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Avery High Key Club Wins Several Awards at the Carolinas Key Club District Convention in Durham

Avery High Key Club members: Sitting: Bree Nitti, Veronica Clark, Maddi Daniels, Brittney Storey, Ellie Kitchin. Standing: Teresa Shadoin (Advisor) Carolinas District Governor-Elect Mary Jo Brubaker, Lila Cantrell, Madeline Barinowski, Garrett Dellinger, Jacob Wiseman, Libby Phillips, Tiffany Brocco, Betsy Terrell, Samantha Cabrera and Sophia Henley

By Jesse Wood

Just like the past couple of years, the Avery High Key Club and its members brought home several awards from the Key Club District Convention at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham this past weekend.

For one, the Avery High Key Club was named a Distinguished Club. Only one other club out of 241 in the Carolinas received this award. The following is a list of the other awards won during the district convention, and note that the first place awards are eligible to be entered into the 2017 international competition held in San Antonio in July.

  • Club Digital Poster- 1st Place
  • Oratorical Competition- 1st Place to Garrett Dellinger
  • Club Video – 2nd place
  • Single Service Award- 3rd Place
  • Kiwanis Family Relations – 3rd place

The Avery High Key Club is sponsored and supported by the Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk. Referred to as DCON, the District Convention of the Carolinas District of Key Club International, is held, for one, to recognize regional Key Clubs and the individuals providing outstanding service in the community.

Teresa Shadoin, Avery High School faculty advisor of the Avery High Key Club, noted that the students were “great ambassadors” for the school and Key Club International while in Durham.

Shadoin said the success of the Avery High Key Club is a group effort from the “great kids to the support of the Kiwanis family,” including Jim Swinkola, Kiwanis Key Club Advisor, and Mary Jo Brubaker, Gov.-Elect for the Carolinas District.

“The Key Club has provided the opportunity for a lot of students to assume leadership roles that they normally might not have had the opportunity to undertake,” Shadoin said, noting that one of her first Avery High Key Club presidents happened to be Josh Dobson, a representative in the N.C. House.

Shadoin cited the three domains of the Key Club: a heart to serve, a call to lead and the courage to engage. She noted that the Avery High Key Club – as a group, not counting individual service – provided more than 3,000 hours of service and participated in nearly 50 service projects during the last year.

“It’s such a privilege to be able to work with kids and young people and watch them grow and figure out what their passions are. One of my mantras is when much is given, much is expected,” Shadoin said. “I expect a lot. I push them to do their very best and you don’t grow if you feel comfortable.”

Brubaker also attended the District Convention over the weekend. Speaking of the awards, Brubaker joked, “We cleaned house.”

Brubaker noted that Avery High Key Club isn’t a huge urban school with 200 members. It’s a smaller, rural club with about 30 kids, but “year after year after year, our kids win awards due to their dedication to service, commitment and they just have an awesome faculty advisor.”

Brubaker praised Shadoin for “encouraging them and driving them to be the best that they can be. I am just so proud of everything they do. It’s just unbelievable what our kids do from giving back to community through service to raising funds through UNICEF.”

Brubaker said that she’s watched some of the members, such as Ellie Kitchen, the outgoing Lt. Gov. of Division 2 within the Carolinas District of Key Club, and Madeline Barinowski, Lt. Gov.-Elect of the same, come into the club as “timid freshman” and grow into “confident, young woman, who are ready to step up and be leaders in the larger Kiwanis family. ”

Speaking of all the Avery High Key Club student-members, Brubaker said, “They are engaged and are our future leaders, kids that Avery County and the High Country can be proud of. I am just bursting with pride.”

Check out some photos below that are related to the recent District Convention in Durham: 

The girls of Avery High Key Club who attended the Key Club District Convention on March 24-26 wore a Carolinas district Key Club shirt to school.


The Avery High Key Club is serious about preparing future leaders to assume the reins of club objectives. Seated third from the left is Maddi Daniels, current president of the key club and an Avery High senior. The three other high school girls, (left to right behind Maddi) Sophia Henley, Samantha Cabrera and Tiffany Brocco, are all freshmen. Maddie is mentoring them to create a digital poster for competition during the upcoming Key Club District Convention to be held in Durham. These three freshman will soon offer their enhanced leadership skills to the efforts of the “Gaggle of Girls.”


Avery High Key Club member Brittney Storey receiving the Kiwanis Family Relations Award from Carolinas Key Club Governor, Morgan Yverlton.


Carolinas District Lt. Gov. Division 2 Ellie Kitchen from Avery High School reporting district wide sales of “Together We Can” ribbons and pins for NC Boys and Girls Home of Lake Waccamaw.


Avery High Junior Madeline Barinowski during her Lt. Gov. Election Speech
Freshman Key Clubber, Samantha Cabrera happily accepts the 1st Place Club Digital Poster Award from Carolinas District Governor Morgan Yverlton for 1st place in Club Digital Poster category.
Senior Key Club Members and Officers savor their last high school memories of Key Club at the District Convention 2017. Pictured: Veronica Clark (Vice-President), Maddi Daniels(President) and Libby Phillips (Club Editor/Social Media)


Vice-President Veronica Clark accepted the 2nd Place Club Video Award


For three consecutive years, Senior and Club President Maddie Daniels has led the Avery High Key Club to three first place District Convention finishes and one 2nd Place National finals for Digital Club Poster Award. The poster focus on the core values of Key Club and also serve as a means to recruit new members. Pictured below are the freshman members that Maddi (holding award) trained this year to carry on the legacy of excellence: Tiffany Brocco, Sophia Henley, and Samantha Cabrera.


Junior Garrett Dellinger wowed the judges and entire District Convention with his Oratorical speech that used the theme from the Wizard of Oz to explain the three leadership domains of service in Key Club. Dorothy represented any person while Key Club was the “Yellow Brick Road to Success”. The three domains are 1) having a Heart to Lead (the Tinman), the Call to Lead (Scarecrow) and the Courage to Engage (Cowardly Lion). Best wishes to Garrett as he moves forward to compete at the International Convention held this July in San Antonio, Texas.


Carolina’s District Lt. Governor Division 2 Ellie Kitchin passing the torch of leadership to Madeline Barinowski for the next year. This marks the seventh straight year that a member of the Avery High Key Club has served on the Carolinas District Board which is the governing body for 241 Key Clubs in both North and South Carolina.


Avery High Key Club members Hailey Daniels (left) and Maddi Daniels prepared Reading Is Fundamental books for distribution to Avery students pre-K to fifth grade. Each year for 26 years, three recreational books have been gifted to local school children thanks to the Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk.


Kiwanian Susan Staton (left) and Avery High Key Club member Bree Nitti
combined efforts to prepare Reading Is Fundamental books for distribution to Avery students pre-K to fifth grade. For each of 26 years, three recreational books have been gifted to children because of the Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk’s commitment to local education.


Club members attending Kiwanis Family Conference for a leadership retreat at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain in early November.


Ask any club member to name one of their favorite service projects over the course of a year and the majority will say decorating and wrapping presents at Grandfather Home. Pictured here is Avery High Key Club President and senior, Maddi Daniels. She coordinated all service projects with the staff at Children’s Hope Alliance along with the decoration of the Angel Tree at Tanger Outlet.


Another favorite Key Club Project, the kids volunteer at Beech Mountain to build 400 kites or more for the Mile High Kite Festival each Labor Day weekend.