Despite COVID-19 concerns canceling this year’s Key Club District Convention in Portland, awards were handed out virtually. Once again, Chilliwack’s two student-led groups have earned high praise. (Submitted photo)

Convention called off for Key Clubs, but Chilliwack still earns awards

‘To be recognized at this level is truly amazing!’

In late February, the two Chilliwack high school clubs were informed that their annual district convention planned for March in Portland was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. But they have also learned the lesson that where there is a will, there is a way.

The two ‘Key Clubs’ — Kiwanis-sponsored high school clubs — work all year helping the community, and like other groups look forward to the event as a highlight that finishes off the year. This cancellation not only impacted Chilliwack’s clubs, but 2,000 other students from Northern California, Oregon, Washington State, Idaho and Alaska.

Each year at the student-led convention, a new board is elected, clubs are awarded recognition for their service work, and leadership sessions are held for the participants. Each club submits their voting delegates, an annual club report, and applies for club recognition in the form of awards for the service projects completed annually. There are also social activities and opportunities to form friendships with members from other clubs.

And all this seemed to be in jeopardy when the cancellation was announced.

The two clubs are from GW Graham and Sardis secondary, and in total there were six students and two chaperones planning to go. They’d spent three months planning and fundraising.

“They were extremely disappointed, but accepted this decision with heavy hearts and with graciousness,” said Sheila Scoble, advisor for the clubs. “They realized the impact of this not only on themselves but the rest of the District, especially the District board.”

But their hard work all year still paid off.

“Both local clubs have received honors from District for their service projects,” Scoble reports. “Based on the annual club reports that were submitted, both GW Graham and Sardis were recognized for prompt payment of dues, plus achieved Distinguished Club status for submitting reports and Kiwanis family participation.”

Both clubs also earned the “6 for 65 Award” which recognizes that at least six members contributed 65 service hours or more. Sardis Key Club also earned a Silver Award for increasing their club membership this year.

GW Graham repeated their achievement of last year by earning the top award for District Service Hours, based on the average of hours per member. With regular monthly projects such as helping with the Kiwanis Soup Kitchen, Key Club members quickly achieved impressive numbers of service hours.

Sardis earned the Single Service Project award in recognition of their Ride to Scare Cancer last October, that raised over $10,000 for B.C. Children’s Hospital and the Kiwanis Children’s Cancer Program. This was a huge one day event that required full club participation and months of preparation and planning.

Both clubs were in direct competition for these awards with nearly 4,000 fellow Key Club students in the District.

“To be recognized at this level is truly amazing!” Scoble notes.

GW Graham’s Executive and the Kiwanis Advisor nominated a club member this year for the “Outstanding Key Club Member” award. A full record of this person’s service hours plus a letter of recommendation from peers on the board was required. As well, a letter from the advisor had to be submitted. This is the top individual award given at the District level called the “Malcolm Lewis Outstanding Key Club Member” and also comes with a scholarship. It is with great pride we announce that Ana Mara was chosen this year. This young lady has been Past President this year for the club, plus has contributed over 175 hours of service to her school and community this year alone.

Scoble says they now await a time for all the COVID-19 issues to be resolved so they can fully celebrate their Key Club accomplishments.

“The future is in great hands with the spirit and resourcefulness that has been shown by these students in challenging circumstances,” she says.

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