Key Club celebrates 55 years at Southington High

Key Club members leaf through club scrapbooks during a 55th anniversary celebration on March 28.

Key Club members leaf through club scrapbooks during a 55th anniversary celebration on March 28.

By TAYLOR HARTZ
STAFF WRITER

The Key Club at Southington High School (SHS) marked its 55th anniversary earlier this month. With more than 100 students involved in the international organization’s Southington chapter, the student-led group has encouraged community service, character development, and leadership since 1961.

Students, staff, and former Key Club members celebrated the milestone on Thursday, March 28, with refreshments, slideshows, and a “History of Southington” discussion at SHS.

Founded through the non-profit Kiwanis International, the club traces its beginning to California in 1925. Currently, it reaches more than 260,000 students in 30 countries.

The club’s mission, “service above self” urges students to help others in their school and community. Elizabeth Hosmer, club advisor for 17-years, said she is “proud of the work that our club does each and every year.”

Homser, who was a “Keyette” when she attended SHS, said she and co-advisor Debbie O’Brien “have seen our students fulfill the Key Club mission in their own way.”

Former Councilman Len Marcheselle, of the Kiwanis Club, talks to students at the Key Club anniversary celebration.

Former Councilman Len Marcheselle, of the Kiwanis Club, talks to students at the Key Club anniversary celebration.

The club’s motto, “Caring is our Way of Life,” is instilled in students throughout the year as they participate in a full calendar of events.

“The list is endless, and we have new projects added each year,” said Hosmer. The Key Club sponsors several events that help students, staff, and parents in Southington schools, including a welcome event for freshman each August, serving as tour guides during Open House and Parent Teacher Conferences, and providing childcare for parents during Parent Teacher Organization meetings at Hatton and Strong elementary schools.

Outside of school, members help organize events such as Halloween festivities at the Southington Drive-In, flag laying ceremonies on Veteran’s Day, holiday bell ringing, and food drives with the U.S. Postal Service.

Many of their events have been part of the community for years. Key Club members have organized a Halloween party at the Southington Public Library for the last 25 years. Members have held a Kiddie Carnival every March for 35 years, and Key Club students host annual blood drives and fundraisers for local charities.

On March 28, Key Club members and alumni enjoyed food from local vendors, including Sassy Mama Sweets, and current students heard from original Key Club members Art Secondo and Alan Debisschop, who shared memories about the club’s first year.

“We had representation from almost every decade at our celebration,” said Hosmer, “and we look forward to having a 60th celebration.”

Photos by TAMMI NAUDUS

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Key Club-looking at scrapbooks of the club (2)Key Club -Art Secondo-former member Key Club-Advisor Beth Hosmer and Alan DeBisschop talk to key club members (1) Key Club-Beth Hosmer-Key Club Advisor Key Club-Len Marcheselle-Kiwanis Club (2)

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