04/06/12 — WEMCHS student Key Club governor

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WEMCHS student Key Club governor

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 6, 2012 1:46 PM

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Josh Wiggins, a junior at Wayne Early/Middle College High School, was named district governor for Key Clubs in North and South Carolina.

As early as elementary and middle school, Josh Wiggins was drawn to leadership roles.

"I always loved public speaking, doing presentations and stuff," the 17-year-old junior at Wayne Early/Middle College High School said.

He has honed the interest, playing piano at his church, Calypso Baptist, participating in Junior Leadership Wayne County, and serving as secretary of the school's Student Government Association and president of the Multi-Cultural Club. But perhaps his greatest passion has been Key Club, a service group affiliated with Kiwanis Club.

The school, introduced on the Wayne Community College campus in 2006, has had a Key Club for the past three years. Its about 80 members have been very active in the community, Wiggins said.

"We always give money to service partners (like UNICEF, Children's Miracle Network and March of Dimes) and district projects like Boys and Girls Home in Lake Waccamaw," he said. "We help out with the Kiwanis train at Herman Park every weekend."

Wiggins became interested in the club from the outset.

"As a freshman, a lot of the sophomores at the time were telling me about it," he recalls.

He quickly rose through the ranks, becoming one of 36 lieutenant governors for the Carolinas District, encompassing North and South Carolina. He served as liaison for his division, which included seven high schools, four of them in Wayne County -- WEMCH, Goldsboro, Charles B. Aycock and Eastern Wayne.

He was especially inspired by senior Brinson Mitchell, elected district governor this past year for the Carolinas District.

"I always looked up to him," Wiggins said. "Our school being such a strong club inspired me to go into a higher position within Key Club. My adviser, Mrs. McD, she didn't tell me to do it but she asked if that was something I wanted to do."

Mrs. McD -- Kim McArthur Dudley -- credits the school's students with making the club a success. A third student, Keiko Gurley, a 2010 graduate of WEMCH, was also a lieutenant governor and, now a sophomore at N.C. State University, is district governor of Circle K, the collegiate version of Key Club.

Even if students don't aspire to office, though, its service opportunities will benefit them in the future, she said.

"Key Club is all about promoting leadership in the community so that they can go back and help their community," she said.

For Wiggins, he knew from the start he wanted to serve.

"Probably at the second board meeting, I saw Brinson taking the leadership role," he said. "I liked the position, I liked the thought of having the responsibility and being able to make a difference not only in the club but on a district level.

"I have always been passionate for Key Club. I knew I wanted to do more than just at club level."

He decided to run for higher office, and at the March convention in Orlando, Florida, threw his hat in the ring for district governor. The pool of candidates started at four but two dropped out, he said.

"It was basically me and another guy -- we were both lieutenant governors so we both had the same amount of experience going into it," he said.

He won.

The school also earned several awards at the convention, including Distinguished Club Diamond, the highest award given for such things as service hours, club growth and participation; a certificate of appreciation from Boys and Girls Home; first place in talent competition, Kiwanis Family Relations Award and single service award; second place for digital poster contest, non-traditional scrapbook, club video and major emphasis award; and third place, oratorical competition.

Despite the impressive resume he is building, which will include much travel in the coming year -- as the "face of the district" -- and to such places as Indianapolis, Washington, D.C., and Florida, Wiggins said it has never been about political aspirations.

"I love being able to see how we help the community," he said. "We send the money like to UNICEF and everything. As a regular member you don't necessarily see what it goes to but whenever you have a higher position, you can see where it goes.

"I didn't join to become a leader. What appealed to me was helping people. My hope as governor is that I can pass on that passion and get people really fired up for Key Club and help people get involved."