How Gandhi and MLK continue to inspire Park High School’s Key Club | Local News


ROOT — Park High School Key Club celebrated its tenth anniversary with leadership training disguised as fun.


On Thursday, May 18, Key Club members first interacted with Prasad Gollanapalli, the Managing Director of the Gandhi King Foundation in Indiathen headed out into the woods to interact with nature and test their resilience at Boundless Adventures in Kenosha County.

Key Club school counselor and counselor Jeff Wilkins said the organization’s goal is to help students develop their leadership potential and encourage servant leadership.

“We really want to make Park High School and the surrounding community a better place,” he said.

The Club is sponsored by Kiwanis West whose motto is: Changing the world one child at a time.

Marybeth Zuhlke, a long-time Kiwanis representative on the Key Club team, spent the day as a mentor but found inspiration herself.

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Park High School Key Club Members

Members of the Park High School Key Club; left to right: Jackie Saldivar; club advisor Jeff Wilkins; Amaya Rogers; Elena Reitzel; Carly Schiefelbein; Trinity Smithkey; Jazzmin Ocasio; and Lydia Smithkey.


Ghandi King

Zuhlke explained that the day started with a Facetime conversation with Gollanapalli, who is a Gandhi scholar and a visiting professor at many universities in the United States.

He visited Park High School in 2019 and made such an impression that Key Club kept “Be the Change” as its message and logo. The motto comes from Mahatma Gandhi’s quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

After the visit, Gollanapalli stayed in touch with the Park High School Key Club.


King Jr.

Gollanapalli addressed students in Miami, where he had just landed. He talked about Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., their shared vision of peace and respect, and the importance of being in nature.

Each student introduced themselves and read a quote, something that made sense to them.

“(Gollanapalli) emphasized that we all need to work together to be peaceful, to create a better world, and each of us is important in that regard,” Zuhlke said.

Wilkins said students were “pierced by her voice and her message.”

Gollanapalli was happy to hear that the students were spending the day in nature because in Indian cultures, nature is revered, Wilkins explained.

He added: “In the interaction between nature and humans, there is a reverence that we must restore or maintain for nature.”

Key Club members prepare for the zipline

Members of Park High School Key Club prepare for their zipline adventure last month.


Boundless Adventures is an aerial playground

Boundless Adventures has been described as an aerial playground as many of the challenges take place in the trees.


After the meeting, the students left Boundless Adventures, near Bristol, to test their resilience.

The group was told that there were three Boundless Adventures in the United States: one in New York, one in Boston, and now one in Kenosha County.

The adventure park without rides allows students to overcome obstacles in the forest and includes the zip line. It has been described as an aerial playground.

Zuhlke said it was a hell of a feeling to go from the noise of the freeway to the quiet of the forest.

The seven Key Club students who participated in the day were all female and received a coach, Hunter Sazell, who helped them with strategies to accomplish the obstacles they encountered as they traversed the forest.

At each stage there would be two or three obstacles – a plank ride, a climb – and then a zip line, the reward for clearing the obstacle.

“It was extremely difficult,” Zuhlke said.

As the students went from obstacle to obstacle, the other students shouted encouragement.

At the end of the day, the students were quizzed on what they had learnt. They said: perseverance, never giving up, and the importance of facing your fears.

Wilkins described the band as “one of the most driven bands I’ve had”.

He said the group was made up entirely of freshmen.

“I feel blessed as a coach and advisor because I can really see growth over the next two years,” Wilkins said.


Chris Saimond, Managing Director of Unlimited Adventuressaid these types of transformative experiences are commonplace and going to work becomes a pleasure.

“It’s very inspiring to see kids climbing, gaining confidence and doing things they’ve never done before,” he said.

Saimond said Boundless Adventures has different levels of challenges suitable for people of all ages, including lower courses.

He said challenges help people go beyond what they thought they could do.


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