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McKENZIE (September 9) — Members and sponsors of the McKenzie High School Beta Club gathered in the theater Sunday afternoon to induct another 48 students into their ranks, joined by family and friends.
The ceremony was carried out by Beta Club officers Julianna Cole, Braxton Hobson, Hannah Adkins, Momi DeLoach, Macey Ognibene, Isabella Colotta and Jackey Zheng, sponsors Kevin Gallimore, Beth Bailey and Lizz Gonzalez and Principal Tim Watkins.
Zheng called the program to order, and Cole welcomed all. Hobson then led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Next, different officers in turn explained the mission and vision of the club and the symbolism of the Beta emblem. Then, several of the officers recited the club’s creed, which points to honesty, justice, service, cooperation, responsibility, industriousness, humility and charity.
Cole noted that the club had been recognized for service projects at the state and national level for three straight years. She then introduced the club’s spokesman and featured speaker, Nathan Rorer.
Rorer began by congratulating the inductees, saying, “Each and everyone one of you is an important asset that will shape our wonderful club in the years to come.” He thanked the sponsors for the opportunity to speak at the event.
He said to his fellow members, “We are always told that we can do whatever we dream of and that we can change the world if we just put our minds to the task. As students, as betas, as a TEAM, we can make a difference. We cannot tackle all of the world’s problems in the blink of an eye, but if we all work together we can start the change right here in our community.”
He said, “In order to climb a mountain, no matter how high, there must always be a first step.... The mountain that stands before us today is the battle to combat hunger and lack of available resources in our county. Our Beta service team has joined forces with the Northwest TN Economic Development Council and Ms. Amber Gilmer of the Carroll County Service Center to fight the rising levels of poverty surrounding us. The Northwest TN Economic Development Council is a private, non-profit community action agency that focuses on helping those in need. The Carroll County Service Center is located in Huntingdon, which provides a clothing closet, diaper bank, commodity food program, rent assistance and utility assistance. According to Data USA, about 20 percent of the population in Carroll County live below the poverty line, which is six percent above the national average. This means that well over 5,000 people in our community that we see on a daily basis, struggle for the basic resources that some of us may take for granted. However, there are only about 800 yearly participants in the commodity food program, which means that out the 20 percent of impoverished individuals only about seven percent have utilized these helpful resources. This years’ service team has recognized these needs and has committed to taking the first step necessary to be the change we wish to see.”
He announced the team’s project, the Empty Bowls Soup Supper, which will take place on Thursday, November 29 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the McKenzie Farmers Market.
In addition, the team will be offering assistance with providing diapers to parents in need and volunteering and donating to help with the clothing closet.
He said to all gathered, “We look forward to your cooperation and generous aid in efforts to decrease our poverty-stricken home. Our community is in desperate need of courageous individuals willing to step up and make a difference. Beta club can be the spark that ignites the light within each of us that inspires change in the world.”
He concluded, “Beta inductees, your cornerstone is set. Now is the time for us to look within, find ourselves, unite and make a change. Thank You.”
Next, the candle-lighting ceremony was performed by several officers. A white candle represents light, purity and faith. A red candle symbolizes pure love, wisdom and bravery. A blue candle portrays truth, constancy and fidelity. A black candle is lit for dignity, restraint and seriousness. Finally, a gold candle denotes warmth, friendship and faithfulness.
Gallimore then congratulated the inductees and current members for being one of the largest in the state, despite the fact that most school admit all four grades while McKenzie does not admit freshmen. He noted that out of tens of thousands of students, McKenzie had five top-ten wins at Nationals. He announced that Braxton Hobson was elected to serve as a state representative for Tennessee and as a National Beta Officer. He was sent to Washington D.C. for a National Leadership Conference, where he was named a National Ambassador for Beta.
Gallimore then administered the Pledge of Membership to new inductees.
Following the awarding of certificates, Principal Watkins delivered the Principal’s Challenge. He spoke about the many rights that are afforded citizens in this country and noted that those rights come with responsibilities. He also evoked the Golden Rule, saying that “how you treat other people will get you further than any class you’ll take.”
As the ceremony closed, Gallimore told the inductees, now full members, “Strive to always be the best that you can be.”
Following photographs, refreshments were enjoyed in the lobby.