Key Club Sweeps Leadership Conference


Ariella Napoli, Staff Writer

In March, Ward Melville’s Key Club participated in the annual Key Club Leadership Training Conference in Albany. The club won multiple honors, including second place in the Platinum Division of the Single Service Awards for Walk for Beauty and second place for Public Relations and Outstanding Governor’s project for their Water Walk to support the Thirst Project. The club also received the Advocacy Award for Youth Awareness of Mental Illness. In addition, there were 17 Distinguished Key Club members from Ward Melville, the most from any school in New York.

Many students won individual awards as well. The winners included Shannon Dalton, Nicole D’Onofrio, Kyra Durko, Erin McSweeney, Christine Shen, and Donna Yu. However, not only did Donna win the Distinguished Treasurer Award Winner, but she also became the first Ward Melville student elected to hold a statewide position.

Donna notes, “This was actually my second year attending the conference and I definitely enjoyed it a lot more than my first. One of my favorite things at the conference this year was Playfair, where there were a bunch of icebreakers. By the end, you met almost everyone in the room. I also ran for a district position which was very nerve racking at first because I was running against four other people and I had to prepare four different speeches, but in the end it was a lot of fun and I met so many new people from around New York State that loved Key Club just as much as I did.”

She also talked about the great honor of being the first World Melville student to hold a statewide position. “It’s an honor. It was a challenge because the leadership progression is usually a club board position to lieutenant governor to district board, but since the first year I could join Key Club was sophomore year, I didn’t have a chance to be lieutenant governor so I jumped from club treasurer to district treasurer and I was a bit out of the loop at first.

However, she feels that since Key Club was started for the 9th grade levels in both Gelinas and Murphy, there will definitely in the future be more WM students holding district and hopefully some international positions. “It’s great that I am holding the position because it gives other members hope that it is possible,” Donna stated.

Naturally, working toward position was very difficult and time consuming. Nevertheless, Donna feels that it was definitely worth all the hard work. “The results definitely paid off. Even if I hadn’t been elected, I learned so much and gained a great experience. It improved my public speaking a lot. A year ago, I probably wouldn’t have been able to give a speech in front of over 800 people, but it was an experience I will cherish. As district treasurer now, I can also help improve my home club and clubs around New York state by sharing ideas from one to the next.”