Lindsay Isabel Lanaux, known as Isabel by her friends, is a senior at Louise S. McGehee High School, where she serves as president of the Beta Club, a national organization that promotes academics, service and leadership. Lanaux has been the president for the past two years. Initially, the Beta Club wasn’t very popular at McGehee. This changed Lanaux’s junior year, when a teacher sponsor recruited new membership by sending an invitation to McGehee students.

“I was asked to participate, and I showed up to the first meeting very eager to see what the club was all about,” says Lanaux.  “After hearing all about the ideals of the club and all that it stood for I decided it would be perfect for me.”

As president, Lanaux has set up a yearlong project with a local nonprofit, the St. Bernard Project, and now all club members help to rebuild homes that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina throughout Southern Louisiana.
Lanaux enjoys volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and the St. Bernard Project. “The work is hard,” she says, “but the results are so worth it; the hours fly by because the work is so hands-on and involved. To actually see these houses transform into homes is unbelievable. Through these organizations I’ve been able to help families return to New Orleans, and that feels great.”

During her junior year spring break vacation, Lanaux went on a school-sponsored service trip to Costa Rica with seven others girls and two teachers. The group helped a village build an irrigation system for the one-room school and built a home for its teacher the village was hiring.

Lanaux says, “The work was incredibly hard and very physically demanding. We worked every day for four to six hours, but everyone we met was so welcoming and so appreciative for our hard work.”

For the past two years, Lanaux has been the class’ community service chair. She works with the Crescent City Café, an independent grassroots organization that serves breakfast one Saturday a month to the homeless. She is also involved with the New Orleans area’s Relay for Life; she has been a volunteer since the eighth grade, and team captain twice, and for the 2012 event, she’s part of the fundraising committee.

“It is so important to be involved in the community, because service has taught me that I can make a difference in someone’s life. No matter how big or small a job seems, someone, somewhere is positively affected and that’s beautiful.”

When she isn’t volunteering, Lanaux runs cross country; is a member of McGehee’s mock trial Team; is editor of Melange, McGehee’s literary magazine; and enjoys tutoring students at local charter schools.