Teens getting involved
RHS Key Club members aim to inspire youth, lift up community
By Eileen Persike, Editor
RHINELANDER – A group of Rhinelander High School students had the chance to go back in time last week. Members of the Key Club visited kindergarten students in the school district, presented each one with the book, “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus,” by Mo Willems, and read to them.
Key Club is a student leadership club affiliated with the local Kiwanis group. The idea to purchase books for kids to encourage them to read was brought to club leadership over the summer by RHS English teacher Kelsey Thompson as part of her PhD program. Students raised enough money to purchase two books for each kindergartener to take home with them.
This is the third year that RHS junior Luna Grage is involved with Key Club. She visited Crescent Elementary School and was able to say hello to her kindergarten teacher.
“I grew up looking up to the older kids, especially when they came down to us and read to us it was really special because it made me want to read more on my own,” Grage said. “So I’m glad that I’m able to mirror that now and be able to do it myself. That’s something super cool and now that I’m looking into colleges and looking into my future it’s really nice to look at the past and go back to your childhood a little bit.”
RHS counselor Lexi Allen is the club advisor and Superintendent Eric Burke helps out. There are more than 50 students in Key Club this year, in grades nine through 12. Burke said it’s great to have kids giving back to the community.
“Let me tell you, high school kids today, at Rhinelander and all over, are amazing,” Burke said. “They are doing so many great things for others.
“The big thing I tell the kids at the start of the school year is get involved in something. Things like Key Club, student council, a sport or any kind of club; it’s going to make your school experience that much better,” Burke added.
Throughout the school year the Key Club holds blood drives, helps at the YMCA of the Northwoods Not-So-Scary Halloween Trail, hosts student trivia contests, helps at the Rhinelander Area Food Pantry, assists with school district events and other community service projects.
Though community service isn’t always as fun as reading to kids, Grage said there are ways to make it enjoyable.
“It’s fun to do this with my friends and meet some younger kids I know one day I might see somewhere else in the world,” said Grage. “It’s a fun way to socialize and help my community in a way that’s kind of fun for everyone.”