Last year, the Key Club at Henry E. Lackey High School only had two members. Although the two students made an impact, Principal Kathy Perriello knew there were others who liked to give back to the community but just did not know how to get involved.
This year, participation in the Lackey Key Club has grown from two students to an active roster of more than 20 members. Perriello took over as club sponsor this year in an effort to recruit more members. “I wanted to grow its participation with students who were looking to get involved,” she said.
All it took was a few morning announcements in which Perriello asked students to join the Key Club. Sophomore Ashton Kolczynski said he joined Key Club after he heard Perriello ask for new members. “I joined after I heard on the announcements what the club was. For me, this is a stress reliever to come to and do fun stuff,” he said.
The group meets weekly and has coordinated community service projects such as food drives and donations for Hospice of Charles County. Most recently, the Key Club worked on tie blankets for the Humane Society of Charles County for use in animal kennels. Using donated supplies, Key Club students met weekly during their one-hour activity period to work on the blankets.
Club members collaborate to determine what projects they will complete. In the fall, the group partnered with Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program students to host a food drive for the Southern Maryland Food Bank. Together, the two groups collected more than 1,000 items for donation. Members also worked on 15 pom-pom mats for the Hospice of Charles County, which they donated in November.
Annie Landgraf, Lackey junior and Key Club president, has been a member of Key Club since ninth grade. She worked with the Kiwanis K-Kids Club in middle school and wanted to continue service learning while at Lackey. As president, she works with club members on ideas and projects. The group then determines what projects would best benefit the community.
“I enjoy helping others. It is important to give back to your community. There are a lot of people out there who are less fortunate than others. I am hoping our next project can benefit either a women’s shelter or the Children’s Aid Society,” Landgraf said.
Most of the Key Club members have a background in community service. Senior Jordyn Sinsel joined Key Club this year as a way to expand her reach in the community. Her experiences include serving as a youth volunteer coach with the SMYO cheerleading group, and volunteer at the Charles County Board of Elections. Sinsel is both the senior class and Key Club vice president and plans to study vascular neurology in college. She said so far, the tie blanket project has been her favorite Key Club experience.
“This blanket project is my favorite. I joined Key Club this year because I really enjoy community service and like to volunteer,” Sinsel said.
For the project, Sinsel worked with Lackey senior Bria Boseman to create a blanket. Boseman joined Key Club this year to explore ways she could give back to the community. “I enjoy making things. My family has a dog and I like to think our blankets will help other animals in need this winter,” she said.
Perriello said she knew her Key Club members were hard workers and great students, but is impressed by their commitment to work together. “This group is committed. They show up every day motivated and want to help the community as a whole. I am hoping the group continues to grow next year as we continue to promote hands are for helping, not for hurting,” Perriello said.
Charles County Public Schools provides 27,108 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.