By John Crawford
For 50 years, the Key Club of Patrick Henry High School has been dedicated to building student leadership skills, and contributing thousands upon thousands of volunteer service hours to the neighborhood. The Key Club has operated at Patrick Henry since the school’s first year of existence in 1968-69, becoming the oldest club on campus in the process.
The Key Club members of today hope to mark the 50th anniversary of their organization by reaching out to its past. On Thursday, May 2, Key Club alumni from the past 50 years are invited to return to campus for a celebration through the decades, reuniting classmates and giving today’s student leaders a glimpse of their living history. We are looking for PHHS Key Club alumni from all years.
The anniversary event begins at 5 p.m. with a campus tour around Patrick Henry, highlighting the new construction and new additions that have shaped the campus in recent years. If you haven’t been on campus lately, there is a ton of exciting new improvements that simply must be seen. At 6 p.m., the reunion event begins inside the PHAME Building — one of those exciting new buildings that only recently opened. We will recognize past club presidents and club officers from the last 50 years, recognizing our graduates by decade, and hearing updates from some of the most interesting Key Club members of yesteryear. This special reunion event will be hosted by Benny Cartwright (Class of 1998) and Christina Meeker (Class of 2009) — the only two students in the history of the club to serve two terms as club president.
We will also hear from current Key Club President Ivy Vuong (Class of 2019) and many other special guests. We also hope to have a special message from PHHS Principal Elizabeth “Listy” Gillingham, and Grantville-Allied Gardens Kiwanis Club President Kathy Butterstein. The Kiwanis Club of Grantville-Allied Gardens has sponsored the PHHS Key Club since its inception, officially recognized on Feb. 11, 1969.
Following the on-stage reunion event will be a mocktail reception (non-alcoholic, of course) elsewhere on campus, where Key Club members of yesterday and today can mingle, connect, and reunite with old friends. Kiwanis members will also be on hand to visit with some of their favorite graduates from years past.
Finally, there will also be an unofficial gathering after the event at Hooley’s Public House in La Mesa, owned and operated by Craig MacDonald (PHHS Key Club President 1979-80).
The success of this event will depend very much on word-of-mouth, so we are hoping friends, neighbors, classmates, and alumni can help us connect with those members we are missing — especially from the early years. If you are a Patrick Henry Key Club graduate, or you know of somebody who is, please visit our event website and RSVP online at tinyurl.com/PHHSKeyClub50th.
Thank you for spreading the word, and we hope to see many of our Key Club graduates back on campus on May 2.
— John Crawford writes on behalf of the Grantville-Allied Gardens Kiwanis and is a Patrick Henry graduate of the class of 1997.