The Road to New Orleans

On the morning of Sunday June 24th, Circle K members from all across the New Jersey District packed their bags and traveled down to the wonderful city of New Orleans, Louisiana, where they attended this year’s 56th annual Circle K International Convention!

As in year’s prior, the weekend kicked off with CKI’s annual Large Scale Service Project (LSSP), where members were given a chance to give back to the host city New Orleans itself. The fun-filled two-day event included a variety of service projects- ranging from painting murals, all the way to planting mulch around trees!

Following the conclusion of the Large Scale Service Project, the convention itself kicked off with an explosive, spirit filled opening session! Members from all around the world gathered together in their Circle K apparel to celebrate the launch of another exciting International Convention. Yours truly even got a chance to MC the event as the convention’s proclaimed ‘voice of god!’

As the week continued, things began to heat up as candidates for International Office gathered to compete for places on this year’s 2012-2013 Circle K International Board. The competition was fierce, spanning heated debates and caucuses for two arduous days! By the end of the week however, the winners were announced, and our new Circle K International Board will proudly consist of: Daniel Tsang as our next CKI Vice-President, Josephine Lukito as our next CKI President, and lastly our District’s very own Robert Acerra as our next Subregion F International Trustee!

In addition to the intense election season this year, members were also given the chance to partake in quite a few service-affiliated activities as well. On Thursday afternoon, dozens of organizations had a chance to showcase their great new service projects at this year’s Service Fair. The New Jersey District’s one and only Annabelle Fallarme showcased our District’s very own service project, the Six Cents Initiative!

As the convention week progressed, Kiwanis International cordially invited Circle K International to this year’s annual Kiwanis International Convention (also conveniently taking place in New Orleans). Circle K members were given a chance to see just how truly fascinating their parent organization was, being treated to a variety of goodies which included: a live marching band performance to kick of the opening session, a wonderful introduction to all Kiwanis District Governors around the world, some great updates on the organization’s community service progress, a beautiful performance from some of the city’s local professional musicians, and lastly an inspiring keynote by parents of famous football player Michael Other, Leigh Anne and Sean Touhy (subjects of the hit 2009 movie The Blind Side). By the end of the Opening Session, those of us in CKI decided to give back to Kiwanis for their kindness in allowing us to attend their convention, and performed a giant ‘flash mob’ dance in their honor. The Flash Mob was met with warm praise, and the Kiwanis Family left that day with stronger bonds than it had ever held before.

Back at the Circle K International Convention, attendants had an opportunity to sharpen their leadership skills with informative workshops. Topics included learning how to recruit Key Club members, dealing with commonly faced leadership problems, and even figuring out how to score a golden job opportunity after we graduate from college!

On Friday night, the fruitful year round efforts of each and every Circle K International district, club, and member had been put to the test with CKI’s annual Awards Ceremony. After dozens of cheers and celebrations, nearly every District went home in victory that night. The New Jersey District itself won quite a few awards. First and foremost, the District achieved distinguished status, and was only one of the few to do so this year! Other distinguished awards went to our District’s very own Danielle Sammut as Distinguished LTG, and Jennifer Hsieh as Distinguished Governor. On a club level, the big winners on the night included the Richard Stockton College Circle K who won 1st place in the Emerald Growth Enhances Membership Award, The College of New Jersey who won the 2nd place Silver Award Growth Enhances Membership, and lastly Rutgers University who won second place single service for their Fall Benefit Concert.

On the final day of International Convention, members were treated to a free Leadership Luncheon, where they were given the chance to learn more about Kiwanis International’s partnership with the United States Army, and got an opportunity to hear an inspirational speech by the hit TV show Glee’s very own, Lauren Potter.

Soon enough the time came for the convention’s Closing Session. Throughout the session, a variety of highly talented Circle K acts performed for the masses one final time. The four acts included a ‘light saber’ style dance routine, an ace ukulele player, a great ballerina performance, and a breathtaking cover of Defying Gravity.

International President Steven Spriggs also took the stage one last time to offer his farewell address, and to thank Circle K International for a wonderful 2011-2012 service year. He wished us all luck, and then handed over the microphone to our newly elected International President, Josephine Lukilto, who proceeded to adjourn the convention.

-District Editor, Shivam Patel

A Magical World of Service!

On March 23rd, 2012, New Jersey Circle K’s finest gathered together for a magical world of service, leadership, and fellowship at the 48th annual New jersey District Convention! This year’s convention as in the past, had been held at the Hotel Somerset Bridgewater in Somerset, NJ.

The Disney inspired weekend kicked off with an explosive Opening Session on Friday night. Members were introduced to a variety of goodies that night, including a wonderful ‘Lion King’ themed dance introduced by our 2011-2012 New Jersey District Board, a nostalgic member’s video to commemorate our great year of service and lastly a crazy Jungle-Book themed caucus session in order to determine our District’s new executive board!

Elections were no easy feat this year. Candidates from all across New Jersey participated in two heated caucus sessions, as well as a Saturday morning Fishbowl session to weed out the District’s best of the best. While a majority of the offices were unopposed this year, the offices of District Governor and Editor were respectfully contested.

By Saturday afternoon, the House of Delegates convened, and had decided that our new executive board would comprise of Raymond Brophy from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey as the Garden LTG, Saad Shamshair from Rutgers University as Seabreez LTG, Shivam Patel from Rutgers University as District Editor, Sharukh Shamshair from Rutgers University as District Treasurer, Dawn Kreder from TCNJ as District Secretary, and last but not least, Danielle Sammut from TCNJ as District Governor.

In addition to this year’s jungle book of an election, members were treated to a bunch of great activities throughout the second day of our Convention weekend. In the morning, all of our attendees enjoyed a glamorous Snow White themed President’s Luncheon, where club presidents and their respective members were rewarded for a fantastic year of service.

Saturday afternoon, clubs from all across New Jersey competed un a canned sculpture contest using their donations from STUPH. The winning college was given the chance to decide where all of the district’s donations would be going. In the end, Drew University emerged victorious, and graciously offered to split their cans between each of our District’s clubs.

On Saturday night members partook in an majestic Governor’s Banquet themed to the tune of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Many clubs went home with both awards and scholarships that night, and ultimately all ended the day as champions. Shortly after the exciting banquet, members were given a chance to express their excitement during our annual Saturday night dance, in which officers from the District Board auctioned themselves off in order to fund raise for donations towards the ELIMINATE project. The fundraiser ended up being a huge success, and later in the night, members got the chance to witness a special dance rendition of “Captain Jack Sparrow,” starring our District’s very own Joey G and Brian Pluchino.

The weekend concluded on Sunday morning, with a Peter Pan themed Farewell Session in which our District would bid farewell to all of the magical memories we made over the past few days.

Members of the 2011-2012 District Board were officially retired after hosting a wonderful service year, and our District’s new officers took the stage in order to be inducted as the 2012-2013 New Jersey District Board.

With that, the New Jersey District would like to thank all of those whom attended District Convention 2012. We loved seeing all of your wonderful faces, and can’t wait to see them again next year!

-Shivam K. Patel, District Editor

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