Sharing Success at Manitou High

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” Attach a picture of something important to you and explain its significance.

A successful movie producer named Samuel Goldwyn once said, “Luck is the sense to recognize an opportunity and the ability to take advantage of it.” As I read this quote recently in a magazine article, I immediately thought of the Manitou Springs High School Key Club and my role in its beginnings over the past year. It reminded me of how fortunate I feel to be a part of something truly worthwhile, and as I look back on the events leading up to today, I do feel that a certain amount of this “luck” has gone into making my goals for the program a reality. The picture that I have chosen and sent was taken last month on September 15th, the night of the Key Club’s Inaugural Chartering Ceremony. That evening, a major part of the community gathered at the city hall to celebrate the establishment of our program as a permanent institution at the high school. Parents, teachers, school administrators, city officials, and many other community leaders watched as the club’s first members were instated and recognized. To conclude the night’s program, I had the honor of accepting the charter from our sponsoring Kiwanis Club and found myself surrounded by many of my closest friends for the picture that you have today (By the way, I’m the devilishly handsome one standing directly over the Key Club’s official banner.)Although the main purpose of that night’s ceremony was to mark the beginning of great things yet to come, I felt that we had already accomplished an enormous amount in very little time. It has seemed as if many things have simply come together throughout the club’s founding. The opportunity first presented itself to me on the night of the Kiwanis Club’s annual Christmas Dinner last year. I had just finished providing some of the night’s entertainment as the drummer for a small jazz quintet, and as I was packing away the last of my instruments before heading home to my homework, I overheard the adults discussing the need for active participation at the high school. At first, I didn’t think much of it, for I was unable to see how I could really help, but my dad later told me about the Key Club and how he and my uncle had been active members at their high school in Oakland. I grew more curious and excited about the idea as I considered it further because I too had noticed a growing need at the high school. Many students were becoming frustrated with the lack of access to community service projects and the exclusiveness of existing service clubs. So, I acted quickly, contacting the Kiwanis Club President and the Key Club Headquarters for more information. As I learned more about the club and its basic goals, I realized that this program was exactly what my classmates and I were looking for.In our short existence so far, the Key Club has already provided a number of exciting opportunities for many of its members. I, especially, have forged numerous wonderful relationships with the influential adults in the Kiwanis Club as well as other leaders in the community. Not only has their experience in society and service proved beneficial to our fledgling club in generating ideas for projects, I have even received a couple of job offers for the upcoming summer from business-owning Kiwanians here in Manitou Springs. In addition to these advantages, the Key Club is famous for its welcoming and open spirit. Unlike other school clubs or community service organizations which might exclude students because of their age or their academic performance, our club is open to anyone with enthusiasm or interest in helping others and sharing good experiences with friends. This aspect is especially important to me because a significant number of my friends as well as my younger brother are either too young or do not achieve sufficient grades in order to participate as much as they would like to. I feel very fortunate to have found and filled this void at my high school, and I look forward to working this year to make it a lasting, productive institution.As I mentioned before in one of my previous essays, I find the most fulfillment when I can share in the success of a group rather than admire my own individual achievements. When I look at this picture, going over each of the smiling faces and remembering all of the proud parents that congratulated me that night on the successful establishment of the Key Club, I find it difficult to explain how privileged and honored I felt and feel now to lead such a remarkable group of people. I have had my hand in a number of great things over the past four years, finding success in athletics, music, academics, and elsewhere, but this picture represents one of the things in my life that means most to me. Above all, I value the relationships that I make, not only with my closest friends, but with everyone that touches my life in one way or another, and I believe that the Key Club has made it possible for me to give back to those who have given so much to me already. When I think of the importance of these strong relationships in my life, I remember a quote made by Arthur Ashe, a quote that the MSHS Key Club has adopted as its motto: “From what we get we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.”

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