Growing up in a military family that often relocates can be challenging as it forces students to make new friends with each move. Central Hardin High School junior Anna Turlington has managed this through her involvements with extracurricular activities.

“The more connections you have, the easier it is to find friends,” she said. “Clubs definitely help.”

The daughter of an Army soldier, Turlington moved to the area last year. She said her family has moved nine times since she was born, most recently living in Virginia.

Turlington, 16, is heavily involved with Central’s Beta Club and is in­vol­ved with 4-H outside of school. Through 4-H, Turlington has a primary focus in hippology — the study of horses.

Turlington recently competed in the 2019 State 4-H Horse Contest, placing in each category in which she competed — art, team hippology and individual judging categories.

This interest in animal studies recently translated to a state-level recognition for Turlington as she competed in March in the 2019 Kentucky Science and En­gi­neering Fair at Eastern Ken­tucky Uni­versity. She placed first in the Animal Science category of the event and also was given an award for creativity.

Turlington’s project analyzed the impact of vaporized nicotine on the regeneration of flatworms. She said giving the flatworms a nicotine and water solution stunted their growth and caused abnormalities dur­ing her project. She said she underwent the project for three months.

“I realized that not a lot of people have looked into how vaping or the vape juice affects regeneration,” she said.

Turlington said the project sparked an interest in scientific research for her. She said one day she would like to pursue a career in the scientific field, particularly in the area of animal science.

Through Beta Club, Tur­ling­ton competed in the state Living Literature competition in January, winning second place. The competition tasks participants with depicting a scene from literature through art.

For her submission, Turling­ton and her teammates depicted a scene from “The Big Friendly Giant” in which the titular giant is reaching into a house. In the piece, Turlington’s team created a large depiction of a giant’s hand using packing tape and a body pillow.

Central Beta Club sponsor Denise Winebarger said Turlington is a truly artistic and gifted Bruin.

“I was amazed by her creativity, vision and dedication to seeing the project from beginning to end,” she said.

Turlington also used her creativity to bring some joy to first-grade students at Lincoln Trail Elementary School when she participated in a Central Hardin art project involving the artistic rendering of monsters. Through the project, Cen­tral students were tasked with creating three dimensional renderings of monsters drawn by Lincoln Trail students.

Turlington’s monster, which she said looked similar to an octopus, was a papier-mache creation made using plastic bags, masking tape, toilet paper rolls, colorful paper and paint. She said seeing the students interact with her art was a rewarding experience.

“It was awesome to see their eyes light up,” she said.

At Central, Turlington also recently co-founded the school’s National Spanish Honors Society chapter. She said the club will focus on helping Spanish-speaking students who might have difficulties with English with their academics. She said the program connects these students with students who are taking upper-level Spanish classes.

Turlington also competed in the Beta National Convention in Okla­homa City, Oklahoma, over the summer. She com­peted with the school’s Beta engineering team, which placed fifth in the nation during the convention.

Turlington said she also enjoys the interaction with children she has gotten through Beta Club, including a princess and superhero-themed party held last year for young children. She said this, along with the skills and teamwork experience she has gotten, are some of her favorite aspects of the club.

“I really like that they push for service,” she said.

Andrew Critchelow can be reached at 270-505-1746 or acritchelow@thenewsenterprise.com.