Neshoba Central Middle School student Cole Cheatham, 13, was recently elected chaplain of both the state and national Junior Beta Club.
Neshoba Central Middle School student Cole Cheatham, 13, was recently elected chaplain of both the state and national Junior Beta Club.
A Neshoba Central Middle School student is serving this year as chaplain of both the state and national Junior Beta Clubs.

Cole Cheatham, 13, is the first national officer from Neshoba County and the third from Mississippi to hold the prestigious title.

A typical teenage boy, Cheatham goes to school, hangs out with friends and watches sports. He excels in school.

He is an avid collector of model Texaco cars, Legos, knives and football memorabilia.

Despite that, life can sometimes be rough for Cheatham who was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy at the age of six.

He has, however, learned to persevere through the roughness.

Cheatham's started his Junior Beta journey after his sponsor at Neshoba Middle School, Tammy Burk, encouraged him to run for office.

After weighing his initial options on which office to seek, Cheatham said he chose chaplain because he wanted to be a positive example for all members of the Beta Club.

Ironically, the platform for the 21st Mississippi Junior Beta Convention was muscular dystrophy and along with the Beta platform, Cheatham's campaign speech was themed "A Diamond in the Rough."

His campaign skit that followed his speech featured fellow classmates turning coal into diamonds to tune of Queen's "Under Pressure."

After much campaigning, Cheatham was elected the state Junior Beta Chaplain for the 2013-2014 school year. He also won a third place award for his campaign speech. But for this "diamond in the rough," his accomplishments were not finished.

Because of his win at the state convention, Cheatham was eligible to run for national office. His campaign team, which consisted of his mother Michelle, Burk and the Betas of Neshoba Central Middle School, again rallied together to help him get elected.

Of the seven candidates for national chaplain, he was one of three finalists. He was candidates #2. He went on to excel at the national convention to eventually win the title.

In an on-stage questionnaire at the national convention, Cheatham was asked: "What would be in your time capsule that would tell the world about you?"

While he froze on stage for a slight second, he replied: "Something that would be in my time capsule that would tell about me ... maybe this red tie ... some old money ... I don't know, a Coca-Cola. That's it. Vote #2."

During his top 15 speech at the national convention, Cheatham described life as a roller coaster.

" It has its ups and downs," he said. "But it's your choice to either scream or enjoy the ride. Just stay positive."

During the upcoming school year, Cheatham will travel to other states to attend their Junior Beta Conventions to give motivational speeches and awards which will culminate at the 2014 National Junior Beta Convention in Richmond, Va.

This past summer, he attended Beta Broyhill Leadership Conference at Limestone College in Gaffney, S. C.

Burk was pleased with her student's accomplishments.

"Cole campaigned his heart out," she said. "He is a very hard worker and he made a very good impression on stage. He did a great job."

In addition to the Beta Club, Cheatham is involved in a number of school activities at Neshoba Central including football and baseball manager, Bible Club and Student Council.

He has received special honors in his classes including the seventh grade science award for maintaining an outstanding 100-average.

A special honor roll award recipient, He received the Community Development Partnership special award.

When he is not busy on the football field or spending his time with other school clubs, Cheatham enjoys a variety of hobbies.

He is the son of Mark and Michelle Cheatham. His grandparents are the late David (Bubba) and Mary Lynn Cheatham and Charles (Dan) Greenwood and grandmother Linda Greenwood of Noxapater.