Cathedral Key Club wins several district awards
NATCHEZ — Football might steal some of the glory for the Green Wave, but trophies lining the windowsill in Cheryl Hunt’s classroom show students apply as much grit to taking out the trash.
The Cathedral Key Club met Tuesday for one of the group’s last lunchtime meetings of the year in which Club President Sarah Beth Willard divvied out instructions.
In elementary school one building over, teachers don’t have high-school-sized students in their classes to help when it comes time for the crate paper to come down. So Willard told club members to be available to help elementary teachers take down their decorations as the year ends.
The group also planned to pitch in with a community clean up last weekend. Although it was eventually rained out, member Rachel Benoit said she was up at 5 a.m., ready to shuttle her fellow key clubbers to the mess.
Not all of their projects involve litter pick up, but humbling themselves to serve the community is something that has brought the students rewards both internally and on the windowsill, some said.
“You can’t really be yourself unless you do something through others,” Key Club member Cody Bradford said.
With only a few days of school left, the group still has a number of projects planned. Additionally, the Key Club will maintain a garden at the school during their summer vacation.
The 44-member strong group is well organized. There are board members, a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer.
“Our secretary is good about sending texts,” Bradford said.
In fact, he said he receives a Key Club related text message nearly every day.
The club completed nearly 70 projects this year and earned a number of awards recently at a Key Club conference in Baton Rouge.
Cathedral’s Key Club was recognized as a Diamond-Distinguished club, one of only three clubs in the district, which is comprised of Louisiana, Mississippi and Western Tennessee. Advisor Jean Benoit said this is the fourth year the club has earned the distinction, and Cathedral’s Key Club will be recognized for it at the international convention this summer in Orlando.
Cathedral, which is part of the Louisiana, Mississippi, West-Tennessee District, received first place in the category of single service project for a walk for the poor, which Bradford and fellow member Kandice Bailey chaired.
“It is very rewarding to us — when we hand over a check, to see their faces light up,” Bradford said.
The walk for the poor raised $500 for the Sunshine Children’s Shelter, $800 for the Stewpot and helped gather a pick-up truck full of canned goods for the Stewpot.
Also at the district convention, the club won first place for its year-in-review scrapbook.
Both the scrapbook and the single service project will now compete on the international level, Jean Benoit said.
The club won second place for a project benefitting St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and second place in the major emphasis project category for a project called “Project Eliminate,” chaired by Andrew Carter.
Deanna Hayden was elected Lt. Governor of District 15, and Rachel Benoit was elected governor of the district, which means she oversees the district board that includes 120 schools across three states. Rachel recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with 32 other governors for leadership training. She is the first student from Mississippi in 10 years to be named governor of the district.
Bradford said much of the acknowledgment for the impact the school club has been able to make is owed to club advisors Jean Benoit and Hunt.
Willard said it also helps that the students enjoy finding fun ways to help the community.
“We have a bunch passionate members,” Willard said.
Though many members have given up several weekends and hours of time to serve the community, they all seem to agree.
“It’s worth it,” Willard said.