The ball drop is back, successful fundraiser returns

Published 8:03 pm Monday, April 25, 2022

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For the Washington Daily News

Almost six thousand dollars will be split between Washington High School students who participate in Key Club and the beneficiaries of Washington’s Bright Futures Program, after a fundraiser sponsored by the Washington Kiwanis Club.

The event is a long time coming, according to event committee chairman Kevin Hardy, who said plans have been in place since before Covid-19. Members of the chapter, North Carolina’s oldest, had to scrap their ambitions with most of the rest of the country after nationwide restrictions became a way of life. Chapter president Ray Dennis said last weekend’s event was perfectly timed, occurring in the group’s 75th year of existence and becoming “a wonderful lift for all of us.”

Funds raised by the group’s previous golf tournaments are traditionally shared by several Key Clubs operating at Beaufort County high schools. A worldwide high-school based program that, according to its website, the group provides members with “opportunities to serve, build character, and develop leadership” and is run in partnership with local Kiwanis clubs.

There is currently only one active Key Club in Beaufort County, this one at Washington High School, so local Kiwanis members decided to split the winnings between that club and Bright Futures of Beaufort County, which is an arm of the Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce. Hardy said the two groups will each receive half of the $5,920 collected – which works out to $2,060 for each group.

Bright Futures coordinator Robin McKeithan, who is also Assistant Director of the Chamber of Commerce, said the gift will “take a lot of the stress off having to fundraise and get grants for the needs of our kids.” She said the program’s ultimate goal is to help “meet the basic needs of students in Beaufort County Schools, things like clothes, shoes, coats, beds, eyeglasses, appliances and food for their families because if their basic needs are not being met, then they’re not going to be successful in the classroom. Kiwanis having this fundraiser and sharing with us is a blessing.”