By Kathryn Odgers, student journalist for Minarets Press
O’NEALS — After twenty-seven young students began their day by being greeted as they got off the bus by the Minarets’ parking lot, the group was led down to where Key Club had set up their meeting room. The students were excited to come to the high school as many had never been to one, but also to see how Key Club works at the high school level.
Key Club adviser Therese Righter said she wanted to give the students a connection to later parts in the Kiwanis group. “It’s giving them a connection of that there’s more to come if they stick with this, and this is what it looks like at a high school level,” she said.
Key Club met up with the Oakhurst Elementary students on Jan. 16, at Minarets High School for a day to give them experience and a memory they won’t forget.
Key Club members and students introduced themselves and their roles in both of their organizations, an icebreaker exercise that allowed everyone to get to know each other. “This was probably the first time for many of them to come to Minarets High School and they got to meet our Key Club members and board members,” Key Club President Payton Poore said. “We also did a bingo game to make sure everyone knew each other’s names.”
Students were very energetic and excited as they ran around to try and fill in their bingo spaces by finding ten Key Club members and students that matched the spaces. For Key Club members, elementary students asked them lots of questions and were able to interact with a lot of the K-Kids. “A bunch of kids were coming up to me asking me all these random questions like, “Do you like sushi? Are you left-handed?”and that was very fun to deal with.”
Senior Lindsay Martin, a member of Key Club said, “I sat down on a table with three girls and they wanted to be with me for the rest of the day. They found out that they were in my tour group and they were just like, “Noooo, I want to go with Ms. Lindsay.” Then one of the girls that sat at that table at the end came in like hugged my leg and they’re like, “Thank you so much.” They were adorable,” Lindsay commented.
The elementary students were then led around in different groups to tour the campus, meeting with different teachers among English, Art, Drama, History, and even the school’s farm near the lower part of campus. Teachers such as Mrs. Garner, who has had her son in K-Kids last year, had a little surprise for the students with some candy, which the children delighted in.
Students were also able to experience Drama and English teacher Mrs. West’s room, which is filled with different kinds of props and posters, and Lindsay was part of the groups that toured around campus, giving students an experience to see a high school for the first time. “You wouldn’t think a kid would be interested in taking a tour of a high school, but they were really excited,” Lindsay remarked. “They met a bunch of different teachers and engaged with the kids by asking them questions and the K-Kids really liked that.”
For many students, they were eager to see the sheep and other animals that the school takes care of, along with the Agricultural Department, such as the welding shop and floral rooms. After the tours had commenced, the K-Kids enjoyed their lunches with the Key Club members.
Key Club members wanted to show the K-Kids what a real meeting was like and so the elementary students were able to watch how a meeting functions and to also hear from the students as well. President Payton Poores initiated the meeting by ringing the bell, and talked about their pledge, agenda, and showcased some of the service opportunities Key Club does for the community and school. K-Kids then proceeded with their pledge and talked about what they did at their school. “K-Kids help walk the younger students to the buses, voting kind words, and other things they only do at their school.
Their main fundraiser for the year is selling ice cream at the Kawania’s Gold Car Show in September, and that’s where we always see them at,” Mrs. Righter commented. Payton also presented the K-Kids with a gavel, “We gave them a gavel that we presented to them to help with their K-Kids meetings, and it was also Emily’s birthday as well so she adjourned the meeting and they all loved that,” she said. “We walked them to the buses after and I liked waving at them, they were all waving back and showed that they had the best time. You can tell they truly enjoyed being in K-Kids and they enjoy doing this stuff by helping others because they were all having a blast and really nice.”
The local communities have never had a K-Kids club other than Oakhurst Elementary. Senior Payton Poore’s created at Spring Valley Elementary School K-Kids as part of her Student Legacy Experience to change that. Key Club wanted to give students an opportunity to experience what a Key Club was and to have them excited for the future. “Yosemite High School does not currently have a Key Club,” Mrs. Righter began, “Oakhurst kids don’t have anything or anybody to bridge that gap. My children went to Oakhurst Elementary and so I’ve known their adviser, Mrs. Murphy, for years, and we were talking at the car show and she wanted them to come to see Minarets, so I told them to come on down!”.
“It’s really inspiring getting to know that you’re helping the people around here from little kids to people that are as old as your grandparents. This year was my first year and I’m sad that I didn’t do it all my other years, kids, it’s been so much fun and rewarding. It will follow you through the rest of your life college people look at it like it, it’s you know, that all the hard work you put in will help you through the rest of your life. So if you like helping people and if you like going to like huge events all over California doing it because there are so many fun events that we do.” said Lindsay.
Key Club meets every Thursday in room 607 (Mrs. Righter’s room), if you would like to see and experience how a meeting initiates and the many roles students play in volunteering.