Garland leads by serving others
Ashley Garland, Chase Beta Club sponsor, was named State Beta Sponsor of the Year during the State Beta Club Convention in Greensboro Feb. 22-23.
"The same student who nominated me for the Tanner Award, Anna Bross, she nominated me for the State Sponsor of the Year. There may have been seven other applicants and it is up to the board to decide who wins," Garland said. "Herman Williams, chair of the board, indicated that I won because of my leadership with the National Beta Club Convention along with Anna's essay."
Garland has been a North Carolina State Beta Club sponsor for two years. Her husband, Ritchie Garland, is the South Carolina State Beta Club sponsor.
"Barbara Anderson, who is the national sponsor, talked us into being state sponsors together because she wanted to make history by having two state sponsors at the same time. Ritchie said we could do it and my fellow sponsors at Chase supported me," Garland said.
She believes that taking on this role saved her just when her life was taking a depressing turn. When Anderson approached Garland about being a state sponsor, she was going through rough time in her life. She had just had a miscarriage at four months pregnant.
"I was literally at beta club a week later after that. I remember sitting in the hospital and thinking 'I have got to get to beta club," Garland said. "It saved me, I really do think that. I have thanked Barbara for that. If it had not been for me taking on such a role, I don't know where I would have been."
Since Garland took on the role, she has been working with her beta students at Chase and helping to put together the National Beta Club Convention.
"If it were not for my other Chase beta sponsors Sandy Clatanoff and Crystal Bridges, I would not have survived. When I go to conventions as the state sponsor, I hardly ever get to see my own students. I rely heavily upon my other sponsors. I couldn't do it without them, my husband or my mom," Garland said.
Garland has created a legacy with her betas at Chase, having seven straight state officers voted into office since they started attending the conventions. This year, student Chandler Casner took home that honor.
"It has been quite easy the last few years. The kids have approached us and said they wanted to run, we have had them lined up. As sponsors, when we see leadership skills within beta club and school, we kind of have them pegged from the get go," Garland said. "I think that above anything when it comes to a candidate winning, it is about the candidate. I mean we can have the best skit or whatever but it is about the candidate."
Last summer, Chase student Drew Terrell, became the school's first national officer by being selected as the National Beta Club Secretary. For winning the title, Terrell has gotten to travel and speak at six other state conventions throughout the year. He also received a $4,200 scholarship.
"For winning nationals, each officer gets to pick a convention to attend with all expenses paid for. I picked Missouri because Mrs. Garland had never been and we had always wanted to go. It is the biggest convention," Terrell said.
Casner, who plans on being the school's next national winner, said that Garland embodies the beta motto, "Leading By Serving Others."
"We do canned food drives, womanless beauty pageants, March of Dimes and Relay for Life," Casner said.
Garland says the students have come to love the service projects and she feels like the club is serving them by offering those opportunities.
"We don't tell the kids to go sell something, they get their hands dirty. They are actually out there collecting canned food and Chandler is putting on makeup for the pageant," Garland said.
Garland said she likes to keep the club active because it gives the students more opportunities with activities like dancing, singing, and other things related to the arts.
"Ritchie has trained me to be able to see things and guide the students. It has allowed the kids to have these opportunities," Garland said.
The club tries to involve many other students throughout the school when it comes time to go to convention
"Furniture and cabinet making students help build props, students from our family and advance consumer science monogram sew and stitch things, it is really a whole school effort when we go," said Crystal Bridges, beta sponsor. "I think the best thing about beta club is not just all of these wonderful opportunities, but I know in guidance I have kids come in here all the time and asking what they can do to get in the beta club. I believe that it has truly helped academics here because the kids want to be able to qualify to be in beta."
The club will begin preparing for the National Beta Club Convention, where Garland and the Chase beta winners will compete for national titles, soon.
"These kids deserve more than anything to go to nationals and we want to win," Garland said.