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Charting a new path: Scott High’s Jeffers ascends to national Beta Club office

Caleb Jeffers (second from right) is pictured at the state Beta Club convention last winter with fellow Scott High students Sawyer Roberts, Coby Marlow and Bryce Duncan.

In middle and high schools across the country, students are recognized for their academic achievements and efforts by becoming a part of the National Beta Club. The club encourages community involvement and leadership. Each year, students in the Beta Club have the opportunity to participate in their state’s Beta Club convention and the National Beta Club convention.

Scott High School has a tradition of electing an officer to represent the school’s Beta Club at the state convention each year. The school generally nominates a candidate for the secretary position. This person is tasked with being a “helping hand” to the club’s president and vice president.

Jonathan Bridges, a former SHS student, won the state secretary election several years ago, but there has never been a local student to represent the Beta Club on a national level. Enter Caleb Jeffers, who is a member of the SHS Class of 2021. A campaign spearheaded by his fellow betas combined with his endearing personality has put Scott High’s Beta Club in the national spotlight, and Jeffers’ enthusiasm about the office is contagious.

The Beginning

Caleb Jeffers, the son of Jason and Sindi Jeffers — both of them educators in Scott County, is a senior at Scott High School.

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Jeffers’ first experience with the Beta Club came during his time as part of the Huntsville Middle School Junior Beta Club. Although the Junior Beta Club is very similar to the Senior Beta Club that the high school is involved in, the HMS club did not participate in the state or national convention. Fast forward to the end of Jeffers’ sophomore year. This was the point in time where he learned more about Beta elections.

“When I heard about Sawyer Roberts’s (2020 SHS graduate) campaign, I realized it was something that I was interested in,” Jeffers said. “I love public speaking, and thus decided that I would throw my name in the hat for nomination.”

Jeffers campaigned for the office of Tennessee’s Beta Club secretary at the state convention in November upon the urging of his sponsors at SHS. Teacher Tony Duncan pulled Jeffers to the side and asked if he felt he was capable of speaking in front of thousands of his peers at the convention.

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“I simply told him, ‘I think so’, and it turned out the rest of my Beta Club thought the same thing,” Jeffers shared. “The state convention has been one of the best experiences of my life. Part of the process was me giving a speech in front of nearly 5,000 people and running against candidates from all over the state of Tennessee. Another big part was the work my club put in. They had to perform a campaign skit in front of the same audience and did a phenomenal job. When all was said and done, all those in attendance voted on the candidate they wanted, and I am very blessed to have been chosen to serve Tennessee Betas as their state secretary.”

As part of his duties from winning the state election, Jeffers will be giving a keynote address at the next state convention in the fall. He will also take part in judging and supervising competitions that take place at the state convention. As exciting as his win at the state level was, Jeffers did not stop there.

At the National Level

After Jeffers was inducted as the Tennessee Beta Club secretary, it was time to mount a campaign for the national Beta Club office. Once again, he turned to his fellow club members for their support. He was competing against twelve other candidates from across the country, but this campaign turned out to be very different due to the closures of schools due to COVID-19.

“My club rallied behind me and campaigned their hearts out,” Jeffers said. “With everything being virtual, it was a little harder. I just used anything I had around me to campaign online. I highlighted the beauty of Scott County, a construction project going on around my house, my dog, and basically anything else I could find. I made all sorts of videos (all of which are still on my Instagram) with different themes.”

On Mondays, Jeffers would make a movie trailer that revolved around his campaign. Each Friday, he would take viewers on a virtual field trip somewhere in Scott County. He showed them his family farm and the museum at Scott High School. There were also several blooper videos. Each video showcased Jeffers and the county he calls home.

“It was almost a reality show,” Jeffers shared. “I also believe a big part of it was reaching out to people from different states and other Beta Clubs that would be voting. I had to reach out to all these people that I didn’t know, but it all paid off in the end. I also got in touch with many of the candidates running for other offices and even participated in several live question and answer segments online. It was a lot of fun, really!”

Looking Ahead

On July 1, the National Beta Club held its election and Jeffers cemented his place in history by becoming the first Scott Countian to be elected to a National Beta Club office. He is one of only three high school students across the country to currently hold an office at the national level. He was officially inducted to the office on July 6.

At the next national convention, which will be held at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, Jeffers will carry on the same duties that he will have at the state level. He will also give a keynote address to a crowd of around 20,000 people. He will not have to go alone- his fellow SHS Beta Club members will be taking the trip to Disney World with him.

Although Jeffers is now getting recognition for his efforts on a national level, he is quick to point out that this was a group effort.

“I’d just like to give a huge thank you to my club, my friends, and my family. They’ve been a huge support,” Jeffers said. “My family stood behind me and constantly supported me all throughout this journey. My friends were constantly sharing the things I posted on my social media accounts, and I do believe that helped my campaign a great deal. My community has also been with me every step of the way. This has been an amazing experience and I am grateful for everyone’s help.”

This story is the July 2020 installment of Profiles of a 3-Star Community, presented by the Industrial Development Board on the second week of each month as part of the Independent Herald’s Back Page Features series. A print version of this article can be found on Page 15 of the July 9, 2020 edition of the Independent Herald.
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Melanie Garrett
Melanie Garrett is a 2nd grade teacher at Burchfield Elementary School. She completed her Bachelors at Tennessee Tech and Masters at University of the Cumberlands.
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