Today’s news:

Teens learn civic duty in Richmond Hill HS Key Club

Inside Room 116 in Richmond Hill High School, a group of students plan projects for what they can do to help the community.

With 67 members, the school’s Key Club is one of the largest student groups.

Since September, the club has visited with seniors at the Regal Heights Rehab Center in Jackson Heights — where they performed songs, read poetry and donated pairs of socks — walked for the March of Dimes and breast cancer, beautified the school and gave desk plants for all the school’s teachers.

“They get to talk to each other and make connections with each other,” said Linda Laroque, an environmental science teacher at the school and the club’s advisor.

Laroque said the club, which is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Richmond Hill, has also cleaned up some of the borough’s parks and tries to complete one or two service projects a month.

Gina Martinez, a senior and the club’s editor, said the Key Club plans to sell T−shirts with environmentally conscious messages. Half the sales will go to the club and the other to a charity of the club’s choosing.

The club is also collecting clothing to be sent to Africa.

Martinez said she joined the club after having Laroque as a teacher.

“Everyone here learns leadership and talking in front of a crowd,” she said.

Nadia Ramcharan, a junior, said she joined after hearing “so many good things about it.”

“I want to help the school out,” she said. “I just want people to get involved and help the community.”

Junior Natasha Bhalla said participating in the Key Club “just makes us feel good.”

“It’s like a family,” she said. “We work together.”

Karishna Iyer, a junior, said the club’s reach beyond Richmond Hill appeals to her.

“I like how we help not only our community, but all over the world,” she said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 173.

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