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Tomorrow’s leaders today

GREENSBORO – Hertford County is leading the state.

At the recent North Carolina Junior Beta Club state convention, two local students were selected as officers for the 2008-2009 school year.

Destiny Britt of Hertford County Middle School was chosen as Vice President of the state Junior Beta Club while Taylor McKeel of Ridgecroft School was selected State Reporter.

“My heart dropped,” Britt said of the announcement of her win. “I was shocked and nervous, but I was glad.”

She said she wanted to be one of the state officers to help lead the club.

“I want to lead,” she said. “I also want to show others they can be state officers.”

The opportunity to be a state officer had never been there for a member of the HCMS chapter of the Junior Beta Club. Unless the club exists in the ninth grade, a student in the eighth grade can’t run for office.

Hertford County Middle School teacher Renee Tyree, who has sponsored the Junior Beta Club there for three years, saw an opportunity when the Ninth Grade Success Academy was moved to the Murfreesboro campus.

“We added the Junior Beta Club to the freshman academy, something that had never been done before, and that made it possible to run a state officer,” Tyree said.

Tyree sponsors both clubs with the help of teacher Kimeko Vaughan at HCMS and Rachel Vokally for the Ninth Grade Academy.

She said the local clubs wanted to see more representation from eastern North Carolina so they worked together with Junior Beta Clubs at Ridgecroft School and Central Middle School in Gates County.

One key to being elected was the skit that was done for each candidate. The candidate could not take part in the skit, but it helped the voters remember their names.

The HCMS skit was performed by students Bladen Gatling, Brittany Pope, Aneshia Brown, Alexis Everette, Richard Bradley, Jamihal Bond, Raquan Staten and Tykiera Hall.

The skit was based on the theme “Believe in Destiny” and was centered on the Wizard of Oz.

So good was the performance, it was judged first place for campaign skits.

It helped Britt win the election and become part of the state club.

“I was excited when I was chosen to run for vice president,” she said. “I enjoyed working on my speech and practicing it.”

Britt said she had already decided to run for Vice President at the national convention slated for June 14-17 at Myrtle Beach.

In addition to winning the vice presidency and the skit competition, HCMS also took first place in crocheting through an effort by Ashlyn Vinson and third place in geography by Tyler Pryor.

“They did an excellent job,” Hertford County Middle School Principal Carson Watford, who attended the conference, said. “I was proud of their effort.”

Ridgecroft was not new to state office with South Moore currently serving as president of the state Junior Beta Club.

In fact, it was Moore who encouraged McKeel to put her name in the hat for state office.

“I thought it would be a good experience for me to speak in front of people,” McKeel said. “I also thought it might be fun.”

She said Moore encouraged her to run for president, which she did. Because there were no candidates for reporter, it was decided the runner-up for president would serve in that post. McKeel finished second in the race and was thus named Reporter.

She also had a group work to put on a skit to help with her election. They were Casey Jones, Sarah Bolton, Virginia Lane, Ben Newbern, Thomas Vaughan and Dana Vann.

“It was funny,” she said. “Thomas played a caveman who saw a big sign that said ‘Vote for Taylor McKeel #11…so easy a caveman could do it’ and he was offended by it like the television commercials,” she said.

The rest of the cast spent the skit telling him why McKeel would make a good officer.

“They did a good job,” McKeel said.

Ridgecroft School Headmaster Elton Winslow said the school was proud of McKeel’s accomplishment.

“We are proud of Taylor and the leadership she has shown,” he said.