NR Beta Club takes home big awards

Published 10:33 pm Tuesday, April 7, 2009

More than a dozen plaques, certificates and medals were lined up on top of the bookshelf in the middle of Nansemond River High School’s library.

One by one, the members of the school’s Beta Club showed off their individual and team awards that led the Warriors to be the overall third place finishers at last month’s state convention, which is a competition of 22 Beta Clubs throughout the state.

“It was great to hear the judges say ‘Suffolk,’” said Kenny Finke, Beta club member. Most of the bigger Beta programs come from the Western part of the state, but Suffolk managed to hold its own, nabbing handfuls of first- and second-place individual awards.

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The Beta Club is a high school service organization that requires its members to maintain at least a 3.3 grade point average and participate in several community service projects throughout the year.

Additionally, at the convention, clubs square off in a series of competitions that range from individual art shows to an academic bowl.

This year, Nansemond River’s performers Finke, Heather Coston, Kaitlin Staples, Katie Taylor, Elena Ficklen, Jason Hilton, Matt Krogsund and Kalea Leverette took home second place in the skit competition; Clay Bonney placed first in woodworking; Sarah McLain placed second in jewelry making; Elizabeth Forbes placed third in acrylic and watercolor; Jiah Park placed first in pastels; Britany Thompson placed second in sketching; Alisen Spruill placed first in on-site art; Anna Stuckey placed third in the scrapbook competition; Erica Mitchell placed third in the banner competition; and Camden Stevens placed second in the spelling competition.

Stevens, Spruill and Forbes were all invited to Orlando, Fla., this summer to compete in the national Beta competition.

For Beta club advisors, Eva Goodrich and Amy Hatfield, these students represent the best of what the schools have to offer.

“They’re top of their class. They’re busy, but sometimes they’re the ones that get the most done,” Goodrich said. “I think a lot of people get a bad impression of schools from the things that they read or they hear around the neighborhood. Beta is a positive thing; this is a positive experience.”

For the students, the awards are just the icing on the cake. Being a Beta member is the real prize. This year alone, the club has held fundraisers for St. Jude’s Children Hospital, a food drive for the Edmarc Children’s Hospice, a toy drive for the Salvation Army. It also has begun a tutoring program with students at Nansemond Parkway Elementary School.

“You’re only in high school once, and that’s one of the most relaxed times of your life,” said Clay Bonney. “You want to do the most with it while you can.”