On Friday, January 24, Key Club is putting on their second annual community talent show at 7 PM at Lincoln Middle School. Per the club’s press issue on the event, last year’s show featured acts such as singing and comedy from performers from a wide range of ages. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students and children. Proceeds from admission go to Key Club to help enable new community service projects, while proceeds from a Miracle Minute during the show’s intermission go to the Thirst Project, a nonprofit organization that works to provide clean, safe drinking water in Swaziland.
This school year, Key Club has been navigating an advisor transition. Per the PHS Associated Student Body constitution, each recognized club at PHS must have an advisor whose presence is required for club meetings. According to Key Club President Meghna Dutta, in the 2018-2019 school year, Key Club had an out-of-district advisor. This challenged the club to, among other things, coordinate meetings with their advisor. The advisor resigned at the end of that school year, and Key Club scrambled to find someone to replace them. “Obviously, we didn’t want our club to be shut down,” said Meghna. “We wanted to look for a new advisor, but then…we were told…that someone had applied for the position, but no one told us who it was.” Until they were approved, that would remain confidential information, explained Meghna.
Things looked dire, but Mrs. Schertenleib was approved as an in-district advisor for this school year. Between having Schertenleib as a liaison with the school’s administration and access to her classroom space for meetings, Meghna says that “having an in-district advisor has been going a lot more smoothly.”
On the subject of meetings, Key Club’s Activity Lunch meetings consistently have higher attendance than their after-school meetings on Tuesdays. This school year, Activity Lunch saw a fifteen-minute reduction in its duration. This reduction has affected the focus of Key Club meetings.
“Our presentations have…become more informational,” said Meghna. “Instead of talking about a certain cause or a topic…they’re more about, like, ‘Oh, here are the events, here’s the sign up…this is what’s going to happen in the next month.’”
On another note, Meghna commented on the value of service. “You could stand around and…not do anything for four hours, or you could, like, work really hard for two hours and then…actually create an impact,” mused Meghna. “I think a lot of our members who volunteer a lot, they don’t do it…for the hours‒they do it for, like, the intrinsic…satisfaction it brings.”
On a personal level, Meghna identified Key Club’s barbecue in October 2018 as her favorite memory in the club. “It was a very…tame sort of event,” admitted Meghna. She fondly recalled the hands-on experience of preparing burgers and hot dogs and serving them; she felt like she was making an impact. “It was not something I thought I would be able to do, but…we just cooked food and sold them and people were happy.”
Meghna mentioned that it’s important to disallow the details of event planning from clouding the true focus of the club. And as PHS enters its second semester, Meghna aims for Key Club to focus on quality over quantity: “Not more people, but, like, more service…Not more people in general as a quantity, but…more dedication in general.”
The upcoming Key Club talent show, while being a local community-oriented event, also aids an international cause. It raises funds that enable Key Club to continue community service in the future and that directly go to the Thirst Project. This duality is at the heart of Key Club’s values and at the heart of Meghna’s fondness for last year’s barbecue. It’s at the heart of a school club that, according to Meghna, will encourage PHS students to pour out appreciation for each other via Valentine’s Day carnations and, simultaneously, raise more money for the Thirst Project this February.
Key Club is dealing with a possible disconnect between the process of event planning and their reasons for holding them. They are working on infusing “intrinsic satisfaction” into not only carrying out, but organizing their volunteering ventures. But on Friday evening, the Key Club will put on an event true to their duality as a community service group on both a local and international level.