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Fridley Public Schools

This year’s most prestigious individual award in Key Club, the Sandy Nininger Medal, was awarded to Fridley High School (FHS) senior Priya Rana. This award is given annually to one senior Key Club student in the Minnesota-Dakotas district who has distinguished themselves by making the most of opportunities, and one who has served above and beyond the call of duty.

Rana has been a community-service leader and valued Key Club officer throughout her time at FHS. She has served as Key Club secretary for the past three years, consistently earning the title as Distinguished Officer at the annual Minnesota-Dakotas District Leadership Convention (DCON) and has been instrumental in a multitude of Key Club projects and volunteer service opportunities. According to Rana, community service has always been a big part of her life.

“Whether I volunteer through Key Club, Minnesota Honor Society, or just on my own time, helping others is one of my passions,” said Rana.

In June 2020, Rana co-founded a non-profit called Kavya Tutoring, a virtual tutoring program that provides academic support in reading, science, math and social studies for students in 1st through 8th grade. She serves as vice president and said the nonprofit has allowed her to develop leadership and communication skills, while she has discovered a new passion for teaching children.

“When the pandemic first started, I realized that many students were struggling to stay on top of school work. One of the most difficult things was understanding the concept and communicating with teachers about subjects I needed help with,” said Rana.

Rana and her friends decided to take on the challenge to create Kavya Tutoring.  “I’ve learned a lot about myself through this experience, and have developed great skills that I’ll carry on with me for the rest of my life,” she said.

Looking back, Rana credits Columbia Heights-Fridley Kiwanis member and Key Club advisor Mary Bowen for her encouragement and mentorship over the years. “Mary is someone who has helped to fuel my commitment to service,” said Rana. “She has helped to shape me into the person I am today. If it wasn’t for Mary, I would still be the shy student in the back of the classroom.”

Rana added praise to her Key Club advisors, officers and board members for all their help and support. “I could never have achieved so much without them,” said Rana. “I am so happy to be a part of this wonderful organization called Key Club.”