Cleveland High School Key Club representatives intermingled with the Kiwanis Club of Cleveland Thursday afternoon as part of the international club’s family month program.
Key Club teacher sponsor Gabriela Tallent began with a robust greeting to Kiwanis members before launching into the history of the high school club.
A part of the club’s proud history is the diversity of the members.
“Our Key Club is basically a melting pot. If you look at the kids, you will understand we have Southerners, which is, you know, the strong blood of the South. Then we have Japan, South Korea and India. These are just a few of the ones we have at Cleveland High School,” explained the Romanian-native sponsor. “We are proud of them, because I think diversity makes us stronger and understand each other and respect each other.”
Supervisor of Curriculum K-12 Jeff Elliott stepped up after Tallent finished presenting. He told Kiwanis members that Tennessee is now the fastest-improving state in America for math and reading. Cleveland High is educating students to be college and career ready while also preparing them to be solid citizens.
Concluded Elliott, “We have a lot of great things going on, but the most important thing we can’t forget is what our kids are doing.”
Cleveland High School Principal Autumn O’Bryan stepped up next to speak for her students and Tennessee’s education system.
“We really did get great news today from the state, and I have to tell you education is hard work. There are a lot of times I know you work hard and it doesn’t feel like you get the recognition,” O’Bryan said. “Along with being the fastest improving state, we also showed the largest amount of growth in the history of the [National Assessment of Educational Progress].”
She expressed an interest in being the fastest-improving district in the fastest-improving state.
Highlights in O’Bryan’s speech included:
- Students receive $5-7 million in scholarships each year.
- The school population has increased by almost 100 students over the past three years.
- CHS has 15 state championships.
- The current freshman class will be the 50th graduating class in 2017.
O’Bryan transitioned from the academic success of the high school to the hearts of the students.
“Every day I have moments of heart swell of being so proud of our next generation. We hear so many terrible stories of the future of our country, and I promise you they are not true,” O’Bryan said. “[The Key Club] represents a bigger picture of students who are changing the world every day. Really, we tend to tune out the great stories for the more sensational ones.”
Continued O’Bryan, “Come to Cleveland High School. Go to Walker Valley High School. Go to Bradley Central High School. You will find examples of perseverance and excellence in every school of the country. Kids have to deal with so much more than we ever had to and they do it every day.”
Junior Abby Gobble of the CHS Key Club followed O’Bryan to close out the presentation. She updated Kiwanis members on activities the club has been invested in including: Pooches to Pedigrees, the Kiwanis breakfast, work on the CHS Sensory Garden, reading for Dr. Seuss Day and helping out at M&M Mars among other projects.
The club will be helping out with the Imagination Library Saturday.
“I haven’t been involved with the Imagination Library, but I know giving books to kids is like instant gratification because they are so happy about it and it makes you feel good,” Gobble said. “It makes you want to do more service.”
She said she believed helping others helps her as well by helping her grow into a better person. Joining the Key Club also helped Gobble become invested and involved in the CHS community.
Gobble finished her presentation by reminding the Kiwanis Club of Cleveland, “It’s a great day to be a Raider.”