Key Club unlocks new potential despite COVID-19 restrictions


Maggie Thomas (10, forefront), Leslie Arce and Jacqueline Maximo (9) volunteer at the Key Club Food Drive.


   On a Tuesday at the beginning of the school year, a small group of students logged into Key Club, which at the time was only online. Students sat with cameras on, some with pets in their laps, others with snacks, as faculty advisers Ms. Susan Callaway and Ms. Ashley Dickinson (both English teachers)  discussed how the club would operate this year, and how different it would be from all years previous.

   Key Club has been a part of Guilford for many years, the club focusing on volunteering and bettering the community. COVID-19 has made it incredibly hard for the club to continue since it is volunteer based, which requires a lot of in person activities.

   “Volunteering with COVID-19 restrictions has been challenging,” said Ms. Callaway, who has been leading Key Club for eight years. “The biggest service project we have completed so far is the food drive, which was all done outside of school due to safety concerns. Many of the service projects we usually do are hands-on, so we are looking to find ways to modify how we do projects.”

   Key Club had been planning the food drive, which was held at Saint Mark’s Church, for a couple of months before completing it in January. Club members could not hold the food drive at Guilford because of health risks, so they collected food and donations into students’ cars. 

   “The food drive went really well,” said Maggie Thomas, president of Key Club. “We got tons of donations and it was more successful than predicted.” 

   Over 4 trunks’ worth of donations were collected, roughly 530 pounds. 

   Soon after the start of school, Key Club switched to an in person club, meeting Thursday afternoons. At home students still could log in over a Google Meet.

   “I think a positive to COVID is that we have new ways to meet and more students can join into meetings even if they are at home,” said Thomas.

   Now, because of the new schedule, clubs can no longer meet in person. This will bring a lot of change to Key Club.

   “We have had to make a lot of adjustments, which actually started last year,” said Ms. Callaway. “We tried to schedule virtual [events], but we had a lot of trouble getting the word out to everyone in the club. It was important to us that all Guilford students were invited to participate, regardless of whether they are on the hybrid in-person schedule or full-time remote.”

   Despite the hardships of meeting in a year like this, Key Club members still hope to find a way to thrive and continue to help the community, led by a strong group of students and teachers. 

   “Keeping our Guilford students safe is our highest priority, but it is frustrating,” said Ms. Callaway. “We have a dedicated, caring group of Key Clubbers, and they continue to impress me with their willingness and desire to help the community. They are building resilience and leadership skills, and I am proud of how well they have adapted to the challenges and changes we have faced this year.”