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Students serve, learn and win over break

Summer may be a break from the routine of school, but it still can be a time of learning and helping others, as sophomore Beth Wimsatt, junior Regan Elias, and seniors Sydney Boggs and Tyler Upton found. Tyler and Beth took part in the Wolfe Pack Mission Trip with the New Albany Deanery Catholic Youth Ministries, serving the poor in Campton, Ky. Regan attended the five-day Washington Youth Summit on the Environment at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., followed by a weekend at the nearby Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. And Tyler and Sydney took part in the Clark County 4-H Fair.

Beth and Tyler spent five days helping several families with home repairs, including painting, building a wheelchair ramp, and replacing old wood siding. Although many of the days were filled with hard work, the group did have some fun, such as hiking at Natural Bridge State Park and attending a local dance. The experience had a big impact on them both.

“Wolfe Pack this year was a life changing experience,” Tyler said. “In just five days, we spent in Wolfe County, Kentucky, we helped several different families in ways such as painting, building/woodworking skills, and much more. We also grew closer as a group through prayer, adoration, and adventure excursions each night. These adventure excursions included viewing the local, breathtaking scenery all the way to attending a ‘hoedown’ to learn the local dances. I enjoyed every moment of the trip and cannot wait to attend next year!”

Beth said she was particularly touched by the people they helped.

“This trip provides the opportunity to reach out to community members of the region’s poorest area,” she said. “I quickly grew to respect the dignity the people had even in their situation. I was able to work on a variety of projects like build a ramp for someone who is wheelchair-bound, replace and repaint rotted siding on an old house, put in the ceiling, walls, and doors in a new home, and several other things to help make the world a better and more beautiful place.

“I also cannot forget the many wonderful friends I have met and made just over a six-day camp. These are people that I will know for the rest of my life and always remember.”

Winning at the 4-H Fair

When Tyler returned from his mission trip, he was able to catch the end of the Clark County 4-H Fair and show three of his pigs that he raises on his grandfather’s farm. Of his three entries, his Berkshire pig won reserve champion, the equivalent of second place, and senior Dylan Seal’s pig won third place.

Tyler also entered three static projects, posters featuring aerospace, shooting sports, and his 4-H achievements. His aerospace entry won grand champion, champion, and an entry in the Indiana State Fair – and he’ll find out this weekend how well he did at the state level.

Senior Sydney Boggs displays her reserved champion and blue ribbons for her photography entry.

Tyler is involved in three clubs in 4-H, including a junior leaders club and one focusing on gun safety and shooting sports. He said he likes being in 4-H in part because of the chance to help others in the community, such as with its recent backpack project to help needy schoolchildren get the necessary school supplies.

Tyler’s sister, junior Amanda Upton, also competed in the 4-H Fair and won reserve champion on her achievement project. Her crossbred pig entry won its class but did not score in the overall breed category.

Sydney is president of her 4-H club and often enters the cake decorating contest but this year entered the photography category. She received a blue ribbon and reserved champion. 

She said she likes being in 4-H because of how close the members are.


Learning in the nation’s capitol

Regan also had a memorable experience. She was invited to attend the WYSE conference and said she was thrilled at the opportunity to attend study sessions on large animal care. She hopes to become a veterinarian and is intrigued by the prospect of helping large animals.

“Big animals you only see when they’re in pain and you can help them get better,” she said.

The conference included break-out sessions, including ones on large animal care, as well as several speakers and tours of the monuments in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Capitol Building, several Smithsonian museums, and her favorite, the National Zoo.

Regan extended her trip with a three-day stay at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, where her group set up cameras to capture photos of animals in the conservation grounds and did several other activities.

She said she enjoyed getting a taste of dorm life and is now looking forward to college. And after spending a week there, she has added George Mason to her list of prospects.

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