Looking back on the illustrious history of St. Thomas, it is clear that the students of this school have accomplished some incredible feats.
From the football dynasty in the 1980s to the current string of baseball state championships, our school has been in the news for decades. But it is easy to forget one of its biggest achievements.
In the early 1990s the school was known throughout Texas for its famous Key Club.
Key Club was a service organization that went to various locations in Houston to help the community. In addition to sacrificing time for the community, Key Club also spent time improving St. Thomas and involving more and more students as each year passed by.
Key Club reached its peak in 1994. During that school year, it was named the third largest Key Club in Texas and Oklahoma combined. By the end of the spring semester, membership reached over 500 students. In fact, there were so many students taking part in Key Club that service hours were not required.
Director of Activities Joe O’Brien was once head of the club and misses it tremendously.
“I had a deep affection for Key Club,” O’Brien said. “We were the biggest and best club on campus. We didn’t even have to go out and look for service. People from all over the city were calling us up.”
All of a sudden, the club fell apart. After O’Brien was promoted to Director of Student Activities, leadership was given to the student body and the organization slowly diminished.
There is hope for the future though. Juniors Talal Beidas, Luis Contreras, Jon Trent and Conor Raleigh are spearheading a revival.
Beidas came up with the idea and quickly contacted the others to help establish such a large, complex club.
“It just came to me,” Beidas said about the idea. “I got to thinking about how great it would have been to have someone help freshmen, and even juniors and seniors, find the best opportunities in the city. And then I figured that someone could be us, a Key Club.”
The idea is finally starting to come to fruition.
On Saturday, Nov. 19, the Key Club had an extremely successful trial run.
The group went to Rice Stadium with about 50 inner-city kids to tailgate the Rice-Tulane football game.
The kids started a massive game of football that included members from the Key Club as well as the young all-stars they were serving.
Junior Jacob Owens and his new friend, eight-year old Genesis, ran the board, scoring twenty-seven touchdowns in total.
Apart from the football game, there were horseshoes, moonwalks, tattoos and a face painting station. To top the day off, the kids and the Key Club got front-row seats in the endzone to watch the actual game.
Raleigh was particularly excited about the opportunity.
“It was so cool,” Raleigh said. “The kids were so much fun and we loved the chance to help make their day.”
The turnout for the event was huge. The group hoped to garner ten student volunteers to help out.
The grand total ended up being over 30 students. With the game turning out to be such a huge success, the club aims to officially begin operations.
The first official Key Club meeting will be taking place in Turner Hall after Christmas break.
There, the founders will meet new members and give information about upcoming events.
“The meeting will be a great way to get to know everyone who wants to be a part of this,” Trent said. “We’ll be able to see everyone’s ideas and use them to do some cool things in the future. I have a good feeling about this.”
Without a speck of knowledge for what the future actually does hold, Beidas, Raleigh, Contreras and Trent have chosen to dedicate their time and efforts to this endeavor.
“That’s what it takes,” O’Brien said. “The success of this club depends on student leadership. The biggest challenge is finding leaders to step up, look for chances and take the opportunity to give back to the community at large.”
The four founders of Key Club are undoubtedly the kind of leaders O’Brien was talking about.
They took a chance, and so far, the results are looking great.