The Interact Club, which has more than 40 members, is also involved with the Halloween Festival at the community center as well as doing Oodles of Noodles at Christmas for the Harvest House in Destin and coastal cleanups.