There’s more to Key Club than meets the eye

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By Elizabeth Hjelvik

It’s been said that Los Alamos High School has a diverse student body and an as a result, multiple clubs are formed.
From the Supercomputing Challenge to the Olions, there is a club that fits just about every interest students may have. However, some clubs at the school are not as well known as others are, and because of this, clubs sometimes don’t receive recognition.
Key Club is commonly mistaken for a group that talks about keys; a club where people that aspire to be locksmiths go; or a science club; but Key Club is an international organization sponsored by Kiwanis. The mission statement is “Key Club is an international student-led organization, which provides its members with opportunities to provide service, build character and develop leadership.”
Members of Key Club carry out service activities within their community, such as pancake breakfasts at the Betty Ehart Senior Center, building gingerbread houses at Family Strength Networks and helping at elementary school carnivals.
If members achieve 30 or more service hours, they receive a letter (to put on their letterman’s jacket) for their participation. A member can only receive the letter if they paid their dues, which range from $15-$20.
Key Club is a student- led organization, which is supervised by Kiwanis members and every year, members elect the student officers at three different levels: club, district and international. Club-level officers are elected during meetings and district and international-level officers are elected at conventions such as DCON (District Convention) and ICON (International Convention).
There are 33 districts spread throughout the United States, as well as some places in the Caribbean and Canada. Each district is separated into divisions. Los Alamos High School resides in the Southwest district and the Sangre de Cristo division. All districts have a governor and multiple lieutenant governors. Brennan Benavidez is the Southwest district’s current governor and Eliana Bell is the Sangre De Cristo division lieutenant governor.
LAHS Key Club board members are: Ali Berl, president; Faith Glasco, vice-president; Kristen Haertling, secretary; Paulinka Majewska, treasurer; Alison Rooney, bulletin editor; and Emily Pitman, historian. The supervising Kiwanis members are chemistry teacher Kathleen Boerigter, Morris Pongratz and Don Casperson.
The club meets every Thursday during lunch in Boerigter’s room in E-wing. There is also a page on Facebook that informs members of upcoming service activities and events such as DCON or Key Leader (a leadership camp that occurs during winter or fall.)
For some people, Key Club isn’t just a club. As one member said, “Key Club is my life.”
Members from neighboring schools have said that they got into Key Club because of bullying and were able to find a safe haven within the club, because for them, it’s a judgment-free environment. Other members have family ties to the club. Whether it was their mom or dad, brother or sister, cousins, some people joined because it’s a family tradition.
But for others like Berl, Key Club is a way to give back to their community and help those in need.
In addition to being a community service-based organization, Key Club also provides multiple scholarships that members can apply for. The benefits can also continue through college. Key Club members can join Circle K, another Kiwanis-sponsored organization that is very similar to Key Club.