SHS Key Club Students Serve The International Community in Puerto Rico

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Fourteen Saline High School students are traveling to Puerto Rico as part of their community service at Key Club. They will be traveling with advisor and SHS English teacher, Jen Denzin, to learn more about the culture.

“We will be learning about the history of Puerto Rico- from the native inhabitants, through the colonial occupation, and up to its current status as a US territory,” Denzin said. “We will be working with community groups on reforestation and environmental conservation efforts. We’ll also be learning about Puerto Rican culture including food, dance, language, and music.”

Key Club, a high school service club sponsored by Kiwanis International, has 56 active SHS members who have completed over 1000 hours of community service this academic year. Students meet twice a month to explore various service opportunities in the area. They have partnered with Food Gatherers, Focus Hope, PBJ Outreach, and others. Students have also worked with Washtenaw County Parks groups for park cleanups and removal of invasive species.

“This will be our 21st service-learning travel opportunity,” Denzin said. “Our last service trip returned March 7, 2020, just a week before the national COVID shutdown. In the past 10 years, we have traveled to Haiti, China, Peru, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Mexico, and we've participated in service work in New Mexico and Texas.”

Denzin believes that community service benefits the students now and in the future.

“There is quite a bit of evidence that service-learning classes and clubs engage students and teach them to participate in positive and creative ways that increase their likelihood of future civic engagement,” she said.

“SAS has been an ardent supporter of this work and the students at SHS are lucky to have the ability to travel, serve, and learn during the school year. This is very unique. In fact, we are the only public school in this area that provides opportunities like this for our students.”

Denzin noted that Saline Middle School students can also participate in Builders Club, and college students at the University of Michigan can participate in Circle K, both sponsored by Kiwanis International. High school students may also choose Senior Capstone Experience, a year-long program that pairs a student’s personal interest with service projects that focus on their role in local, national, and international communities. Currently, there are 34 students at SHS in Capstone this year.

“It is my hope that we will continue to expand our service-learning initiatives and work to connect service opportunities to our core curriculum,” Denzin said.

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