SP freshman is key for school club

When Spain Park freshman Katie Gunderson found out she was required to choose a club to get involved with, she went for the one where she felt the most comfortable — Key Club with sponsor Marla Hines, who was already one of Katie’s teachers.

“I knew she would be the person in charge, and I liked her, so I went to a meeting,” Gunderson said.

At the Key Club meetings, Hines would talk about different positions the Key Club members could take on, both in the Spain Park club and on a higher level.

That quickly turned into a leadership opportunity for Gunderson, who decided to compete for a lieutenant governor position. Lieutenant governors are responsible for different divisions across the state of Alabama.

In February, Gunderson won, beating out a junior from another school in the process. She just started her term as lieutenant governor two weeks ago.

“She’s the youngest person on the board,” Hines said. “It’s unusual for a freshman to make that.”

Gunderson is responsible for all 12 schools in Shelby County that have Key Clubs. She must make sure they’re paying dues, stay in contact with them and keep them as involved as she can. She goes to Key Club rallies and speaks about the power of leadership. Gunderson also works closely with Children’s Hospital, which is the main charity Key Club works with.

Although she is the youngest lieutenant governor, she is responsible for the most schools. Hines said that responsibility doesn’t faze Gunderson.

“She picked the role that’s right for her,” Hines said. “Katie’s a leader. She’s very driven, and she wants to be able to take on more of a challenge.”

Gunderson, who will travel to Dallas, Texas in July for the International Convention, has larger goals for Key Club.

Next year, she wants to be a lieutenant governor again, and then she plans to run for governor — which would put her in charge of the entire state.

“I think it’s a really good way to help people while being a leader,” she said.

If she becomes governor, she would be the first Key Club governor from Spain Park. In its eight years of existence, the school has had four lieutenant governors but no governors.