The Times photo by Betsy ReasonNoblesville Tri Kappa president Beth Lively.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason

Noblesville Tri Kappa president Beth Lively.
Beth Lively has belonged to Kappa Kappa Kappa sorority for 45 years. She joined at age 18 after watching her mother, teacher and community pillar Frances Lively, enjoy her many years of membership.

"I'm a Tri Kappa legacy," said Lively, 63, Noblesville, whose mother was president in 1960 and active with Noblesville's Beta Epsilon chapter until she died at age 98. "The year before she died, she was still the top seller of nuts," Lively, the current chapter president, said proudly.

During high school, Lively didn't know if she really wanted to join Tri Kappa. "But if you respect your parents, you don't have a lot of choice to say 'no,'" said the 1972 Noblesville High School grad.

But Lively she hasn't looked back. She sees the positive impact that Tri Kappa has made on the community. "I think you have to get a little older to realize how much it (Tri Kappa) gives back to the community and people around you."

This is Tri Kappa Week in the state of Indiana, and today is Founders Day. Tri Kappa, a Greek service sorority located only in the state of Indiana, was formally organized on Feb. 22, 1901. Each year the local chapters join with the state organization to contribute about $1.5 million to Indiana charities and students.

Lively, who I found getting just before a yoga class at Riverview Rehab & Fitness, said she grew up "being taught to do things for other people," often attending meetings "with a bunch of people who were much older."

In high school, she remembered feeling important as she handed out drinks to people who bought them during a Tri Kappa event in downtown Noblesville.

But it wasn't until she got out of college that she realized "they were a bunch of really kicky people. They were fun. We had a good time."

A musician, singer and retired teacher, whose sister is Lynn Sylvester, Lively remembers just after college getting involved with the chapter's follies. They put on a big show, with people "doing things that were silly," she recalled. Tri Kappa in Noblesville is known for its philanthropic projects in the community. The chapter sold booth space at its craft fair. There was Tri Kappa Step 'n' Stride, and a cookbook featuring county chapters.

Noblesville's Moffett Craig, who plays Mrs. Claus in Tri Kappa's annual Breakfast with Santa came up with the idea for the breakfast which celebrated its 13th year in December. Tri Kappa annually partners with the Noblesville Trustee's Office in the Red Stocking Fund campaign, which during the holiday season in 2016 raised $15,055, and annually buys clothes for many Noblesville students. The chapter also sells handmade chocolate and peanut butter Easter eggs, which in April will be available from any Tri Kappa member and at Discount Copies in Noblesville.

Through the years, the chapter has also awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships to deserving Noblesville students. Tri Kappa gives $25,000 in scholarships annually to NHS students, most of whom are chosen by teachers. A Tri Kappa Gascho Allied Health Scholarship is awarded to a senior who is entering nursing or an allied health field of study. Tri Kappa also awards a Marie Wild Vocational Scholarship, a Motivational Scholarship and a Merit Scholarship, and also an Arion Award for those studying music.

The Beta Epsilon chapter is among 144 active Tri Kappa chapters around the state and was formed March 18, 1915, celebrating 102 years this March. The 100-member chapter conducts a business meeting the second Tuesday of the month and will celebrate their local chapter's birthday at the March meeting, during which the year's new members, who each have member sponsors, will be voted in. Then there is a pledge party in May and initiation in June.

Isabelle Harger, the oldest member of the Noblesville chapter, died in January at age 104. She was still active in the associate chapter, for people who want to do less than the regular chapter.

She is still glad she joined so many years ago. "I've gotten a lot of support out of it just by making a large network of friends. I think all of those community connections are important."

Lively said there were about 700 women at the last Tri Kappa convention she attended. "Listening to them talking, was so empowering to know that there were so many people working constantly for their communities."

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