While he couldn’t remember the name of the poem, Hampton Williams took one phrase from it to heart.
“A lot of the experiences I’ve had have taught me to ‘put myself in the arena’,” said Williams, who took home the title of Mr. NASH on Saturday at North Augusta High School in a Beta Club benefit for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
To Hampton, putting himself “in the arena” means taking risks and trying new things, and Saturday’s pageant was one way to do that.
“I’m the Beta Club secretary, and I’m very involved in Beta,” he said. “And this is for a good cause. That was the motivating factor.”
There were eight contestants in this year’s pageant, which also benefitted one of North Augusta High School’s own – Aly Boudreaux, a 17-year-old senior, who was born 13 weeks prematurely and spent her first 11 weeks of life in the hospital. Doctors told her parents she would not live to see her first birthday.
Aly’s mom, Cindy, a North Augusta High alumna, said she felt honored that the students chose to do an event to make her daughter’s wish come true.
“We found out a few weeks ago they wanted to do this for her. It’s full circle for me,” she said.
The family will be taking a trip to Disney World this year. It will be Aly’s first trip to the theme park.
The 90-minute Mr. NASH program featured two rounds of casual wear and then a suit-and-tie round. The three finalists – Hampton, Daniel Pippen and Fred Davis – were each asked a question on stage.
In addition, there were skits by members of the Beta Club, including one based on the film Toy Story about Andy’s trip to Beta Club convention. Club members will perform the skit at the state convention in February.
Also, Alex Ward, a junior who plans to run for state office, gave his speech, which he will deliver at the Beta Club convention.