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Sunday, 29 November 2015 12:16

Key Club helps students make a difference in their community

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Key Club at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield has just completed its "biggest project of the year," said Key Club President Elsie Andres, a junior at SHG.

Elsie Andres coKey Club at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield has just completed its "biggest project of the year," said Key Club President Elsie Andres, a junior at SHG.

This year SHG students, spurred on and organized by Key Club, collected 180 baskets of food and household supplies that were donated to Holy Family Food Pantry just in time for Thanksgiving distribution. Additionally, 30 SHG Key Club students were at the food pantry on the Monday before the holiday, to continue preparing holiday baskets.

Key Club has two adult leaders, Kiwanis Club of Springfield representative Paul Palazzolo and SHG faculty representative Dan Wilson, as well as a board of students that meets every other week. "The adults are there to guide us, but ultimately, the students make the decisions to shape the club how they want to see it," Andres said.

Key Club was begun in Springfield in 1958 at Cathedral Boys High School, said Palazzolo. "That means it has been thriving and has been in existence through Cathedral Boys High School, Griffin High School and now Sacred Heart-Griffin High School. There are Key Clubs in 35 countries."

The SHG Key Club has 105 paying members and each member pays $15 in annual dues. "I absolutely fell in love with Key Club from the moment I stepped through the door at the first meeting," Andres said. "Service is an important aspect of my life and Key Club is a way for me to make a difference … .

"My favorite thing about Key Club is seeing how all the service projects are put together in my new role as president. As a member, I did not understand all of the little pieces that had to fit together to create the perfect fundraiser." Any student can join Key Club, Andres said.

And Key Club has several fundraisers, she added. Events that happened earlier this year were a car wash that raised over $1,000 to put toward the food drive, Trick or Treat for UNICEF, and a pumpkin smash to raise money for turkeys for the food drive. Members complete various other projects throughout the year that benefit the community. Additionally, in-school projects include selling candy canes at Christmas, carnations at Valentine's Day, and Hershey Kisses after finals for "Kiss the Seniors Goodbye."

"Key Club is an amazing opportunity for someone to make a difference in their community," Andres said. "Through my experiences, I have met many different people, made new friends and joined a club that I will never forget."