MHS Key Club shows out at international event

Published 4:41 pm Thursday, April 6, 2023

BY JORDAN BROOKS

jordan.brooks@middlesboronews.com

Middlesboro High School Key Club excelled at the 2023 Key Club International awards show for multiple honors. As one of the smallest schools, Middlesboro High School won numerous awards that include dues payment on time, outstanding service to Ronald McDonald House, the most outstanding Club in division 6, and an outstanding donation to UNICEF.

One outstanding achievement was the 116 pounds of pop can tabs that was donated to the Ronald McDonald House.

“We gather all year long and turn them in at the March convention,” said Slusher. “So it was really just one year of collection, but we have lots of community members saving with us because they know it is a philanthropy of ours. Between the community and the Key Clubbers working hard it didn’t take us that long.”

“There is no way of knowing how many that was total,” said Slusher. “But we were able to fill up the bed of my truck with several boxes and containers.”

Depending upon the market for high-grade aluminum, the Ronald McDonald house receives between 40 cents and 50 cents per pound of pop tabs. It takes roughly 1,128 pop tabs to equal one pound. That means it takes 23 tabs to earn a penny.

Between the pop tab lids and donations from Tri County Scrap Yard, Middlesboro Key Club was able to raise a total of $100 which was donated to Ronald McDonald House of the Bluegrass in Lexington.

Also on their trip, MHS Key Clubbers worked with students from other Clubs from Kentucky and Tennessee to pack and provide “grab bags” for Ronald McDonald House families.

“Key Club is the high school service arm of Kiwanis which is an international service organization. Their mission is to serve the children of the world. Since Ronald McDonald house is such an important charity for children, Kiwanis, and with them Key Club, try to work hard to support them,” said Slusher. “It is one of the national partners with Key Club. Middlesboro has a great Kiwanis Club that is over 100 years old. We are thankful to work with on projects like this.”

One Key Clubber recently underwent a heart surgery in November, and spoke about what the Ronald McDonald House meant to her.

“The Ronald McDonald foundation holds a special place in my heart, due to some past issues of mine. They are a great organization and truly care about the well being of others,” said Shelbey Vaughn, an 11th grader who has been in Key Club for two years.

“Ultimately their mission is to help families with ill children and to provide a comfortable place to stay during tough times. They were extremely kind towards my family and I during my stay with them. Their mission is very special because I have personal experiences with the amazing people who work with the foundation.”

According to Vaughn, Key Club is important because she loves being active in the community, helping others, as well as the opportunities Key Club provides.

“In general, doing community service is a great task to accomplish,” said Vaughn. “One of the foundations that I love to provide for is the Ronald McDonald House. They are amazing people, who I know put the donations to good use and enjoy looking out for the community.”

In addition to club awards Jr. Key Clubber Jaslyn Wall won an individual award of the most outstanding Key Clubber in Division 6.

LTGs are in direct contact with the individual Clubs from the district level. They have many responsibilities from talking to everyone and getting out information to just listening to the individuals and making sure they are heard.

“Jaslyn is a great Key Clubber and a great student,” said Slusher. “She wanted to get involved for community service, but after attending district Key Club convention last year she realized how much bigger the organization itself was.”

According to Slusher, this inspired her to get involved even more, and so she decided to run for office at the district level, which means she now represents Key Clubs in seven counties across Kentucky and Tennessee and hundreds of Key Clubbers. Wall has now been a part of Middlesboro Key Club for three years

“She never misses a service project and I am thankful to have her as a member of this Club,” said Slusher.

“When I first started I thought of community service as just something you need for college but through Key Club I now see it as something everyone should do to make the community a better place,” said Wall.

“They [Ronald McDonald House] are so kind to the families in need and I feel that’s why we chose to work with them, their mission is to give to the people who need it most and a major part of Key Club is giving.”

MHS Key Club currently has around 45 members ranging from grades 9-12 at Middlesboro High School. These are students who want to impact their school and community through service, and have a heart for helping others.

“There is no GPA requirement to be in Key Club,” said Slusher. “We simply want students who are hungry to improve their leadership skills, perform community service, and have a lot of fun in the process.”

Middlesboro Key Club includes grades 9-12, all of whom desire to become a leader in their  school and community and wish to provide service to others. Each member of a Key Club must be willing to perform at least 50 hours a year of combined service to their home, school and community. The officers of the Key Club include Drew Martin, President; Alexis Marsee, Secretary; Madilynn Jackson, Treasurer; and Jaslyn Wall vice President who also serves on the district Key Club board as the Lt. Governor for the Kentucky-Tennessee district of Key Club International.

Key Club has numerous service activities throughout the year, these include local projects and the national Key Club projects. Some of the local ones include picking up trash on Cumberland Ave, RoHo shopping, a canned food drive for CCM, and helping with Cops4Kids. Some of Key Clubs national projects include “Trick or Treat for UNICEF” where club members trick or treat for spare change on Halloween raising money for UNICEF. They also pack shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child which sends Christmas presents to students overseas.

“Usually every active member will end the Key Club year with close to 20 hours of community service,” said Slusher. “These are just a few of the great work our students do.”