Students celebrate Lions Club Centennial with gift to the community
By Dana Trumbull
The Apache Junction High School Leo Club dedicated their Legacy Project at the Apache Junction Learning Center (TLC) on Thursday, April 19. The students created original artwork, painting a child-friendly mural on the outside walls of the previously drab and uninviting administrative office, which serves as the entry point to the campus.
“I noticed, as I was driving by on the highway, that there was nothing interesting about this building; nothing to say that it was about kids and education,” explained Mike Weaver, Apache Junction Unified School District Governing Board member and Leo Club advisor. “I brought it up to the club members and asked if this was something they wanted to do. They were excited about the idea and just ran with it. This is all their work!”
Frontier Ace Hardware in Apache Junction donated paint for the project. Leftover paint will go to the Cactus Canyon Junior High Drama Club for set design projects.
The Leo Club is a youth organization of the Lions Clubs International, which is currently celebrating its 100th anniversary. Throughout the year, all Lions and Leo Clubs are challenged to complete a Legacy Project as a visible and long-lasting gift to the community.
During the dedication, Alyssa Rippee, president of the AJHS Leo Club, stated that the club had committed to performing at least one service project each month this year. Some of the things they have accomplished are: donations of socks, blankets, towels and hygiene items to the Community Alliance Against Family Abuse (CAAFA); an Angel Tree at Christmas that provided presents for eight children in a CAAFA shelter and a Pancake Breakfast that raised $815 for Camp Tatiyee, a summer camp for special needs children. “These kids did all the work,” stated Weaver.
The word “Leo” stands for Leadership, Experience and Opportunity. Participants focus on social service activities.
TLC is home for the AJUSD online learning center, as well as the special needs preschool and district before- and after-school child care.
Photo above: Leo Club members signed the “leaves” on the learning tree that was incorporated into the artwork at The Learning Center on the south side of the AJHS campus. L-R: Genie Marshall (founder, AJ Teacher’s Helper), club sponsor Teri Berger, Emily Rutkowski, Bailey Kelly, Vanessa Silbar, club sponsor Mike Weaver. On ladder: Brianna Bogart