Washington High School junior Audrey Wright likes to travel. But last weekend it was a short trip to French Lick that will take Wright to far away places.
Wright was elected as Indiana State Beta President at the state Beta convention held Nov. 2 and 3 in French Lick. Wright was selected by a vote of all Betas from across the state out of seven candidates for the organizations’ top leadership position. Her term will begin during a national Beta leadership summit in Washington, D.C. in early July, 2020 and continue for one year. But being elected president has been something that has been on her mind for quite some time.
“Ever since second grade I had always said that I was going to be president,” said Wright, who has been in Beta since junior high. “My freshman year I was in Beta and I knew I wanted to be president. Every since then I’ve had this book and written down every idea I had, and I just knew I wanted to run.”
At the state convention, Wright was the last of the seven candidates to speak, and her anxiety increased as she watched the first six Betas nervously address the convention. But when fellow WHS Beta Ian Dayton gave a rousing introduction, her nerves went away.
“Ian gave his speech, and immediately I knew it was going to be amazing,” said Wright. “I was there with all my Beta family, and it wasn’t like a speech at all, I was just talking to everyone.”
Wright’s campaign theme – “Take Flight with Wright” – was an obvious takeoff on the Wright Brothers and the birth of flight. The young woman who recently traveled to Europe for the second time thought it was an appropriate theme.
“A lot of people will run with a theme that doesn’t necessarily mean something to them. I sat down and thought ‘What do I want my campaign to be about?’” said Wright, who was supported by nearly 100 fellow Betas from WHS sporting green shirts imprinted with her campaign slogan. “We had the common goal of doing something together. I thought about it. I travel a lot, my last name is Wright, we’re all Betas and we’re all going somewhere.”
Sara Kelso, one of the WHS Beta cosponsors along with Cindy Wilson, praised Wright and noted her campaigning isn’t over yet.
“Audrey has been working very hard to plan her campaign for a Beta state office. She has been practicing her speech, networking, and planning her campaign skit for well over a month,” said Kelso. “She is a hard worker and I know that she is excited to campaign at nationals. Our club is ready to ‘Take Flight with Wright.’”
A large contingent of WHS Betas qualified for the national Beta convention, to be held in Ft. Worth, Texas in June. Kelso was excited about the variety of talent the WHS club exhibited at state, and was especially pleased for senior Noah Meece.
“Nationals will be in Ft. Worth, Texas this year. All of our club members who placed in the top three can move on and compete at the national level. We are excited to be taking winners from a variety of competitions to Nationals. Our winners include academic tests, Art projects, and musical talent,” said Kelso. “Noah Meece won the senior level ‘Best in Show’ with his Recyclable Art piece. Noah always brings such creative work in this category. It is really neat for him to have won ‘Best in Show’ in his senior year.”
“I am so proud of the hard work and enthusiasm this club has brought throughout the years and especially this year. The accolades these students receive not only reflect their talents, ability, and hard work, but also the training and education they have received at WHS,” said Wilson. “From their academic classes to art, band, dance, and choir, these students have been given a great background to be able to express themselves in a highly competitive environment. Our community, likewise, has provided support, encouragement, and a means for these kids to serve others. I am so proud and grateful to be able to work with these students.”
The WHS Beta as a group took first place in the following categories: Group talent, Campaign Skit, Service Learning Showcase; Portfolio; Apparel Design; 2-D design; Marketing and Communications; and Engineering. Second place finishes included Show Choir; Living Lit; Character Performance; 3-D Design; and Freshman Problem Solving.
WHS students earning first place individual awards included Alyssa Edwards, Mixed Media; Jacky Abrejo, Jewelry; Ashley Moreno; Sculpture; Ben Myers, Freshman Math; Jayden Meredith, Freshman Science; Isaac Mozingo; Freshman Social Studies; Carmen Mejia, Sophomore Spanish; Abbie Mattingly, Division 1 Speech; and Meece. Taking second place individually included Faith Dalton, Digital Art; Ellie Smith, Freshman Agriscience; Ian Dayton, Onsite Drawing; Garrett Gray, Senior Agriscience; and Peyton Summers, Division 2 Speech. Third place finishes went to Alsace Key, Creative Writing; Breanna Coffman, Senior Spanish; Ben Grubbs, Drawing; Paige Byrd, Digital Art; and Alex Myers, Freshman English.
In addition, WHS Beta’s Ella Barnard, Allie Davis, Alissa Rogers, Lily Jones, Erin Murray, and Kenzie Leighty were selected as “premier dancers” and will perform a specially choreographed opening routine at nationals.