UHS Key Club captures District honors
Published 9:26 am Thursday, April 7, 2016
Members of Unaka High School’s Key Club recently captured top honors in their district for their community service and one member received a scholarship.
The UHS Key Club won first place honors for their Major Emphasis project out of the entire Kentucky-Tennessee District, which includes 15 separate divisions. The club received the award at their District Conference.
“We didn’t even expect to get it,” Key Club Secretary Danielle Combs said of the award. “Our club just started last year and we were expecting these other big schools to get it.”
“When they called out our name we were shocked,” Combs added.
Each Key Club must pick a major emphasis which the club works to raise funds or awareness for. The UHS club picked something very close to home and close to their hearts — Spina Bifida.
“Spina Bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States. Every day, about eight babies born in the United States have Spina Bifida or a similar birth defect of the brain and spine,” the Club said in the report they had to turn in to qualify for the award. “One of those babies was born to our own library media specialist at Unaka High School. Brody McInturff was born Jan. 6, 2014, with myelomeningocele, hydrocephalus, Chiari malformation II, and neurogenic bladder and bowel. Few people understand or are even familiar with what these defects mean to a child, his family and his community.”
“The Key Club of Unaka High School has taken on the goal to raise awareness of Spina Bifida and to educate our school and community about Spina Bifida and its repercussions,” the Club added in the report. “Our Key Club also wanted to financially assist the McInturff family in purchasing the varied medical equipment which Brody needs.”
The UHS Key Club has held two Spina Bifida Walk-a-thons to help raise awareness and funding.
“One girl in our club went around to local businesses and got over $200 in gift cards donated,” Combs said, adding those were then placed in a silent auction during one of the Walk-a-thons.
The group also has sold t-shirts, wrist bands and a variety of other items as fundraisers.
In total, the group raised $3,800 through their activities. The Club donated $400 to the Spina Bifida Association and the remainder to the McInturff family to help them purchase items for Brody.
Both of the Club’s faculty sponsors — UHS teachers Marsha Greenwell and Larissa Trivette — are proud of the work done by the students and thrilled that their hardwork was rewarded with some recognition.
“Our Club members are usually the ones working behind the scenes to get things done,” Trivette said. “I was glad to see they got something in return and some recognition for their hard work.”
Trivette said it was a pleasant surprise when they heard they had won first place because they were going up against many larger schools that had more student and had been active clubs for much longer.
“It was nice to see the underdog pull through,” she said with a laugh.
Greenwell said she is pleased with the number of students at UHS to participate in Key Club and is proud of their efforts.
“I think it teaches them self-discipline and I think it’s wonderful they want to serve the community,” she said.
In addition to the award captured by the Club, Combs also received her own honor. Combs was named as one of three students in the entire Kentucky-Tennessee District to receive the Key Club International Matching Scholarship, which is valued at $1,000. One of the key elements to the scholarship is demonstrating service to the community, and over the past year Combs has logged more than 300 hours of community service.