Key Club and CSF Club continue to serve their community during the pandemic

Online school has been a very unusual experience for everyone at La Quinta High School. For both students and staff, adapting to all the new changes this year has been new and difficult at times.

Throughout the school year, one thing that has continued to keep staff and students connected during the pandemic and distance-learning is the student-led clubs. Many clubs have accomplished great things this past year and have given students opportunities to connect with one another.

There are many clubs that have been active and functioning during this online school year, taking place during office hours and/or lunch. This includes the KEY (Kiwanis Educates Youth) Club and CSF (California Scholarship Federation) Club. These clubs are both community service-based and are great ways to help out the community in many different ways.

KEY Club

Susan Finch, who teaches French at LQHS, has been an adviser for the KEY club for about six years. KEY Club is an international student-led organization, with the main focus on community service. KEY Clubs exist on over 5,000 high school campuses across the world. 

As an adviser, Finch approves things that KEY Club leaders and members decide to participate in and helps guide them in their activities.

“It’s important to give kids opportunities to lead and learn,” Finch said.

Photo courtesy of Christina Morcus; Design by Hannah Tovar

Finch explained that KEY Club is very important, as it gives students more opportunities to get out in the community and give back.

KEY Club President Christina Morcus ’22 believes one thing this club has taught her is that one good deed can go a long way.

“Through my experiences, I’ve learned it simply takes one person to start the ripple effect of change. From one positive action comes a positive reaction,” she said.

Morcus believes that no matter how big or small any volunteer work is, the benefits of helping others are great.

“Volunteerism has always been a big part of my life, and one of the main things it has taught me is that we all play an important role in this world,” said Morcus. 

KEY Club Secretary Cynthia Ruiz ‘23 believes KEY Club has helped her learn leadership skills. As secretary, Ruiz must take notes of every meeting, which has guided her on how to engage more as a leader. Ruiz also works volunteering with other club members, to help make a difference in any way.

“Our KEY clubbers are always ready and willing to help leave a positive mark by building a stronger and better community,” said Morcus.

KEY Club has been a part of many events this past year, including monthly volunteering at the FIND Food Bank, Trick or Treat for UNICEF, the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, as well as making Valentine’s Day cards for children at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

KEY Club meets every other week of the month during lunchtime to go over any volunteering opportunities taking place. It is never too late to join KEY Club, as it is open for all who want to participate in any community service opportunities. 

Photo courtesy of Christina Morcus; Design by Hannah Tovar

“I’ve just been totally impressed by the willingness of students to participate in our present circumstances,” said Finch. 

One of Morcus’ fondest memories of KEY Club was last December while working at the FIND Food Bank. Morcus and a group of club members helped pack food bags, which were sent to Our Lady of Soledad Church in Coachella. KEY Club helped provide 6,000 meals to people in the community that day. 

To know you’ve helped another person is a huge blessing and a feeling you take with you forever,” said Morcus. “There is always something you can do, even in a pandemic.”

CSF Club

Elva Peña is a counselor at LQHS and has been the adviser of CSF Club for three years. CSF is not only a community service club but also a high academic club. In CSF, members must have specific grade requirements to join, based on the student grades and the CSF point system.

However, this does not mean students can’t still participate in CSF events. CSF focuses on helping their members better themselves academically, and are there to provide support for one another.

CSF became an official club at LQHS in 1996. CSF members are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. As a national organization, CSF is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. 

CSF Club members meet once every month, where they plan new volunteering opportunities, discuss events around the area, and also provide information on open scholarships for members to join in.  

Treasurer Natalie Vasquez believes that CSF Club helps unite students that have a passion for education.

There, you will come across ambitious and charismatic people who may become your next friends”, said Vasquez.

CSF has helped Vasquez to learn more about how to better her future.

“CSF has made me aware of courses of action I can take to improve my future. Most importantly, this club has allowed me to discover ways in which I can help others.”

Some things that CSF has been involved in include participating in the Target Toy Run, where funds are collected by members to buy toys at Target, which are then given to the organization Toys for Tots.

Photo courtesy of Elva Peña; Design by Hannah Tovar

CSF also participated in creating Valentine’s Day cards for the children at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and also volunteered at
the FIND Food Bank.

Above all, CSF and I were happy to bring joy to children in need during the holiday season,” said Vasquez.

One fond memory for Peña about CSF this year would be the Winter Celebration event, which took place in December. This lets members give advice for finals, and as well as give their own perspectives on how grades do not define a person.

I always end a meeting in awe of the greatness I get to see,” said Peña.