Officers from Cleveland High School’s Key Club accompanied Autumn O’Bryan and Gabriela Talent to Thursday’s Kiwanis lunch as part of Kiwanis Family Month.
“Very rarely do we have people in the high school who know the great things that happen, so I am very happy to be here today,” said O’Bryan, CHS principal.
“Cleveland High School is a community school. We love the fact we are in the middle of town. We love the fact we are a part of our community and our community is a part of us.”
O’Bryan said service is a core component of the student’s education.
“The messages I try to deliver to adults who make a lot of decisions is if you think our generation is lost, then come and visit. You will be inspired,” O’Bryan said.
Key Club officers Joel Simpkins, Andy Patel, Eric Ingraham and Zack Near attended the meeting with Tallent. Both Tallent and O’Bryan spoke highly of the young officers. Tallent and Near presented this year’s Key Club projects.
“Some of our recent accomplishments include raising enough donations to supply 650 diapers for charity within the club, and 11,000 schoolwide. We also collect and donate items for Southern Heritage Bank’s food drive,” Near said.
The club will continue helping CHS graduate Sandy Ha, with her “Toboggans for Toddlers” project. A total of 800 toboggans have been raised so far this year.
Tallent said the key club is interested in helping Ha collect more hats for the cause.
“She is still a part of the community. She is still a high school graduate from Cleveland. We are proud of that,” Tallent said.
Work is currently being done by Key Club members on the school’s Sensory Garden. Such a garden is designed to affect all five senses: touch, smell, sound, taste, and sight. It will be cultivated and managed by students in Cleveland’s special services classes.
Mike Baker, a part-time CHS faculty member, said in a previous interview the need is great for a sensory garden at the high school.
“Students will learn additional lessons in working together in groups, planning and organization. These are real basic skills these children need,” Baker said.
“They need to learn to work together and socialize and enjoy life. For some of these students, not knowing how to enjoy things is part of their challenge.”
Key Club members are donating physical labor, as well as requesting funds for the completion of the garden.
“They are a part of our community and we are proud of them [students with special needs]. They are special for us, and special in every way. A special child is a gift, and a handful, but the world is better because of them. If you could help them then we would appreciate it,” Tallent said.
“Come and see your educational institutions. You will witness brilliance and inspiration all over the building,” O’Bryan told Kiwanis members. “These four men are great examples of that.”
She also applauded educators at the surrounding schools.
“We have excellent educational professionals, like Ms. Tallent, who go above and beyond,” O’Bryan said. “They make a lot of sacrifices in order to instill hope and motivation in our future generation.”