EWHS Key Club nets honors at convention
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 14, 2014 1:47 PM
Eastern Wayne High School Key Club President Austin Jeffreys leads the club's weekly meeting in the media center before classes begin.
Since being chartered in 1996, the Key Club at Eastern Wayne High School has become one of the most active organizations on campus, its adviser, Vince Beasley, says.
A social studies teacher at the school, Beasley helped launch the club, which is affiliated with the Sunrise Kiwanis. The student-led service organization currently has about 60 members.
"This year we've had one of our most active groups that I've seen in a while," Beasley said, estimating the core group at between 40 and 50. "Many students have been willing to take on leadership rolls, and that makes all the difference in the success of the club."
It was an especially impressive year for the club at the Carolinas District Convention, which was held in Durham.
Junior Cullen Tyndall was elected Carolinas District Governor for 2014-15, overseeing more than 230 high school clubs in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was also recognized at the installation banquet as one of only three distinguished lieutenant governors for 2013-14.
Junior Matt Biggs was elected to the district board as one of more than 20 lieutenant governors, each of whom oversees a division comprised of about a half-dozen Key Clubs.
Hannah Wiser, a senior member, received a third-place finish in the annual oratorical contest.
The club itself was awarded the Walter Zeller Fellowship, which recognizes donations over the past two years to UNICEF. The EW club, which holds a "Trick or Treat for UNICEF" fundraiser each fall, brought in more than $1,200 in donations for that cause and also generated money for the N.C. Boys and Girls Homes at Lake Waccamaw, an orphanage supported by the N.C. and S.C. Key Clubs.
Beasley was named "Outstanding Faculty Adviser" for the Carolinas district.
Tyndall, 16, is fairly new to the Key Club experience, having gotten involved last year.
The experience of going to that first convention -- attended by more than 500 high schoolers -- proved to be an "eye-opening experience" for the group, Beasley said.
"Going to district convention, they can see the big picture, how much they can do collectively," Beasley said.
"Once you get into it and you see how it all works, you see the difference you can make as we all work together," Tyndall said. "It becomes more than something to put on a college application."
Biggs, 17, says he has aspirations of going to N.C. State University and studying engineering. He already knows he will continue his affiliation with Circle K, the college-level Key Club.
"I have always wanted to be in politics," Tyndall said. "I think I'm going to go in that direction, but definitely Circle K. This has been something that's helped me in a lot of ways."
One of those was in the area of public speaking.
"When I started last year, as lieutenant governor, public speaking, it was bad," the 16-year-old said. "I became more comfortable. Especially now, I have been working to find my role as the new leader."
The EW chapter works closely with its sponsor, Sunrise Kiwanis, on local activities and service projects such as volunteering at the Greater Goldsboro Road Run and Pig in the Park, as well as district and state projects.
Biggs, who has been in the club since freshman year, said among the most meaningful experiences he has had was to see the investment students can make, citing a visit made to the N.C. Boys and Girls Home.
"It was really cool to see the chapel we helped build. They're so grateful," he said.
Tyndall said one of his goals for the coming year in office is to generate more interest among his peers.
"The main thing I want to do is increase the active members in our district," he said. "I think if we can get more kids to district convention or district events in general, they'll see the magnitude."
"The fact that the students are the ones that run the club and make it what it is makes it an even better experience," Beasley said.