GONZALES — Cole Holley plays on the East Ascension High School varsity baseball team, maintains a 4.3 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society.
Somehow, Holley found time to make history.
In June, Holley was elected as 2014-15 National Beta Club senior president, an office only five other Louisiana students have held since 1989, according to National Beta Club records.
But Holley, 17, is the first student from Ascension Parish to serve not only as Beta Club national president but state president, as well.
“We definitely made history,” said Missie Delaune, co-sponsor of East Ascension High School’s Beta Club chapter.
Holley said he started laughing when he learned he had been elected national senior president at the National Beta Convention in Richmond, Virginia, earlier this summer.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” Holley said. “I think a lot of people saw my confidence. And liked my speech. I had a really, really good speech.”
The Beta Club, a nonprofit youth organization, promotes leadership, academics and service but also encourages the arts, Delaune said.
Beta Club often has a 3.5 minimum GPA, although some schools have a higher requirement, Delaune said.
East Ascension’s Beta Club chapter, made up of 125 members, is only available to sophomores and older students but Cole hopes to open membership to freshmen, Delaune said.
“It’s something we’re looking into,” Delaune said.
Holley joined the Junior Beta Club as a middle schooler and, in the seventh grade, ran for state president for his age group.
He won the election, and his experience serving as state president made him want to run for office again last year.
“I gained knowledge and I knew I had a lot of ideas being a state officer,” Holley said. “I knew that I could voice my opinion with those kind of things.”
In January, Holley ran against four other Louisiana students at the state Beta Convention in Lafayette and was elected state president.
Just five months later, Holley campaigned for the Beta Club’s national presidency and beat 10 other state presidents at the national competition in Richmond, Virginia.
Holley’s campaign slogan “Jolley for Holley,” inspired a Christmas-themed campaign skit. In the skit, Holley’s younger sister, Brooke, sat on Santa Claus’ lap and said all she wanted for Christmas was for her big brother to be elected as the National Beta Club president.
The skit itself is part of a separate Beta Club competition and Delaune said the group placed in the top 10 out of 40 skits performed.
Holley said he got campaign help from East Ascension and Donaldsonville high school Beta Club members.
As part of his duties as senior president, Holley must plan the 2015 National Senior Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, on June 29-July 2, he said. He is also giving a speech at the state convention in January and traveling to Indiana to attend its state convention in November.
“He’s always liked to take charge,” Holley’s mother, Melissa Holley, said. “He’s always liked to get involved in just about everything.”
Cole Holley also plans many of the school’s pep rallies, has started a flag football team and reads the school’s morning announcements, where he poses a “question of the day,” usually a trivia question or a logic puzzle.
“Bites me in the butt sometimes,” Holley said. “Too much on my plate.”
After graduation in 2015, Holley hopes to play baseball at college but has not yet decided upon a major.