Picture this: an eighth-grade girl in the back seat of her mom’s car, worried over going to high school and only wanting to fit in. We’ve all heard the horror stories and seen the movies of what high school could be like, from sitting alone in the cafeteria to being picked last for the sports team in gym class. These were the fears I had before attending my first day of high school in 2012.
Would I make new friends? Would I figure out the direction of my life before graduating? Would I be in the “cool crowd” or picked on for liking science? Sitting in the back seat of my mom’s car, these were my legitimate fears, and joining clubs was the last thing on my mind. However, my mom, being the devoted Kiwanian that she was, informed me that I would in fact be joining Key Club upon entering high school.
While this was the beginning of my Key Club journey, it wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I really came to understand the joy this club brings to the lives of its members and the communities they serve. This was the year I learned about the district board and was elected to be the lieutenant governor of my division for my senior year.
Over the course of this year, I met incredible student leaders from around the state and had the opportunity to visit clubs, participate in service projects and travel the state for events. During this time, I met new friends who became my future roommates and best friends, people who have stuck with me for years. I learned to set goals and work hard while also leaving positive impacts on my community.
It would be easy to say that this year encompassed my “proudest Key Club moments,” and for a time, I think it did. I set goals and achieved them, won the Robert F. Lucas award and helped plan international convention. I made to-do lists and checked the boxes.
However, it was not until I began volunteering on the Georgia Key Club Adult Committee that I truly experienced what I would now call my proudest Key Club moments. During this time, I have realized that true pride in my Key Club journey comes when I see the students in our organization work hard and make a difference.
As a member of the Adult Committee, I have had the opportunity to work with student leaders from all over the state of Georgia. On the first district board I helped, I advised three lieutenant governors during their terms. We had monthly calls, and we worked together toward achieving their goals and advancing their divisions and the district as a whole. One of my favorite moments in this organization was seeing them retire at the end of their terms, knowing the impact they made. These students went off to their dream colleges or to serve on future boards, but I know their time on the district board helped shape who they are as individuals today.
Another notable moment was seeing a lieutenant governor from the second board I helped lead her divisional rally. During COVID-19, this board faced an unprecedented year with strength and perseverance, and this lieutenant governor truly went above and beyond. Her rally was incredible — perfectly planned, great attendance and directed with strong leadership. However, what stood out to me most during this 90-minute-long virtual event was the joy on her face and composure throughout it all. She took ownership of the event and took pride in the hard work she put into making it a success. In this moment, my heart swelled with love for this organization and pride over the growth and development of its student leaders.
The purpose of Adult Committee members is to serve the students on the district board. It is to advise and mentor these students, answer questions and step in when needed. It is a back–seat position where the students lead, and we assist when necessary. Every day on the Adult Committee is fulfilling and a time of feeling deep pride in the organization and the students who work tirelessly to make it great. These are my proudest moments: watching this organization shape and empower high school students and in turn seeing them positively impact the communities around them.