June 25, 2017

Key Club organizes service trip to New Orleans

By Samantha Kizner '19 Arts Editor

While rebuilding communities, students will visit locations like Bourbon Street (pictured) in New Orleans’ French Quarter.

At the start of the summer, Key Club will hold a service trip to New Orleans. Students will not only complete 40 hours of community service as they help to build houses in areas destroyed by hurricane Katrina but also experience the city’s unique culture.

The club has never taken a service trip before but has been working to do so for nearly four years. “I was approached by students, who have since graduated, who asked about running a service trip,” Key Club advisor Ms. Maura Renzella said. “Each year more and more students have asked me the same question, and finally this year we were able to run a trip,” she said.

Part of the inspiration to organize a service trip was the trips other departments and clubs within the high school have taken before.

“We were inspired by the Art Department’s trips to all these places around the world, and we thought that since so many kids are involved in Key Club, this would be something that they would want to do,” Key Club president Abby Yuan ’17 said.

The interest and initiative demonstrated by the Key Club officers acts as the chief reason Continued on Page 2 the club will run a trip this year. The Key Club publicized their service trips with fliers throughout the school and a video message on the Friday morning announcements. “The officers really took ownership of this trip,” Renzella said.

Due to the importance she sees in giving back to a different community, Renzella made sure students would do the greatest amount of service hours possible in the seven day period of June 24 to July 1 spent in New Orleans. She planned the trip with the help of not only the Key Club officers, but also the company Rustic Pathways.

Rustic Pathways is an organization that offers service trips and programs throughout the world. They incorporate service and education into each of their trips, and this organization plays a vital role in the execution of this trip.

Although the Key Club officers planned the trip quite recently. Sign-ups for the trip, which included a short application of answering questions about what community service meant to the applicants, ended at the end of January. The trip was originally only open to the nearly 200 Key Club members, but any student at the high school could apply.

While this trip centers around community service, it will also incorporate experienes in the unique culture of New Orleans. Students will see a jazz show, shop in the city’s French market, and visit the St. Louis Cathedral among many other activities. “The service and culture are definitely intertwined,” said Yuan.

Another important aspect to the trip, stressed by Key Club treasurer Eleanor Boyd ’18, is the fact that it allows students to do work outside of their own town. “This is going to be an amazing experience for students to be able to understand the true impact of their volunteer work, which I think will help people understand how important it is to give back,” said Boyd.

Renzella also traces the importance of the trip, which she and math teacher John Fantini will both supervise, to getting out of Wellesley to give back. “We take one or two annual trips within the state, but nothing on a scale like this. This trip takes our service another step forward, into a different socioeconomic environment,” Renzella said.

“When we are able to work together to build a tangible structure like a house, it will be apparent to all the students how significant their impact can be,” said Boyd.

Throughout the year, Key Club holds many events and volunteers around town with the goal of helping the local community. Key Club is the the high school’s official community service club, and also a part of the Key Club International organization

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