Will compete at national convention and travel to DC for summer leadership conference –
Story by Patricia Beech –
Photo by Jamie Puckett –
West Union High School student Jack Crask was elected state Beta Club Secretary at the organization’s March 22-24 convention in Columbus.
Crask beat out 10 other candidates in the competition, teacher and Beta adviser Tess Holloway said.
Crask said he was surprised when he learned he had been elected. “I couldn’t believe it, I just sat there,” he said.
To be eligible to run for the Secretary’s office, Crask was required to launch a campaign and give a two-minute speech.
The 17-year-old WUHS junior – who is also heavily involved in the performing arts – said he thought a lot of people liked his confidence and his speech, but added his win wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of others.
“I’m very thankful to Mr. (Carl) Schneider, our Director of Performance Arts for all the advice he’s given me over the years about being on stage,” said Crask. “And, Chris Silhavy, he did a lot of campaigning for me, and I don’t think I could have won without them.”
Schneider calls Crask a hard worker and says his abilities have matured over the years.
“When Jack was younger and performing in our school plays, I had to ride him pretty hard because he wasn’t projecting, or giving the look that I wanted, and he had a hard time memorizing everything, but I kept pushing him,” said Schneider. “After giving his speech and winning the Secretary’s seat – he came back and said, ‘all that work you did with me gave me the confidence to stand up there – it all paid off’.”
In addition to Beta Club, Crask is a member of the Academic Team, the Color Guard, the Percussion and Steel Drum ensembles, the Chamber Choir, and a cast participant in the school’s annual stage play.
“I spend as much time as I can on Beta projects,” he says. “Between that and performing arts practice, I’m very busy.”
In addition to campaigning and making a convention speech, he also had to answer an impromptu question pulled from a hat.
Crask recalled his question: Which of the four pillars of Beta Club do you believe is most important?”
“Character,” he answered. “Because I think it’s important for people who are running for office to hold themselves to a higher moral standard. If you’re going to have a position, you should live up to it – it’s not just a title.”
Crask says he hopes that winning the state secretary’s seat will pay dividends down the road.
“I think it will open doors for bigger and better things, right now it’s one of the biggest things I can achieve as a high school student from Ohio,” he said. “I see it as something I can build on throughout my life. I don’t want to stop here”
With the state victory under his belt, Crask now has an opportunity to run for National Secretary at the National Beta Convention at Walt Disney World this June.
He believes he might have a shot at winning that race as well.
“I hope I win,” he says. “I hope my speech will stand out.”
Holloway says she believes it was Crask’s speaking ability that helped him win the Secretary’s office.
“Jack just exudes confidence – when he got on the convention stage to speak it was electric,” she said. “As soon as he started speaking he had the room because of his stage presence; everyone stopped to listen, they were really hearing what he had to say, he had their attention.”
“I try to put off a can-do vibe,” says Crask. “And I try to help people out if I can and be someone others can look at and say ‘that’s a good way to be’.”
Crask will be attending the National Beta Club Leadership Conference in Washington DC later this summer. He says in addition to fulfilling his Beta obligations, he’s excited about touring the city during his week-long stay in the nation’s capitol.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing all the monuments and sights,” he said. “I think it will be interesting to see everything, especially the Jefferson Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, and the Smithsonian.”
Crask is one of two Adams County students who won seats at this year’s convention. Holloway says she thinks the two will make a successful team.
“I think it’s a great thing for our county to have both Jack and Adison Wright from North Adams elected to two of the three seats at state level. They can work together and collaborate to make our district proud,” she said. “And, I’m hoping next year with Jack in a leadership role in the club that we can continue to do more in our school and community to make them even better.”
Jack is the son of Jeff and Janice Crask of West Union. He hasn’t decided where he’ll attend college, but says he’ll major in either performing arts or political science.