#1StudentNWI: Exploring Hanover’s blooming benevolence

#1StudentNWI: Exploring Hanover’s blooming benevolence

What’s recently happened?

Hanover Central High School’s Key Club utilized the coming of spring and the Easter holiday for a good cause: the group hosted the Breakfast with the Bunny event. 

This was an annual event conducted by the club. Held at the Holy Name Gym in the Grand Tots building on March 23 from 9 to 11 a.m., the event acted both as a fundraiser for Key Club and as a gathering opportunity for the community. 

Attendees were able to purchase tickets for $7, but free admission was granted to those aged two and below. 

The event is now a long-standing tradition for the club, according to Mary Joan Dickson, the club’s sponsor and director. Various activities were featured to keep the public engaged. Among the highlights were the craft and raffle areas, which drew considerable attention. 

With this, the importance of volunteer support cannot go unemphasized. 

“Minimum, we need at least 14 volunteers, but the more the merrier,” Dickson said.

Key Club members had different roles to play during the event. This ranged from kitchen duties and serving to clean-up tasks and assistance in the craft, raffle, and admissions areas. These volunteers had a vital role in ensuring smooth operations, especially in serving the delectable sausage and pancakes, and assisting parents with cleanup. 

A central figure in the event was the bunny. This required a skilled performer. Critically, the bunny distributed eggs filled with jelly beans to the delight of children.

“The person in the costume has to be able to express themselves nonverbally, and have a good personality,” Dickson said.

Hosting the event was made affordable by the club’s ability to secure the gym at a reduced rental price. This was largely due to the club’s commitment to leaving the premises spotless. 

“We promise it’ll be clean when we get there, and that it’ll be clean when we leave,” Dickson said. 

Continuing forth with two decades of experience helping to run the event at Hanover, it all traces back to the Business and Professional Women (BPW) club in Cedar Lake. They ran a similar event that served as a fundraiser for a scholarship fund.

With time, Key Club took over the event and upgraded it with a wider variety of foods and the addition of modes of entertainment. 

Fond memories are called upon. Dickson recalls the delight of seeing who will attend the event.

“Kids who you used to come help with the event, now they bring their kids. We have three generations of some families coming over,” Dickson said. 

Promotion of the event is extended through various channels, including social media, signage outside Holy Name Church and distribution of flyers to nearby preschools. In turn, there is a diversity to who shows up. 

“Sometimes we even have adults who come just for the pancakes,” Dickson said.

What’s coming up? 

Student Council is another notable service club within Hanover. 

Quite significantly, elections for the mentioned club are coming up in April. 

The Student Council is also planning to host a fundraiser: the Riley’s Foundation Fundraiser. The event will consist of a penny war with nearby elementary schools and one other middle school in the Region. 

From within Hanover itself, there will be a rock, paper, scissors challenge.

All the money will go to Riley Children’s Hospital. Additionally, by engaging in this act of service, the club will be granted honors status within the whole of Indiana amongst other Student Council clubs.

Staff spotlight: 

Christine Barlo is the guidance office secretary in Hanover. She has had this position since 2022, having worked at Hanover since 2018. Yet, her journey in Hanover began differently.

“I started out as a substitute teacher and then they gave me my own class,” Barlo said.

She taught Biology for five weeks, and monitored Study Hall afterwards, all before she ended up in her current role. 

Reflecting on her experience, Barlo emphasizes the qualities she believes are essential for success in high school: perseverance, kindness and respect.

“Students need to be able to work through the struggles that may appear. Students need someone they can talk to. Someone they can trust,” Barlo said. 

Barlo also desires for students to fully take advantage of the support system that is at their disposal. 

“I wish more students knew it was available. I also try to post funny things on Schoology,” Barlo said. 

For Barlo, the most rewarding aspect of her role is the opportunity to connect with students on a personal level.

“I feel rewarded when I get to talk with students. I feel rewarded when a student is able to come to me and trust me with their issues. That is a big deal,” Barlo said.

Yet, Barlo originally had different career plans not centered around working with students.

“I actually went to school to be a hairstylist. I worked in cosmetology for 27 years, but I became allergic to the products. So, I had to stop doing that,” Barlo said.

Despite this hindrance, Barlo’s faith and patience led her onto a new path, one that she finds greatly fulfilling. 

“I am overwhelmingly pleased that this door to work with students was opened for me,” Barlo said. 

Beyond professional work, Barlo cherishes her role as a parent to three children, all of whom attended Hanover. Her commitment to community is extended in her involvement with the Youth Group in Sun Crest. 

Remarkably, Barlo's dedication to all she does was recognized with the Key Club Impact Award. Perhaps it is most of all a comment on the lasting impact she has on students.

“I am still in contact with former students who reach out to me,” Barlo said. 

Student spotlight:

Jerome Murphy is a current junior at Hanover that took part in the mentioned Key Club event. This is no surprise; he is a dedicated club member. 

Murphy joined Key Club his sophomore year of high school after it was suggested to him to partake in the club. 

“My sister did it when she was in high school and she always recommended it to me,” Murphy said. 

Murphy’s dedication to volunteering is due in large part to his mom.

“My mom has always been involved in volunteering and loves helping out. I did it to make her happy, but at the same time it makes me happy,” Murphy said. 

Murphy’s favorite experience within Key Club was the Breakfast with Santa event. He found his role helping out in the kitchen.

“I always liked cooking, so that’s why I made sure I was in the kitchen. It was nice to see all the kids that showed up to have a great time. A lot of people from the community, and even teachers showed up,” Murphy said. 

It is this year that Murphy has started chairing events for Key Club.

“As the chairman you have to organize. There might be different places that have to be managed. You have to keep things in order and be an overseer,” Murphy said. “To be a successful volunteer, you have to love it, first off. You’re not going to volunteer unless it's something you want to do. You have to have the want to help people, but you also have to be diligent.”

Besides Key Club, Murphy is heavily involved in other activities: Student Council, National Honor Society, Environmental Club, Track and Field in the spring season, and Cross Country in the fall season.

“In school you have to make sure you take advantage of your time completely. Still, there’s always time to help somebody out,” Murphy said.

Murphy’s athleticism stems from his days doing basketball in middle school. After COVID-19 created an impediment in being able to attend practices, Murphy took a break from the hoops. Hence, in high school he sought out a different sport. It ended up centering around running.

“I thought it was cool how it is a sport that anybody could win. With training, anybody has a chance,” Murphy said.

From this, Murphy enjoys math most of all in school. Yet, science is ranked up high on his list. His favorite class is Medical Terminology. 

“Every single morning I looked forward to going to that class,” Murphy said.

It makes sense given that Murphy plans to go into medicine and become a thoracic surgeon. In terms of college plans, Murphy is considering going to Chicago or the East Coast.