“I wood, would you?”
Wood Smith, a 17-year-old student at Franklin County High School and Kentucky Beta Club vice president asked that question to the 3,200 plus attendees of the National Beta Club this past weekend in Orlando, Fla., and the answer was a resounding “Yes, I would,” as they elected him National Beta Club vice president.
The prestigious honor of holding a national office in Beta has only been achieved by two other Kentucky students in the 29-year history of the National Beta Convention, in 1987 by a student from Ballard Memorial High School and in 2005 by another Franklin County High student.
Out of the 3,200 attendees, only 117 were from Kentucky and only 35 were voting delegates.
Some of his competitors had with them hundreds of supporters clad in campaign t-shirts. Wood had two people there to support him, his mother, Maribeth, and FCHS Beta sponsor, Susie Smith.
“Wood was a one-man campaign delegation, winning votes, admirers and new friends along the way. His two speeches brought down the house and had students and chaperones alike laughing hysterically and chanting his name,” said Smith. “After his second speech, Wood received a standing ovation. Out of the 36 officer candidates, Wood was one of the most poised and articulate on stage and outgoing and genuine off stage.”
To win the national office, Smith had to first conquer a runoff election at his own school. From there, he competed at state and won the office of KY Beta Club vice president. State officers are eligible to run for the same role at the national level. At the national convention, they meet face to face with Betas from across the nation, campaigning, giving speeches and answering questions before an audience of thousands.
Smith will hold the office for one year, until a new vice president is elected at the 2010 National Beta Convention which will be held in Louisville next year. As both state and national officer, his primary responsibility will be to plan and host both the state and national conventions.
Smith has a busy year ahead of him. On June 28, he left for five weeks for Centre College for the Governors Scholar Program. In July, he will attend the Broyhill Leadership Conference and Officers Workshop in Gafney, S.C., which is hosted by the National Beta organization. Smith plans to travel this fall to other state conventions, where he will speak to Beta members. Conventions in Louisiana, Texas, Indiana, and Illinois are high on his list.
Smith also served as junior class president, Key Club vice president, Fellowship of Christian Athletes Council, Captain of the Wrestling Team and a member of FCHS Band. Next fall, he will serve as senior class president and Beta Club president. Wood hopes to attend Centre College upon graduation.
He is the son of Claude and Maribeth Smith and the grandson of Ed Ford and the late Dorothy Ford.