High schools in two school districts in the county placed in several events at state convention.

The schools attended the 79th annual Senior Beta Convention Jan. 19-21 at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville.

According to the Na­tional Beta Club website, the club “is the largest independent, nonprofit, educational youth organization in America.”

Club members competed in a variety of events ranging between technical and artistic skills.

This year, Eliza­beth­town High School placed in 17 events. Last year, the school placed in seven.

To join the club, mem­bers need at least a 3.875 GPA and collect 20 hours of community service every year with a meeting a month.

There currently are 100 members in the club, with some even hitting more than 100 service hours, said Lisa Hornback, one of Elizabethtown’s Beta Club sponors.

“We really work for our community as well as our school,” Hornback said.

At the state convention, if a club places in the top five of an event, then they qualify for nationals.

This year, the 2020 Sen­ior National Con­ven­tion is June 15-18 at the Fort Worth Convention Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

She said the club at the high school has not yet attended nationals.

Because of the large jump in placings, Horn­back said they don’t really have any money in their budget to facilitate the team going to nationals.

Their goal right now is to raise $12,000 to $13,000.

“June’s gonna be here before you know it,” Horn­back said.

Grace Key, a E’town sen­ior, has been in the club since seventh grade at T.K. Stone Middle School.

This year, Key performed a ballet solo to the Arabian Variation from the Nutcracker. This is her third time attending state and the first time she has placed.

“Being on stage in front of 20,000 people was a little bit of a shock factor,” she said.

Key also earned a gold­en ticket for her performance, which means she is able to appear in a performance conducted by Beta Club members all over the country at the national convention.

“Beta Club gives you the opportunity to not only participate with your friends and your classmates, but ... make an impact on your community,” Key said.

Chloe Hornback, fresh­man and Lisa’s daughter, was involved with six projects that placed including technology and the living literature event.

“It’s kind of crazy,” Chloe said about the jump in the places between this year and last. “We did that. We came together.”

For Chloe, she said meeting different people at the convention was one of the most rewarding parts.

“It’s just really good experience, that kind of thing that makes you ... put things into perspective,” she said.

In the Hardin County Schools district, Central Hardin High School made it out of the state convention with 10 places.

Central students atten­ded the national con­ven­tion last year and finished with five placings.

Angela Cannon, one of the club’s sponsors, said she is proud of the students’ work within the club, including the 55 students that went to the state convention.

The requirement to join is a 92 percent overall average grade, 12 hours of service every year and to not miss more than two monthly meetings.

Cannon said several students plan to go to nationals with at least one person representing each event the club placed in.

However, in order keep costs down to about $200 a students, they need to raise $8,700.

Cannon said last year they had several donors and donations to contribute to nationals, but this year they do not.

To raise the money for this year’s nationals she said they are holding a bake sale and selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Yankee Candles.

“I enjoy this group of kids because they are going to be the leaders in our community and our state and in our nation,” Cannon said.

Junior Caleb Young, who has been in the club at Central Hardin for three years, also attended the national convention last year.

He said the friends he has made in the club and at the conventions have been important.

“You make friends and you keep them,” Young said. “It’s a strong bond between people.”

Junior Anna Turlington has been in the club for two years and did joined partly for the relationships.

When Turlington moved and started going to Central, she wanted to get involved in the school but saw it did not have a National Honors Society.

Beta Club was the equivalent to that and decided to get involved.

“I found a lot of my friends through Beta,” Turlington said.

She ended up going to the national con­ven­tion last year in Oklahoma City where she said she made friends from all over the country.

This year she campaigned to be the state secretary at the convention. The state conventions give students the opportunity to run for office in different capacities and become an officer at the national convention.

While Turlington isn’t allowed to participate in any events, she is allowed to help with projects before the convention.

At convention, she had to give a two minute speech and the club performs a skit about the theme of her campaign, along with talking to other convention attendees one-on-one.

While she did not win, she said it was a worthwhile experience getting to know people at nationals.

“Best decision in the world to make in your high school career,” Turlington said about joining Beta Club.

Andrew Harp can be reached at 270-505-1747 or aharp@thenewsenterprise.com.

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