Giving back: Key Club raises money for Leukemia Lymphoma society

Payton McKeehan

School fundraising, some dread selling products for their campaign or organization, others adore the opportunity to do something for others. Bryan High’s Key Club sponsored fundraisers for the school to help the community. Most recently Pennies for Pasta, Stuck for Bucks, and jeans and athletic wear passes were the focus of the club as they to raised money for Leukemia research.

Key Club chose Leukemia research to support student Kenzie Kelley, who was recently diagnosed with Leukemia.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma society asked Key Club to carry out the fundraisers over a span of three weeks. The first week consisted of publicizing the fundraisers for Pennies for Pasta and Stuck for Bucks, while also selling the jeans and athletic wear passes for students and teachers.

Pennies for Pasta partnered Key Club with Olive Garden to provide a pasta lunch for the English class that raised the most money while Stuck for Bucks was the second campaign Key Club held to raise money for Leukemia research where they called on teachers to compete to be taped to the cafeteria wall.

“Club member Kenzie Kelley is battling Leukemia,” Key Club sponsor Melinda Mack said. “So when the opportunity came up to do the fundraiser the club was really supportive. It was something they wanted to be a part of and do it in honor of Kenzie.”

Key Club members utilize some ideas offered by the Leukemia and Lymphoma society, but work to come up with their own ideas that would work well with the Bryan High population.

“All the members were able to come together,” club member Lexi Durbin said. ”I really liked the great ideas like the Pennies for Pasta that came with the program and students got really excited about free food. Our president came up with the idea to tape a teacher to the wall and then jeans and athletic wear passes came from all the members since students tend to get involved when something like that is available.”

The students nominated about six teachers to participate and the teacher that collected the most donations got duct-taped to the wall as the students’ reward for contributing the money.

“Alex Medlock, the choir teacher, by far collected the most money so during the lunches, we duct-taped him to the wall, which was kind of funny.” Mack said.

Medlock’s students found much joy in watching their beloved instructor being taped to a wall in order to raise some cash after winning the fundraiser contest.

“It was mostly fun because we got to see Mr. Medlock hanging off the wall,” choir student Cassidy Crawford said, “He was really uncomfortable, so it was funny to watch.”

Medlock took the suffering in stride because of his personal connection to the cause which motivated him and his students to donate.

“We’ve had two kids with cancer in the past couple of years, John Harden Hicks, who passed away earlier in the year, and now Kenzie Kelley who is battling Leukemia,” Medlock said. “My encouragement was just to give towards something that’s going to help the students’ friends overcome a really tough disease.”

The Stuck for Bucks project raised money before and during the wall-taping by catching the attention of students during lunches.

“We raised about $145 prior to the taping, but then we raised another $35 while I was being taped,” Medlock said. “I was making people pay to take a picture.”

Key club members came together to come up with the fundraising idea of allowing jeans and athletic wear passes, knowing the students and teachers would appreciate it.

“We had a committee of Key Club members that worked on this fundraiser, and that idea actually came from a couple of those committee members,” Mack said. “We also had some materials from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of activities that other schools have done that have been successful and the athletic wear pass was mentioned as one of those activities.”

Unlike many fundraisers, the jeans and athletic wear passes took no money from the Key Club funds in order to get it going.

“This type of fundraiser is beneficial to Key Club because we don’t have to reach into our current funds to get it going,” Mack said. “We’re not out any money up front to do the fundraiser, which is really helpful, and then all the money raised goes to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. There’s nothing we have to pay back and everything we raise goes to the cause that we’re supporting.”

These fundraisers were considered a success by Key Club members because they were able to reach their goals.

“We raised almost $4,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society from a combination of the athletic wear and jean passes for students and teachers, doing the Stuck for Bucks competition and then the fourth period English classes competing for the pasta party,” Mack said.

Key Club members were inspired by the generosity of their peers throughout the entirety of the fundraiser.

“I think Key Club members realized that Key Club can make a great impact on the community,” Lexi said. “We were able to raise over a lot of money and I think that speaks highly of Bryan High students. Many kids didn’t think we would be able to make our goal, but we were able to do that and more.”