The National Beta Club promotes the ideals of academic achievement, character, service and leadership among elementary and secondary school students. Lone Oak High boosts a membership of 80 young people who demonstrate their motto, "Let Us Lead by Serving Others," on a daily basis.
Adam Sims and Morgan Morris, teachers and Beta Club sponsors; principal Brian Harper; Laura Robertson, Starfish guide chaperone; and Jackie Smith, parent chaperone; had the privilege of accompanying the super cool high schoolers outside the classroom to view another way of life.
With only four months of fundraising, coordinating and planning, this large group of tomorrow’s leaders departed with a service mission in mind. Special-needs children in four government-run orphanages would receive 180 pairs of shoes, 1,000 treat bags, $15,000 of scrubs/clothing, and other donated items totaling over $50,000. Not only laden with material gifts, the eager volunteers spent five days serving homeless and impoverished families by distributing food bags, assisting with painting and general clean-up duties, and uplifting activities such as playing soccer and giving out hugs and smiles.
Most of the highly motivated travelers had toured outside Kentucky but not outside the United States, especially to a poverty-stricken, densely populated country in Central America. They wished to share their experiences with all their friends and peers:
~ "It was a very interesting experience. Words can’t describe it, and pictures don’t do it justice. I have never appreciated coming home so much!" — Maegan Alexander
~"It was a real eye-opening experience. I will never forget the people and children that I was blessed to meet down there. Who knew that within that short time my outlook on life would totally change." — Ashley Ciallella
~"I thought going on the trip to El Salvador would be a great experience to help others and try to change lives of others, but my life ended up being changed by the young children I met." — Kylie Tillett
~ "Our trip to El Salvador was such a life-changing experience for me. I have never seen living conditions so horrible. It was a huge eye opener for me." — Jackie Ponting
~ "The trip to El Salvador was such a blessing. I loved getting to love on all the little kids. When we got to see how the world outside the U.S. really lives, it was a eye-opener for sure." — Madi Parker
~ "The trip to El Salvador and serving others with my peers was the most amazing experience I have had in my high school career. Words cannot express what it is like to have a child who has nothing to embrace you, a total stranger, and show you the purest form of love without expecting anything in return. At the end of each day, we were emotionally, physically, and mentally drained. Yet, when morning came around, everyone was eager to serve humbly and purposefully." — Ruth Wooten, Beta Club president
~ "I wish I could go back. There is so much more work to be done." — Jackie Coorts
~"This trip was life changing for me. I was so proud of the Beta Club members! They worked so hard and put so much heart into it. I will remember this experience for a lifetime." — Morgan Morris, co-sponsor of Beta Club
~ "I have never been with such a large group of kids from our school who worked so hard and were so well behaved. It was humbling to see the joy in the faces of our students as they interacted so freely and willing as they reached out to the children in a country of such social inequalities. It was amazing to see how one visit readjusted our attitudes and altered all that we all take for granted in our daily life." — Adam Sims, co-sponsor of Beta Club
Quoting Andy Rooney, a man who has a gift of saying so much with so few words, " Now we understand how life is a similar to attending school. We are all learners. Problems are simply a part of life that disappear and fade away like algebra problems, but the lessons we learn will last a lifetime."
Lone Oak Beta Club members now have a larger circle of friends!