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BRIGHT FUTURE: NHS student sets sights on Capitol

NATCHEZ — Terry McBeth, more than anything, wants to help people, and this summer he hopes he can get a glimpse of how to do that from the nation’s Capitol.

McBeth, 17, said he dreams of becoming a congressman, not for power or glory, but to help improve lives.

“I would like to see the economy get back stable, and I would like to see more job opportunities become available to a lot of American citizens,” he said. “I am also one of those people who wants to see less needy people and less abuse, so if I was to run for office that would be my stand — I want to see more people getting back on their feet. If I see you in need, I am going to try to help you.”

McBeth got his first real taste of politics in February, when he attended the Youth Leadership Conference in Jackson, where he was able to meet with other teens and state leaders, including Sen. Melanie Sojourner (R-Natchez) and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves.

“At the leadership conference, you learn how to speak up, how to talk even when someone is up there leading it doesn’t hurt to step up and voice your opinion,” McBeth said.

“You meet these 75 other people, your peers, and you saw that even though you come from different places, you have things in common and you share similar interests.”

The teen won the opportunity to attend the conference through writing an essay for the Southwest Mississippi Electric Power Association about how the local power cooperative helps the community.

McBeth said his essay was about how, in a world dependent on electronic technology, having a cooperative that responds to power outages quickly is important.

In addition to meeting state legislators, McBeth will have the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., in June, where he will meet with several congressional leaders.

“I am really looking forward to touring the Capitol and actually in sitting in those groups with the congressmen,” he said. “I want to know how would it feel to be in their presence, what are their daily lives like, what are some of the challenges they face in these seats?”

And while he waits to meet the nation’s leaders, McBeth said he’ll continue to work on his leadership skills here at home, where he is a student office worker at Natchez High School and the youth minister at his church, the Word of Truth Gospel Center Global. He also works as a tutor in U.S. history and reading.

“A lot of the kids in my class look up to me to be the one to do certain things,” he said. “They watch what I do, and if I am doing something wrong or something right, they will say, ‘You know I am watching you.’”

Terry is the son of T.C. McBeth Sr. and Anita McBeth.