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A school leader and community helper

The fifth-grader at Brooksville Elementary says doing service projects in the community "gives you pride.''

By LOGAN NEILL

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 26, 2000


If you ask around Brooksville Elementary School who is one of the school's most promising future leaders, you will hear Kaitlynn Royal's name mentioned frequently.

"She is the kind of person who students immediately like and respect," Brooksville Elementary principal Sue Stoops said. "She's going to be one of those students we'll be hearing about a lot as time goes on."

At 10, Kaitlynn is already accomplished. An honor student in Lisa Crook's fifth-grade class, she is a whiz at every subject she tackles. In addition, she serves as a captain in the school's safety patrol program and frequently assists as a student aide in the office.

And then there is the side of Kaitlynn that her peers admire most: the conscientious young citizen who puts a high value on helping her community. This she does through two school organizations, K-Kids, where she serves as president, and through the newly formed chapter of the National Junior Beta Club.

"It gives you a good feeling when you can make a difference in someone's life," Kaitlynn said. "Doing things in the community gives you pride in knowing that you've helped someone, at least a little bit."

K-Kids, an organization sponsored by the Kiwanis International, seeks to involve its members by promoting leadership and responsibility roles within the community. The club's activities include visiting nursing homes, providing reading help for at-risk pupils and working on school environmental projects.

One activity that Kaitlynn is particularly proud of involves the Reading Is Fundamental tutoring program at the Moton Early Intervention Center. Each month Kaitlynn and other club members visit the school to read to younger children.

"It's fun because they especially like seeing older kids at their school," she said.

Another favorite project has been the club's visitations to area nursing homes during the holidays.

"We make cards for the residents and bring presents, too," she said. "It's nice to see them smile and have a good time. A lot of them just don't get many visitors, so they're always happy to see us."

As the club's president, Kaitlynn helps set meeting agendas and decides which fundraising activities the organization will involve itself in. The money it raises from candy and ice cream sales at school functions goes toward various projects during the year.

"It's a fun club because everyone who is in it knows they are doing something important for the community," said Kaitlynn, who plans to further her community service even after she leaves Brooksville Elementary.

"Once you start doing (community service) it's hard to not like it," she said. "I've gotten to know a lot of people through K-Kids and the Beta Club, and everybody is the same; we all like to help people."

NAME: Kaitlynn Royal

AGE: 10

SCHOOL: Brooksville Elementary

PARENTS: Scott and Bobbi Jo Royal

FAVORITE SUBJECT: math

HOBBY: Tae kwon do

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