Carolyn Miller, Elma Kelly and Bert Newbill attended the last meeting of Club Chivalry for the school year April 9 and handled the refreshments and raffles. Elk Courtney Weil and her daughter Capriana Sanchez, and son, Taylor Taylor, attended as guest speakers. The meeting was very successful with the students in the club particularly relating to the younger Elks’ message about bullying and domestic violence. That awesome Elk family trio, often accompanied by daughter Christina, have been making the rounds of high schools and their speeches are impacting young lives across Tampa Bay.
On April 10, Club Chivalry had what may have been the best field trip yet. After making sure all the club attendees had breakfast, they loaded the bus at 8 a.m. and headed downtown to the Straz Center for Performing Arts. Billed as the 2018 Build Tampa Bay Event, this initiative is in its third year and getting bigger and better. More than 1,000 students from across Tampa Bay had the chance for one-on-one meetings with employers ready to hire the students directly from high school and offer them full four-year scholarships. The students would work full time and attend classes two nights a week. They would begin as laborers but in four years they would be journeymen or experts in their field. There were also some amazing motivational speakers. John Ratzenberger, the actor from Cheers, spoke about how he was a carpenter and had peace of mind because he could always fall back on that skill if his acting career fizzled out. Sally C. Harris, local school board member, spoke about how she was penniless when she started out in early education but she just kept learning and earning. One of the speakers pointed out all the teachers in the audience and told the students that in four years they could be earning more than their teacher. The teachers did not disagree.
Amazingly, the event sponsors paid for the club students’ lunch and the bus! That is a big savings for the club. The volunteer chaperones, Tommy Moore, Laura Jones and Antonio Cruz, were very impressed and hope to repeat this trip next year since it is a perfect fit for the club demographic.
Club Chivalry’s final club event of the 2017-2018 school year was participating in the Relay for Life of Tampa April 20. The relay is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and is held on the track at Robinson High School. It is a popular event for schools in south Tampa. Club sponsor and lodge member Kristina Chowning was the event lead and lodge member Rita Smith was team captain.
One of the stipulations of the Impact Grant is that grant money cannot be donated to the American Cancer Society so they used the funds to purchase items needed to participate. The club sold luminary bags for $10 each. Thanks to the help from Tampa Lodge, they surpassed their goal of $1,000 and raised $1,610, placing 23rd among the 96 participating clubs. They sold so many luminary bags that they had to change the normal procedure and place theirs across the track against the fence! The lodge also voted to become a signature sponsor, so they had signs around the track as people walked. All seniors at the school who participated and raised $150 for the American Cancer Society were awarded a purple honor cord to wear at graduation. Even though some signed up just days before the event, several lodge members donated on their behalf.
Patty Jankiewicz, Elma Kelly, Joe LoCicero, Christien Elkins, and Robert Bordonaro with his daughter and granddaughter all spent time helping with French fries and soda sales at their tent. Other event helpers included Tommy and Sue Moore, Bonnie Atwood, and Logan Matthews and his friend Darby. The students did the track walking since there is supposed to be somebody from each team on the track at all times. At night there was a very impressive remembrance walk; the luminaries were all lit, the stadium lights were turned off, the music was hushed and the word HOPE was displayed in giant letters on the bleachers. Day or night, there was plenty to see and do. Most of the 96 teams had fundraising going on such as food, drinks, games and crafts.
Tampa Lodge’s Patricia Jankiewicz and Elma Kelly took charge of sales while Joe LoCicero cooked the fries for Club Chivalry’s participation in Relay for Life.