AHS Clubhouse: The Key Club

Ashland High School Key Club members have been performing community service for the school and Ashland since 1987. The club, which is part of an international organization, has 47 members and uncountable supporters because it organizes fun, rewarding events to build leadership skills.

On Jan. 25, students moved to the pop-alternative sounds of Goodnight Argent at a school dance organized by club members Liv Knox and Bailey Robinson that raised $500 for Project Educate Jamaica, which funds deprived schools.

During Valentine's Week, the Key Club will make valentine cards and deliver them to residents of the Linda Vista Nursing and Rehab Center in Ashland.

The club meets at lunchtime on Mondays in faculty adviser Devon Ward-Thomme's classroom and is sponsored by the Ashland Kiwanis club. In the fall, members work with the Kiwanis to support the Ashland Monster Dash, a fundraiser for the Ashland Schools.

"The Monster Dash is always fun because we dress in costume and direct the runners and make sure they stay hydrated," says Natalie Acheatel, a senior who has been the club president for two years.

Other club projects include Relay for Life, Special Olympics, Ashland Food Drive, and purchasing clothes and toys for needy children in Ashland.

"Bell-ringing is one of my favorite times of year," Acheatel said. "We stand outside Bi-Mart and sing Christmas carols, asking for donations for the Salvation Army."

She says shopping for needy kids is one of the most fulfilling activities. "We get a card with a kid's name on it, saying what he or she wants for Christmas," Acheatel said. "And then we're given a certain budget to fulfill their wish."

Internationally, the club supports not only Project Educate Jamaica but also the United Nations Children's Fund, which works to eliminate maternal neonatal tetanus in developing countries, according to Jeanne Walcher of the Ashland Kiwanis.

"Key Club makes it easy and fun to participate in rewarding activities that support our local community," Acheatel said. "And the Ashland Kiwanis Club is so great to work with."

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