By Debbie Adams
William Byrd High School inducted 76 members of the Class of 2023 into the prestigious Beta Club honor society at a ceremony in the school auditorium on October 25. This was just the first of many recognition events for the seniors during the 2022-2023 school year.
Beta Club is a national organization which promotes achievement, character, leadership, and service. Students are invited to join at the beginning of their senior year based on their GPA at the end of their junior year, which must be at least a 3.75.
Students who accept membership agree to perform 10 hours or more of community service in the school or community.
Four new members led the induction ceremony—Martina Mihelcic, Anna Martin, Maddy Simmons, and Kathryn Johnson.
Principal Tammy Newcomb welcomed students and their families to the event, congratulating them and noting that the number of inductees was the largest in recent memory and that “says a lot considering what we have been through in the last few years with the pandemic.”
Newcomb congratulated the students on their accomplishments, saying “it is truly an honor to be in the Beta Club,” and demonstrates “not only your intelligence, but your hard work.”
Beta Club members will be recognized at graduation next spring by wearing BETA cords and pins that they receive during the Senior Honors Banquet.
She reminded new Beta Club members of the organization’s motto, “Let Us Lead by Serving,” and that she hoped, no matter where the students end up living after graduation, that they will “want their community to thrive and will contribute” to that effort.
Newcomb also encouraged students to reflect throughout their senior year on “who helped you get where you are today and have so much pride and joy in you.”
She described the new members as “the Terriers we want everyone to be.”
Senior Martina Mihelcic said, “This is the 62nd year William Byrd has inducted members into the Beta Club. The club was chartered here in 1960, so it has a long history in our school. The main objectives of Beta Club are the promotion of achievement, character, leadership, and service in our club members and to set an example for the entire student body. The ultimate goal is the preparation of each individual for his or her place in a democratic world. We take seriously the Beta Club motto “Let Us Lead by Serving Others.”
“As we travel through life, there are many doors that must be unlocked,” she continued. “In school we are taught a variety of skills, such as reading and reasoning, which are the keys for many of the doors that lead to success. There are four additional keys needed for a successful future, however. These are not exclusive characteristics of members of the Beta Chapter; anyone may possess them.”
Inductee Anna Martin talked about the keys of achievement and character.
She said, “Before we can unlock some of life’s doors, we are asked these questions: ‘What have you done?’ ‘Have you produced something through honest work?’ ‘Have you made satisfactory grades in school?’ ‘Have you completed the tasks you have undertaken?’ ‘Have you used, to advantage, your inborn abilities?’ If you can answer these questions in the affirmative, then you possess the Key of Achievement.
“The second key is Character. It is a very strong key and will unlock the most difficult locks. In fact, there are many doors in life that can be unlocked with this key only, for they resist anyone who attempts to unlock them without the Key of Character. When this key was forged, many different metals– dependability, humility, justice, compassion, and most of all, the metal of integrity–were fused into it. Successful is the person who can possess this key.”
Maddy Simmons talked about the third key to success—leadership. “It is an elusive key and possesses almost magical powers. One seldom possesses it unless he/she also owns the Keys of Achievement and Character. It wields great influence and unlocks doors that lead all of us, in some degree, to influence our neighbors. It is deceptive, because sometimes we may hold it in our hands and be unaware that we have it. For those who discover their ownership of it, it can be used in locks devised by the most clever of locksmiths; however, it must be used skillfully and wisely and for the good of humanity, or it will disappear from the hand that holds it.”
Kathryn Johnson completed the presentation by describing the fourth key, the Key of Service.
“It is a master key. It will unlock all the doors that open the heart of humankind. And although it can be used so often and so well, it is not difficult to own. It is used daily by a vast number of men and women, boys and girls. Whenever any help is rendered, whether great or small, this key is employed. It has a surprising quality; the more it is used and the older and more worn it becomes, the more efficient it is, unlocking more and more doors. You cannot wear it out, because even after the user has laid it down, the effectiveness of it remains.
“On behalf of all the new members, I accept these keys,” Johnson said. “We promise to guard them well, use them wisely, and to pass them on to future members of this BETA Chapter.”
The Beta Club Induction Ceremony concluded with Newcomb calling the names of the new members who received their certificates from Beta Club sponsors Suzanne Spruell and Carla Hatfield and lined up across the stage for recognition.
The new Beta Club inductees for 2022-2023 are: Ella Ashworth, Aleyah Basham, Bethany Beecher, Mikayla Belanger, Jacob Blevins, Reagan Booth, Tristan Bunn, Madison Burks, Madilyn Cadd, Casi Carawan, Sophia Chrisley, Brandon Clark, Makayla Collins, Jason Cox, Case Crawford, Melissa Cruz-Quiroz, Taylor Davis, Kara Defibaugh, Reagan Dillard, Elijah Dillon, Bailey Dollberg, Kristianna Fitzgerald, Summer Garmon, Ricardo Gaspar-Cabrera, Maci Glass, Emma Gordon, Sydney Haddox, Daniel Hiemstra, Breanna Hodges, Dylan Hughes, Olivia Hurd, Hannah Johnson, Kathryn Johnson, Victoria Johnson, Ashton Kanode, Carsyn Kotz, Jakob Kroese, Lily Kroese, Sage Kushman, Hailey Lascell, Tina Lin, Grace Long, Alejandro Lopez, Anna Martin, Thomas McGregor, Martina Mihelcic, Holly Mills, Harley Morgan, Matan Morse, Colin Murtaugh, Mason Nguyen, McKenna Paradis, Maggie Parkhurst, Dominic Pascoe, Justin Patrick, Kristen Patrick, Latriva Pierce, Corinna Pittenger, Xavier Preston, Kiefer Rea, Dustin Richards, Magdalene Rusinak, Kenna Sarver, Julie Sattah, Kaiden Schuder, Pari Shah, Madeline Simmons, Olivia Staten, Nicolette Stiltner, Caleb Thompson, Kathryn Toney, Haleigh Vaughan, Xavier Vaughn, Bailey Warden, Madeleine Wolters-Argenio, and Collin Young.
Once all the names were called, Newcomb led the inductees in the Beta Pledge: “I do solemnly declare that I shall always strive to hold fast to the principles of honesty, to maintain an admirable reputation, and to develop a foundation of character, service, and leadership in my life. I also pledge to promote an individual responsibility to improve my school, community, state, and nation.”