Students chosen for leadership awards at Natchez High School

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 21, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; A couple of Natchez High upperclassmen aren’t waiting for life in the real world to be effective leaders.

Senior Stephanie Carter and junior Crystal Wright are active in many school clubs and have worked to organize projects and ideas among their peers and are now being rewarded for their efforts.

Carter received a national award, the John W. Harris Leadership Award, through the Beta Club. Wright was invited to attend the Summer Leadership Invitational at the University of Hawaii for her work with the Student Council.

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Carter, nominated by Beta Club sponsor Barbara Winston, was one of 50 students chosen nationwide for the award.

The winners must show proven leadership skills, service to school and community and character traits in the Beta Club creed. Carter was the only Mississippi resident to receive the award.

As club president this year, Carter has helped organize a different community service project each month including, a school uniform collection drive, a canned goods drive, a teacher luncheon, treats for Natchez High teachers and the Pennies for Patients fundraiser to benefit leukemia research. This month the club will be involved in Relay for Life.

Carter joined the Beta Club in middle school and had remained a member throughout high school, though she didn’t take a leadership role until recent years.

&uot;In ninth- and tenth-grade I was not too involved because I was quiet,&uot; Carter said. &uot;But little by little I started joining clubs.&uot;

Friends and club members pushed Carter to run for office and take on more responsibility.

&uot;I liked going to nursing homes and working in the community,&uot; Carter said. &uot;It was good to see people smile. I always did my best in everything and my friends said I should go for a position.&uot;

Now active in the National Honor Society, Student Council, the Mayor’s Youth Council, Ruriteen and Beta Club, Carter said she finds herself running most of the day.

To make the club meetings her day often starts at 6 a.m. for a 7:20 arrival at school. A senior, she leaves school early to go to work at Allstate Insurance. Studying comes late at night or during lulls at work and school.

The all A student carries a better than perfect GPA of 4.476 and will graduate among the top in her class in May.

Carter has been invited to attend the Broyhill Leadership Conference at Belmont Abbey College in Charlotte, N.C. in July.

&uot;She is just wonderful,&uot; Winston said of Carter. &uot;All I have to do is tell her what I want done and she takes care of it.&uot;

Carter plans to attend Alcorn State University next year and major in nursing. Ultimately she would like to work as a registered nurse.

She’s hoping to get a jumpstart on college by enrolling in an ASU program in June that helps students make the transition from high school to college.

July for Wright will mean Waikki beach time, canoeing and luaus plus an intensive leadership conference.

StudentGov Hawaii invited select sophomores and juniors from each geographic region in the country to take part in their conference. Participants were selected based on teacher nominations that show leadership qualities, attitude, ability to work with others, maturity, student involvement and grades.

The conference will include instruction from high profile directors to develop new leadership skills and techniques, college preparatory opportunities, information on scholarships and free time in Hawaii.

Wright found out about the Hawaii trip earlier this year when friends from school started calling her. Winston, also the Student Council sponsor, had the news announced over the school intercom, but Wright was absent that day.

&uot;I was in shock,&uot; Wright said. &uot;It’s just such an incredible honor.&uot;

Wright is a class representative for the 11th-graders. Her responsibilities include attending all class meetings and planning events that affect her peers.

&uot;It seemed fun and I wanted to get involved with helping my class,&uot; she said.

Wright is also a member of Beta Club, National Honor Society and the Health Occupation Students of America. She tutors children at the Natchez Children’s Home and is an all A student with a 4.56 GPA.

She wants to become either a radiologist or an anesthesiologist. She is hopeful the conference will better prepare her for future leadership roles.

&uot;It will help me with leadership skills and cooperation with other people in a working environment,&uot; Wright said.