The Neah-Kah-Nie Leos Club is always on the move – with multiple fundraisers in progress and volunteering for a variety of local events and being the go-to group whenever “help” is needed from high school students.
By Laura Swanson
With over forty members, nearly one-fifth of the high school’s student body, the Leo’s are the high school are of the local Rockaway Beach Lions Club. Don Markle is the Lion’s Club liaison to the group and NKN teacher Mitch Staehle is the faculty advisor. Ariel Breazil is president of Leos, and she said, “This year my ultimate goal is to get club members to volunteer for more hours than ever before, and I’m currently in the process of developing some form of an incentive program.” She continued, “Another goal I have is to set up some kind of recruiting program to boost the number of freshmen next year who join as well as other high schoolers who haven’t thought about joining Leos.” Leo’s Club stands for:
LEADERSHIP: Leo members acquire skills as project organizers and motivators of their peers.
EXPERIENCE: They discover how teamwork and cooperation can bring about change in their community and the world.
OPPORTUNITY: Leos develop positive character traits and receive recognition for their contributions.
The NKN Leos Club was charted in 1997, and has long, strong history of community service. “The program is about community service and leadership developed,” explained Don Markle, Lions Leos liaison. Markle was recently named as the Lions regional district chairman for Leos clubs to revive the clubs throughout Oregon. “There are 175 Lions Clubs in Oregon, but only eight Leos Clubs,” Markle commented. “And none of them have the level of participation that we do here in Rockaway.” Markle is a strong “kid” advocate. “I just love working with kids,” he said. “I spent over 15 years as a policeman, working for the juvenile department, and I know that if you give kids positive programs and support you can turn their lives around, and they have an incredible positive impact on their communities.” Markle has been working with the NKN Leos Club for seven years, and has been instrumental in the growth and strength of the organization. “I guess the statewide Lions group want to see if I can do something to invigorate Leos Clubs everywhere since Neah-Kah-Nie has been so successful, but it’s not about me,” said Markle. “It’s about a great groups of kids with a strong send of community service.”
The NKN Leos currently have three ongoing projects that are being managed by Leos members. SeOnna Moreland is the in charge of the Sock drive. During the sock drive, there will be several drop-off spots throughout NKN for socks. All of the socks collected will be given to the food bank for Christmas. Alaina Holm is in charge of the PBJ/peanut butter and jelly drive. The PBJ drive has been going on for about three weeks. There are PB&J drop offs located in the school as well as the SAI Design and Build office in Rockaway Beach. Like the socks, the peanut butter and jelly will be going to the food bank. Leos also have two year long fundraisers. Isis Breazile is coordinates the eyeglass collection, and all eyeglasses collected through Lions Clubs to be taken to areas throughout the world for people in need. The Leos sponsor an annual blood drive that usually happens in February.
“To me, being a Leo means maturity,” said Leos president Breazile. “What I think is remarkable about our Leos’ members is how responsible they are.” She continued, “We have a group of teenagers giving up hours on their weekend to give back to their community. I pride myself as the Leos president on how self-regulating the members are. Leos tend to be prompt and incredibly respectfully and responsible students. To be a Leo is to be thankful for and proud of their community and willing to show it.”
“As the Lions chairman of this club for 7 years, I have been blessed to have known so many Leos who have the best club in Oregon, right here in Rockaway,” said Markle.
To support the Leos’ Sock and PB&J collections, please bring new socks and PB&J to NKN High School or call 503-355-2272 for more information.