Marco Island Academy — being the only high school in the community of Marco — has quite an exceptional advantage than most charter schools would in other communities. Throughout the years, the community of Marco has provided support for MIA to grow and blossom into the remarkable school it is and will continue to be.
One group in particular throughout the community of Marco has been accompanying MIA from the start. Four years ago, the Marco Island Kiwanis and members Gina Sisbarro and Gayle Thayer helped in establishing the academy’s very first Key Club, a program which is essential in helping students come together to create a better community. Kiwanis has been providing and helping communities for many years and involves offering high schoolers college scholarships as well as opportunities to fund raise for charities. The list goes on.
Not only does Kiwanis support MIA’s Key Club, but members also provide aid for other groups, such as the athletics program. MIA Touchdown Club President Wayne Purvis, also a member of Kiwanis reached out to head coach Greg Fowler who spoke at the first Kiwanis meeting of the season. All of the members of the cheerleading squad and four members of the football team accompanied him.
Coach Fowler spoke about the current state of the athletics program and how the football program is pushing to become more involved in the community: “We want community organizations such as Kiwanis to help support our programs and to be more involved with community service opportunities through Kiwanis.” Coach Fowler also spoke about how MIA’s athletes would also like to be more involved in the community.
Key Club is known for being one of the most constructive student-led programs in high school, which provides its members with opportunities to develop character and build leadership. The Marco Island Kiwanis is the heart of MIA’s key club providing the guidance and leaders to help keep it running. Advisors Lola Dial and MIA teacher Lori Galianna, along with student senior Taylor Matheny, are the leaders of this year‘s Key Club.
“We are having an amazing start to a great year,” says Dial about projects Key Club and Kiwanis have worked on together so far. She also talks about joining forces with Kiwanis for upcoming events: “In the month of October, we are fund raising for Breast Cancer Awareness, and Key Club will be trick or treating for UNICEF, which is one of our preferred charities.”
Later events also include Meals of Hope at Tommie Barfield Elementary and raising funds for the Eliminate project. “Without the Kiwanis support and leadership, the Key Club would struggle and believe me when I say, we have an amazing Kiwanis support,” Dial says.
It is little known throughout communities how much Kiwanis provides and supports for local schools and residents. Kiwanis members are dedicated to making lives young and old more suitable, and helping to craft high school teens into strong leaders of the future. Though Key Club plays a major part in giving back to the community through the dedicated time and work of high schoolers, it would be nowhere without Kiwanis support.