By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Administrators, faculty, staff, friends, fans and family will remember the Kelvin Jones dunks, Eldon Tyms long touchdown runs and the clutch pitching of Noah Graham.
Those who attended plays, award ceremonies and after-school functions will recall the moments Millington Central High School Class of 2016 members created. There for a lot of those in front of the audiences and his peers was Hunter Beckham.
Did you ever see a tall, slender kid with a camera? That was Hunter. By his senior year he packed on some muscle to compete in soccer. Meanwhile, he emerged as the lead photographer for the MCHS Yearbook capturing so many memorable images.
Yearbook and soccer were just two parts of Beckham’s busy schedule during his time at MCHS. The son of Gloria and David Beckham was a part of the Beta Club, Interact Club, FCA and Graphic Media.
The Principal List student was a part of the 30-Plus ACT Club and finished ranked No. 5 in the class.
“During soccer season, it gets really busy,” Beckham said. “I would be up until 12 o’clock at night doing homework because I don’t get back from games until 8 or 9.
“A lot of it has to do with church,” he added. “That right there probably takes up 20 hours a week. I go to First Baptist Millington. I’m there every Sunday and every Wednesday. I’m also really active in the youth groups.”
The Millington native wanted a solid spiritual foundation in his life. With the guidance of Youth Ministries like Jay Barbier and Grady MacDonald, Beckham got more involved at his church. He will spend part of this summer on mission trips.
The road to Beckham being a standout student/athlete and member of the community started at home.
“My Mom and Dad have always pushed me to do the very best I can in everything,” he recalled. “I had one youth pastor before he moved. His name was Grady. Then he moved a year and half ago. I had him for about 2 to 3 years and he always pushed me. Now I have Jay. And he does the same thing. They all push me to do the best I can because they know I’m so busy.
“Teacherwise, Mrs. (Regina) Moore,” Beckham added. “I’ve had her for two years. I had her freshman year and junior year. I knew her all the way through. She would sometimes just pop up in my classes and check on me, even in the halls.”
The late Amy Lange spotted Beckham in the halls of MCHS as a freshman and handed him the camera that would become a part of his identity. Before Lange’s passing in November 2013, she encouraged her young photographer to increase his knowledge of the camera.
“She pushed me all the time and made sure I was on top of my stuff,” Beckham said. “It started when Amy died. But it really hit last year. I was actually in Yearbook class and I was responsible for a majority of the pictures in there. Also, the same this year. The time I spent with it I started to realize how much I love it.”
The 18-year-old will keep the camera a part of his future but he wants to attend UT-Knoxville to major in Chemical Engineering.
“I’m actually looking into getting my own camera because I’ve been using the school’s the past four years,” he said. “When I go to college I plan on minoring in either Photography or Graphic Design just to kind of keep it there as a passion.”
While at MCHS, Beckham enjoyed photographer because it allowed him more time with the friends he developed over the years at E.A. Harrold and Millington Middle.
“I really didn’t think about it because it was something I liked to do,” he said. “For me it was kind of a social moment for me. Gave me a chance to interact with my friends and have a good time. It happened to be my role.”
He might not be remembered for his outstanding ACT score or high ranking in the Class of 2016. It might slip some people’s minds he played four years of soccer along side “brothers” like Ethan Dupree. But for anyone who purchased a MCHS Yearbook the past four years or who requested a photo for their social media, Beckham made a lasting impact on his classmates.
“I want to be known as the guy who left it all out there,” he concluded. “I really just pushed to do whatever it was. I gave what I had and never backed down from the challenges.”