Key Club unlocks students’ full potential

Club of the Month

Key+Club+officers%2C+from+left+to+right%3A+Stephanie+Wong%2C+Vanessa+Wang%2C+Camila+Pimentel%2C+Michelle+Perez%2C+Nicole+Dominguez%2C+and+Danielle+Alvarado.

Ryan Smith, The Freelancer

Key Club officers, from left to right: Stephanie Wong, Vanessa Wang, Camila Pimentel, Michelle Perez, Nicole Dominguez, and Danielle Alvarado.

Ryan Smith, Managing Editor

A common misconception about Key Club: It is not about keys. It is about being a key leader, and being the key to changing the world.

“To someone who doesn’t know about Key Club, I would say that we are committed to community service, but we are also about being a good person and being out there,” said Michelle Perez, the club’s president.

Key Club is the world’s oldest and largest high school service organization, founded in 1925. La Serna’s members can be seen tidying up the greenhouse on Saturday mornings, serving food at Concerts in the Park, or donating handmade cards to the pediatric unit of the Whittier Presbyterian Hospital. They have even helped decorate floats for the Rose Parade and volunteered for the Special Olympics. With so much going on, Key Club members are able to find events that suit their passions.

“My favorite service events were the recent Concerts in the Park at Parnell Park, because I like music personally. I went to the Motown one, and the Beatles one, and when I went, I was singing lots of songs. I was serving food and I got to really know the people there,” Perez said.

“I liked [a Halloween 5k run in Uptown Whittier] because I like running. People were running in their costumes, and it was really fun,” said club treasurer Nicole Dominguez. The club’s Vice President, Camila Pimentel added to that: “People were so energetic, and it was cool because it wasn’t just Key Club. It was literally the whole community.”

Beyond service, Key Club takes pleasure in being collaborative. Stephanie Wong, secretary, said, “I think a big part of Key Club is building connections with people and helping peers.” The club was designed to be that way; it is the high school level of a larger community service organization known as Kiwanis International, which celebrated its 100th birthday recently. Kiwanis helps Key Club in carrying out service and the two help to oversee similar organizations at the elementary and middle school levels. It is also worth noting that Key Club is present in over 30 countries. La Serna’s division includes clubs at Cal High, La Habra High School, and Sunny Hills High School.

It is a testament to Key Club’s long-held stellar reputation that the club’s advisor, Mrs. Nandini Patel, was in Key Club herself as a high school student. She is proud of where the club is now. She said, “I think [the club has] been doing a really good job. Even over the summer, [they are] constantly communicating and making sure there are events for people to do.”

Perez encourages students to step out of their comfort zone and give Key Club a try. “Of course every freshman, every student, is scared to join a club when their friend isn’t in it. In Key Club, though, we go to so many different events and we really do meet friends from other schools – even from other divisions – if they don’t have friends here. For example, we have friends at schools like La Habra that are even in Key Club. People should really get out there. I didn’t think I was ever going to be president of Key Club. If it wasn’t for all the fun I had, and all the people I met, I wouldn’t be here.”

Key Club meets Thursdays, second half of lunch, in room O100.

This story was updated on November 12, 2016, to correct the room number.