“I see London, I see France. Just give Lexi one big chance!”
That cheer helped seventh-grader Alexis Herbeck win a Millstadt Junior Beta Club election at Millstadt Community Consolidated School last fall.
The 12-year-old then took her campaigning skills to a state convention in Springfield and got elected president of Illinois Junior Beta Club in February.
“This is our first Beta Club president ever,” said Principal Sandi Pegg. “We’ve only had one other officer, and she was secretary.”
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Beta is the largest independent, nonprofit, educational youth organization in the United States. Millstadt’s club has 89 members, who are required to maintain good grades and do community service.
When their bus returned from Springfield, students lined the street in front of the school to greet them.
“I started crying,” Lexi said. “All these people were standing there cheering and holding signs, and some people had balloons and flowers. It made me feel happy and emotional.”
Lexi’s family and teachers were even prouder after club sponsors Kathy Alt and Nicole Wilson told them what happened at the convention.
Millstadt students wore matching turquoise T-shirts that read “Don’t be perplexed ... Vote for Lex” and performed a skit in support of her candidacy.
I started crying. All these people were standing there cheering and holding signs, and some people had balloons and flowers. It made me feel happy and emotional.
Lexi Herbeck on returning from state convention
Lexi traded her casual clothes and trademark brightly colored tennis shoes for a black suit. She displayed a giant poster with her qualifications, shook hands and talked to voters and gave a two-minute speech to a crowd of 2,000.
“It was incredible,” Kathy said. “The (candidate) before her read a paper, and then Lexi got up and grabbed the microphone and just took command of the stage. It was really neat to see.”
Lexi is the daughter of Lindsey Herbeck and the granddaughter of Don and Pamela Herbeck, of Millstadt.
Her extracurricular activities include student council, chess team, basketball, chorus, babysitting and Girl Scouts. She throws shot put in track and plays clarinet in band. She’s also an honor student.
“She’s just a unique kid,” her grandmother said. “She’s an overachiever. She likes to get involved in things. She just amazes me.”
It was incredible. The (candidate) before her read a paper, and then Lexi got up and grabbed the microphone and just took command of the stage. It was really neat to see.
Kathy Alt on Lexi’s speech to student voters
Lexi already has put in 27 hours of volunteer work this academic year.
She has helped with Millstadt VFW fish fries and chicken dinners, Millstadt Civic Club teas, local recycling and blood drives, food pantry collections and tutoring programs.
“I like helping people,” she said.
At the Illinois Junior Beta Club convention, five students from around the state ran for the presidential post. Lexi was the top vote-getter.
She will attend a national leadership camp in Tennessee this summer, possibly attend other state conferences and run next year’s Illinois convention.
“It was just an all-around positive experience for these kids,” Kathy said. “They really did learn a lot about working together.”
- Movie: “Finding Nemo”
- TV shows: “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Casey Undercover,” “Full House,” “Fuller House,” “Friends” and “Jeopardy”
- Music: Pop
- Artists: Michael Jackson and Prince
- Book: “Divergent” series
- Hobbies: Dancing and collecting brightly colored tennis shoes
- Sport: Basketball
- Team: St. Louis Cardinals
- Food: Pizza
- Restaurants: Jersey Mike’s Subs, P.F. Chang’s and Maggiano’s Little Italy
- Apps: Colorfy and YouTube
- Color: Blue