Key Club International, a part of the Kiwanis International family of service programs, is the oldest and largest service program for high school students. The Winston County Key Club includes 95 members, and, in only six years, the group has gained international recognition for its activity and talents.
Several Winston County club members spoke Monday about the awards the group won at the recent Alabama District Key Club Convention. The club won more than 10 awards, and sponsor Frances Gillentine said they would have won more if it wasn’t for rule changes for the competition.
“They changed the rules, so we couldn’t enter as many competitions this year,” said Gillentine, a math teacher at Winston County High. “Our group is very active, and we are already viewed as one of the top clubs in Alabama. We are proud of what our students have accomplished since the club was started six years ago.”
Winston County student Bella Martinez, the newly-elected district lieutenant governer, shared her award-winning speech with members of the Kiwanis Club of Jasper.
The speech raised awareness for an international Kiwanis project to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT). The organization is teaming up with UNICEF to make the MNT vaccine available to mothers in the 36 countries across the globe where the disease still strikes.
“This club started from scratch six years ago and they have made their mark in that short time and really put Winston County on the map,” said Pam Sullivan, current Jasper Kiwanis president.
Members of the Walker High Key Club, the oldest club in Alabama, also attended Monday’s meeting.
The club currently has 75 members, and it recently opened its membership to females.
“The Walker club has been a pet project of mine,” Sullivan said. “I’m so proud of their growth, and I have big expectations for what that club will be doing in the future.”