BRANDON – After a three-year absence, a new Brandon High School Leo Club was recently chartered. The club, a student arm of Lions Clubs International, is sponsored by the Brandon Lions Club.
The school’s first Leo Club was chartered Feb. 10, 2004, said Arthur Schmidt, Brandon Lions Club member. The Leo Club was terminated Oct. 10, 2011, because there were no faculty members available to be present at meetings, as required by the school.
Lourdes Olle, Brandon High School’s migrant advocate, began serving this winter as the faculty advisor for the new 12-member group. Ever since joining the school faculty 3.5 years ago, she has been working to get the club chartered again. Last year she joined the Brandon Lions Club.
She has been involved with Lions Clubs International most of her life, because her parents have been members of a Miami Lions Club for 45 years, and two of Olle’s children were active Leo Club members and now are officers for the District 35-I Leo Cabinet.
“I believe in what the Lions stand for and have seen firsthand the good this international club has provided to their communities throughout Florida and the world. I wanted to share this knowledge to the kids at Brandon,” said Olle.
Brandon High Leo Club members Alena Johnson, Savannah Diaz, Thapani Sawaengsri and Delaney Stephan “worked hard alongside with me and were instrumental in the success of starting the club,” said Olle. “Finally, in August of 2013, the Brandon Lions Club voted to grant us their sponsorship and we were chartered by the International Lions Club in February of this year.”
Brandon High’s Leo Club and its officers were formally inducted April 30 by Andrew Moos, the Lions District 35-1 governor. The ceremony was attended by Olle, Schmidt, Richard Olle, Leo president for District 35-1, and Leo Club members.
Alena Johnson was installed as president of the Leo Club; Melisa Aguero, vice-president; Delaney Stephan, secretary; Jazmyne Jackson, treasurer; and Savannah Diaz, historian.
The other Leo Club members are Avery Clemente, Taylor Loch, Jacob Sanz, Nathan Kramer, Thapani Sawaengsri, Laura Tamayo and Brittany Pulaski.
“My Leos have had opportunities to assist not just our local community but also the community in Immokalee, Florida, by helping at their free eye screening and diabetes check-ups held three times a year,” Olle said. “These experiences have provided an avenue to the students to witness different cultures and eco-social conditions that surround us and provide a helping hand, exhibiting the Leos’ and Lions’ motto of ‘We Serve’ at work.”
Send news of community interest to Barbara Routen, freelance writer, at Barbara.Routen@gmail.com.