O’NEALS – Key Club members from Minarets High School left town in the wee early hours of the morning on Sunday, Dec. 30, and made their way south to Pasadena, California. What was their mission? These 9 young leaders were off to decorate floats for the renowned Tournament of Roses Parade.
Float decorating Key Club members include Hayden Righter, Michaela Brost, Dakota Kudra, Sienna Pillsbury, Janina Reinartz, Kelea Kamalani, Raegan Melfe, Rachel Olivas and Grant Hall.
Minarets teacher and Key Club Advisor Therese Righter, and parent volunteer Saroya Melfe, were on hand in Pasadena to chaperone the students.“We are all working on the Department of Defense (DOD) Korean War Memorial Float,” reported Righter from the field in Pasadena, where students were hard at work. The DOD is commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War with a float that reflects the Korean War monument in Washington, D.C.
“Hayden and Michaela are about 15 feet in the air on the back of a float, placing individual roses and orchids in the trees,” continued Righter. “Other members are placing red and white roses on the flag stripes, gluing silver leaves on the soldier’s coats and gluing individual carnation petals on the sign.”
Sophmore Dakota Kudra was one of the students who braved the cold and long drive to help Kiwanis International and float organizers in Pasadena. She has been a Key Club member for about 2 years.
“I heard about it from a friend of mine and it’s really good for the community. I thought it sounded like fun and a good thing to do for the community and everybody around school,” Kudra said.
The students traveled to Pasadena with other Key Club kids from around the state. Key Club is an international student-led organization that gives members “opportunities to provide service, build character and develop leadership,” according to the Minarets Key Club Facebook page. The Minarets group has participated in a number of volunteer activities, many related to the Kiwanis organization it ultimately feeds into.
“I never saw myself doing this,” Kudra reflected, referring to volunteer activities in general, “but once you get into it and you’re a full participant, it’s really fun and you feel really good about yourself when you’re helping other people.”
The Tournament of Roses Parade, which dates back to 1890, steps off in Pasadena at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 1, and includes bands, equestrian groups and world-famous floral floats. The parade is televised and watched in over 200 countries.