The prestigious Key of Honor is the highest honor bestowed by Key Club International. The award recognizes individuals who have gone beyond the call of duty to serving the youth of our nation. The Key of Honor is not awarded every year – only in years when deserving individuals are identified. This year one of the Kentucky-Tennessee District’s own, Carolyn Hamilton, has been named as a recipient of the Key of Honor.
Carolyn has been supporting Key Club’s youth as a Key Club faculty advisor in the Kentucky-Tennessee District for over 20 years. Throughout this time she has changed lives over and over again, sometimes directly and at other times indirectly, sometimes quietly and sometimes very visibly, sometimes deliberately but most often without even realizing it. Immediate past K-T District Key Club governor, Katie Stuart notes, “Mrs. Hamilton has had a far-reaching impact upon my life, and I hope one day to guide young people as she has guided me.” Immediate past district secretary, Emily Meffert writes, “I ascribe much of my growth as an individual to this person’s encouragement and direction.” Echoing this sentiment, a former Ezekiel Fugate says: “Few people have had as profound an impact on my life. I didn’t know it when I was in her high school calculus class, but the lessons this person imparted to me would shape the rest of my life.”
The testimony from former Key Clubbers whose lives have been impacted could go and on. But, this year’s recipient also has a positive effect on many adults. Jonathon Fields, former colleague credits Mrs. Hamilton with showing him how to be the right kind of Key Club advisor. He writes: “I learned a great deal about caring, serving, and how to lead students from the back of the room rather than in the front behind a podium. Another former student, who is now an educator, continues to be impacted by Carolyn as an adult. He says, “I strive to connect with my students in the way that this person connected with me, by showing them that I truly care about their success and fulfillment, not only in the classroom but also in life.”
When Sarah Nixon a former student and classroom asked Mrs. Hamilton if there was a “secret formula” for reaching students, her was short and simple:…. “Be there for them.” And Carolyn has been there for so many people. She is first and foremost a devoted wife and mother, who would move heaven and earth for her family. She is a devout church member. She is an involved community volunteer who never tires of helping others. She is an extraordinary Kiwanis Advisor and Key Club Zone Chair. She is a teacher, a builder of leaders, a motivator, a counselor, a disciplinarian, and a best friend all rolled into one. She is, in short, a phenomenon.
For all she does, but most of all for the wonderful person she is, this summer at the Key Club International Convention in Washington, DC, the prestigious Key of Honor will be awarded to Carolyn Hamilton.