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West Valley City Journal

Clubs branch out with community service

Feb 01, 2018 12:25AM ● By Jana Klopsch

25 Clubs donated trees to families in need. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

Twenty-five clubs at Taylorsville High School utilized their skills and interests to decorate Christmas trees. The trees were displayed in the commons area in what is called Warrior Woods, before they were donated to local families in need.

 “It’s nice to see different groups within the school come together for a united cause,” said Kristian King, student body officer vice president in charge of coordinating Warrior Woods. “They’re helping make someone else’s Christmas better, and I think that’s what Christmas is all about.” 

Clubs solicited donations of trees and ornaments from their members or used club funds to purchase them. During an after-school activity, club members decorated the trees. Some trees reflected the club’s values through their choice of adornments. The Visual Art Department embellished their store-bought ornaments with artistic flair and added fired custom clay ornaments. The JROTC tree reflected a patriotic, red, white and blue theme—they even had army men hiding among the branches.

“With everything happening in the world, we just wanted to bring it back to we’re a country, we’re together. Christmas is about coming together with the family as a nation,” said JROTC Captain Johnathan Avil. He believes the Warrior Woods tradition benefits the families receiving the trees as well as the students who donate their time to provide them. Avil sees it as an opportunity for high school students to look outside themselves and realize they are a part of a bigger community.

 “Hopefully, by learning to come together, they’ll go out on their own and do their own service projects,” said Avil.

Sharing what you have with others is important to members of the FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) club, said Aija Moore, FBLA member. FBLA budgets for participation in Warrior Woods each year. Planning ahead, they purchase their artificial tree for a discounted price during the after-Christmas sales, said Moore. 

She feels that business people are sometimes portrayed as cold-hearted and selfish. She said in FBLA, they discuss wise money management and business skills, but they also encourage participation in community service. 

“It’s a good practice to have as people,” said Moore. “It’s important to show that even though you are focused on business and doing well for yourself economically, you’re still willing to take care of other people and share.”

Jobany Quiterio helped decorate four of the trees that were on display in the Warrior Woods before they were delivered to community members. As student body officer president, he helped with the student body officer’s tree and the student government’s tree. He also was involved with MESA’s (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) tree and the two trees Latinos in Action (LIA) decorated and donated. 

Quiterio was glad to help provide trees to so many families, knowing how much they would appreciate them. When he was six years old, he was on the receiving side of such a gift.

“I, myself, was the family who didn’t have a Christmas tree,” he said. “My mom was very grateful that one day someone knocked on our door and left a tree there.” 

Club advisors and members identified families in the community that were in need of a tree. Some were gifted to Redwood Elementary to be dispersed to additional families.

The Warrior Woods tradition is the kick-off for the school’s December fundraiser for Millie’s Foundation. The students raised $14,100.58 to help children with cancer and their families. But King explained providing the Christmas trees was an opportunity for students to help families living in their community.

“We’re trying to help out a lot more people within our community, instead of just one specific family or group—it’s just kinda nice to branch out and help,” said King.

 Taylorsville’s clubs, classes and teams that donated and decorated trees included MESA, AVID, DECA, HOSA, FBLA, FCCLA, Cheerleaders, Tennis Team, JROTC, Visual Art Department, The Theatre Society, Key Club, Dance Company, Debate Team, Madrigals, Generation Project, Latinos In Action, Chess Club, School Trackers, junior class, sophomore class, student government and student body officers.