Unaka Key Club receives bevy of accolades from district convention

Published 9:55 pm Friday, March 24, 2017

With 1,500 hours of work in the community, the Unaka High School Key Club is no stranger to staying busy.
The work by the group of Rangers was recently recognized at high-level during the Kentucky-Tennessee (K-T) District Convention held in Gatlinburg with the club coming away with multiple awards for their work.
“I’m very privileged to be able to advise and mentor a group of individuals that spends countless amount of hours working to give back to the community,” said Kayla Clawson, Unaka High School Key Club chapter advisor. “We are a 46-member club and our club ranges from freshmen to seniors. We’ve even had a few alumni come back and help us with a few things.”
Key Clubs across the country are branches of Kiwanis International, which spreads the messages of giving back to the community.
“They’re learning community skills and what the true definition of giving back is,” Clawson said.
The message was taken to heart by the students by taking part in a bevy of activities.
“This year we spent a lot of time at the Ronald McDonald House,” the advisor said. “We also spent a lot of time at Pine Ridge Care and Rehab. We tried to look at different populations to give back to. We also had a coat drive with Elizabethton’s Key Club and we were able to accumulate over 170 coats that we were able to give back to the community.”
Individual and club awards earned by Unaka High School include:
• Jadia Walters – Ronald D. Hart Outstanding Key Club President for K-T District
• Chandler Thomas – First Place Impromptu Essay Contest Winner, Outstanding Key Club Secretary for the K-T District and Division 7 Most Outstanding Key Clubber.
• Cassidy Norris – First Place Individual Service to the Ronald McDonald House for K-T District
• Division 7 Most Outstanding Club
• Outstanding Service as Silver Level ($500 or more in donation of monetary value for work with the Ronald McDonald House)
• Dues on Time Award
• First Place Single Service Award (Silver Section: Pine Ridge Care and Rehabilitation Center)
• Second Place Ronald McDonald House Pop Tab Contest
• Second Place Annual Achievement (Silver Section)
• Third Place Ronald McDonald House Club Service for K-T District
• Third Place Major Emphasis for K-T District (Ronald-a-Month Project)
It was an exciting moment for Walters, who has taken up a leadership role and helps drive her peers, according to Clawson.
“I was just ecstatic honestly,” Walters, a junior, said with a smile about her award as Outstanding Key Club President.
Thomas, a senior, praised the faculty for their assistance in helping her win the essay contest.
“I had a really good English teacher (Mr. Ward),” she said. “I was super nervous. There were 25 people in there with me but I just used what he taught me and wrote what I knew.”
While exciting, the students aren’t in it for the publicity, according to the president of the club.
“I think I speak for the whole club by saying we didn’t want the awards and recognition,” she said. “I think the impact we were able to make over the past year was the biggest award we were able to have. We have such a great club and I’m glad they’re recognized. ”
Along with the awards, the school was able to receive a special presentation from representatives of the Thirst Project — which promotes clean drinking water in third world countries.
Unaka High School partnered with the organization and was able to raise $130 with a recent envelope project.

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