Key Club Attends Leadership Conference

The Key Club poses for a club picture at the Desmond Hotel in Albany.  Photo courtesy of Linda Zhang

The Key Club poses for a club picture at the Desmond Hotel in Albany. Photo courtesy of Linda Zhang


At a banquet, a shout fills the room: “Hey, Midwood High School, how do you feel?” Students stand up simultaneously and respond, “We feel good! Oh, we feel so good! Agh!”

The 71st Annual Leadership Training Conference (LTC) celebrated the completion of a Key Club service year and the start of a new one.

Daniel Clarke ’20, Key Club President, said, “I am most excited about getting time to engage with the new club board. I really want us to start us off on a good foundation and make sure that we all feel welcome. I want to ensure that the new service year begins in a positive light so that we can do better than last year.”

The conference took place at the Desmond Hotel in Albany from March 29-31. 

“When you walk into the hotel, its cozy fireplace, beautiful floral walls, and colonial-style buildings make you feel as if you’re truly in a log cabin,” said Victor Zheng ’20.

Key Clubbers from all over New York attended LTC in hopes of interacting with their district. Using the Guidebook app, Key Clubbers were able to view their schedule of educational workshops and keynote speakers.

 “I chose to attend the college application workshop held by a high school counselor from Bayside High School to get more insight into the college process,” said Linda Zhang ’20. “I learned that you need to abide by the rules, otherwise they will use it as a way to omit your application.”

At General Session (Awards and Recognitions Ceremony), Midwood’s very own Key Club Editor, Esther Lee ’20, won the Distinguished Editor Award and Distinguished Key Clubber Award. 

“Applying for the award was a very stressful process and we had to gather all of our necessary documents, but it turned out pretty good in the end,” said Lee.

LTC had two Keynote speakers this year: Tom Krieglstein, presenter of Dance Floor Theory, and Rob Scheer, founder of Comfort Cases. Throughout their speeches, they made Key Clubbers believe that anyone has the power to make a global change.

 “I enjoyed the Keynote speakers a lot because they emphasized the importance of developing social skills and serving others,” said Jaden Thomas ’21. “For example, Rob Scheer emphasized the severity of childhood homelessness and encouraged others to act upon the issue. His foundation represents the efforts of others to comfort and provide service to those in need.”

Students at the conference had to follow a specific dress code. They had to be dressed business professionally when going to award ceremonies, business casually at workshop sessions, and casually at meal times. 

Aside from attending workshops, Kings Theatre hall at the hotel hosted a Playfair event on Friday night. Playfair is an event that every Key Clubber partakes in; it’s an experience that promotes unity and team-building skills. Most commonly, Playfair is known as The Ultimate Icebreaker.

“At Playfair, we got to do different activities and meet new people,” said Meghan Stern ’20. “More specifically, I liked the ‘Hype Man’ game; we had to hype strangers up for one thing they like about themselves. Seeing them laugh and smile from my compliment was just really fun.”

The Key Clubbers had scheduled breaks throughout the day in which they played games like Cards Against Humanity and Mafia.

“I loved staying up late and playing cards, making everyone jealous of us,” said Abigail Borshchenko ’20.

Jonathan Li ’20 said, “I loved playing Mafia together because I was wrongfully killed on numerous occasions.”

The trip was made possible with the help and planning of club advisor Ms. Sierra Haney Rolf, who was also the chaperone and emotional support for LTC.

“It was so great seeing Key Clubbers from all over New York care for our community,” said Ms. Haney. “It was also a time for professional development, for both me and the kids. I heard a lot of great ideas from my fellow peers that I hope to share with my club in the new service year.”

Not only was LTC a gathering of Key Clubbers from all over New York to celebrate the new service year and the beginning of a new one, but it was also a bonding experience for the new board members of the Midwood  Key Club.

“I loved every second of LTC,” said Stern. “I was inspired by all the officers and members to do more great things and continue making a change. I can’t wait for what comes in the new service year.”

FeaturesCasey Levinson