LA VERNIA, Texas — A La Vernia High School student is garnering national attention for his talents in Speech and Debate, but it’s his heart for community that really puts Barrett Hanselka in the spotlight.
“I just really find it difficult just doing nothing, and I always just want to do more,” said Barrett.
Get to know Barrett Hanselka, and you’ll soon find out that “doing more” might just be an understatement.
“That drive to sort of want to do more is what keeps me pursuing more and just keep on getting bigger and growing,” said Barrett.
The La Vernia High School senior has a lengthy resume that includes President of the National Honor Society and President of the LVHS Speech and Debate team.
“Three years ago, Barrett was kind of a shy person who was afraid to maybe put himself out there, but he's really transformed into somebody that just takes charge in a lot of situations,” said Speech and Debate teacher and team sponsor, Noah Recker.
Recker said the transformation from bashful freshman to confident senior has equipped Barrett with the growth to lead the team onto the national stage.
“We are a smaller community, and it's sometimes seen that we don't always have the most robust competition against some of these private and larger schools,” said Recker. “He's able to break down those barriers, and we are really successful in both national and state competitions.”
Barrett has also gained recognition in the classroom, excelling in advanced classes, and is ranked sixth in his class.
Barrett has also showcased his creative talents, earning awards in local and state art competitions, and he’s a standout in the 4-H chapter, raising and showing poultry.
“I've grown to just to work hard and really enjoy, not only just raising the chickens but showing them and going all over this state in order to show my poultry project,” said Barrett.
School leaders said that Barrett doesn’t need that spotlight at all because his light shines from within.
“The thing that stands out the most about Barrett is his dedication just to serving others,” said LVHS Principal, Anthony Kosub.
“He doesn't look for the attention. He doesn't look for the notoriety,” added Kosub. “He just takes charge and does the right thing because it's the right thing to do.”
Recker said Barrett’s resume is impressive, but it’s the qualities you can’t see in the long list of extracurriculars that really makes him shine.
“It's just that person behind the extracurricular activities, that caring, kind, charismatic person,” said Recker.
Those are just a few reasons why Barrett Hanselka is a KENS5 All-Star Student.
Representing the La Vernia UPS Store, classmates Ethan Doyle and Thomas Fuller presented Barrett with the All-Star Award.
Barrett plans to study Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University after graduation in May.
“There's always a place for other people within, not only the school, but community, and you just have to find it in order to be your happiest self and be the best self you can be,” said Barrett.