Lincoln-Way students/advisor shine at District Convention Leadership Conference
Friday, April 6, 2018

From Friday, March 9 to Sunday, March 11, 2018, the Illinois-Eastern Iowa District of Key Club International (referred to as the I-I District) held its annual Leadership Conference and District Convention at the Crown Plaza in Springfield, Illinois. Each year at the event, elections are held for various positions on the Executive Board as new divisional Lieutenant Governors are sworn in.

Three outstanding Lincoln-Way students and one excellent Lincoln-Way leader were highlighted during the conference.

Amanda Pohrte, a graduating senior from Lincoln-Way East, turned over her leadership responsibilities to a fellow District 210 student. Pohrte served as Lieutenant Governor of the I-I District for the 2017-2018 school year, and successfully assisted Key Club members within Division 23, which covers 12 high schools including: Bloom, Bloom Trail, Joliet Catholic, Joliet Central, Joliet West, Lincoln-Way Central, Lincoln-Way East, Lincoln-Way West, Rich Central, Rich East, Rich South and Watseka.

“She has made more club contacts and was able to make more club visits than any I’ve seen in ten years as advisor,” says Lincoln-Way East Key Club Advisor, Matthew Jordan. As a 12-school division, the I-I District is one of the largest in the state.

Abigail Caskey, a Lincoln-Way West sophomore, was also highlighted during the conference as she was sworn in as Lieutenant Governor; Caskey’s appointment marks the first time in Lincoln-Way West history that a Warrior has assumed the Lieutenant Governor’s post. “I am ecstatic to start my term,” says Caskey. “I plan to unite all of the Key Club schools in my division. I am elated to see how this year shapes me as a person going forward.”

Her Lincoln-Way West Key Club Advisor, Brian K. Willis Jr., says, “We are proud to have our first ever Lieutenant Governor elected from Lincoln-Way West. Abigail’s perseverance was the ‘key’ to her success, and we know she will do a great job in her new position.”

David Vargas, a Lincoln-Way East sophomore, was also elected to be the new Treasurer of the I-I District. This marks the first time in 30 years a District 210 student will be part of the Executive Board. Over the weekend, Vargas held ten caucuses ahead of voting in order to introduce himself and answer questions from other Key Club members across the state.

Vargas says, “Words can't describe how excited I am to be the Illinois Eastern Iowa District Treasurer for Key Club. It's totally surreal to me. My job as I-I Treasurer is to look over the financials for the District and make sure that everything is in order. I know it’s a huge responsibility, however, I know with my energetic personality, my bubbly attitude and my ability to work well with others, I am able to accept the challenge and get the job done!”

It wasn’t only District 210 students who received appointment and recognition at the event; during the conference, Lincoln-Way East Key Club Advisor Matthew Jordan, was surprised to learn that he had been chosen as the Illinois-Eastern Iowa Faculty Advisor of the Year.

“The kids surprised me by submitting a nomination and writing letters,” he says. “One of the most rewarding parts was actually getting to see the letters they wrote.”

Unbeknownst to Jordan, Pohrte began spearheading the nomination packet in November. "Mr. Jordan has been a wonderful support for me and many students throughout my time at Lincoln Way,” says Pohrte. “Our Key Club would not be anywhere near as strong as it is without him. I wanted to show him just how much he means to our club, and other students were excited to write letters to help with the application and show just how amazing of an advisor Mr. Jordan is."

Jordan was announced as the recipient of the Advisor of the Year award during Saturday night's Governor's Banquet and Awards Ceremony. “It is a great honor to receive this award,” he says. “I am especially grateful to be surrounded by this group of young people so willing to give of themselves to support the needs of the community. It is their character and their generosity that really makes Key Club such a success.”