Students raise money to compete

Published 9:50 pm Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A Suffolk student organization has faced tough competition and is ready for a bigger stage — but they need the community’s help to get there.

Nansemond River High School’s Beta Club placed second at the Williamsburg State Beta Club convention in February. The club is fundraising to compete this June in the national Beta Club convention in Orlando, Fla.

Nansemond River Beta Club sponsor Amy Blyth said the convention will cost the club approximately $15,000 for transportation and lodging. The club has until May 3 to raise the money and is organizing teacher breakfasts, classroom spring cleanings and other fundraising efforts leading up to deadline.

Email newsletter signup

“We’ve only been able to go to nationals maybe five times since I’ve been sponsor, because it’s so expensive,” Blyth said. “We’re now replenishing our accounts from what we’re spending to go to state.”

She said the students are talking with other Hampton Roads Beta clubs interested in the national competition to share the cost.

“We are always trying to raise money for state and national conventions,” she said.

Beta Club is a national organization that fosters academia and community service. The Nansemond River Warriors have 170 students, and nearly a third of them volunteer money to cover costs and compete in academic, arts and team-building events at state and national conventions every year.

Blyth said she has been impressed by their teamwork and success.

“They realize how talented they are and see what they can accomplish as a team,” she said.

The club presents the students with opportunities for community service. They may pursue academic scholarships for college or apply for leadership positions in the organization.

“We’re building future leaders,” Blyth said. “These are the kids that have a lot of potential. We want to give them every opportunity to showcase their talents and to be recognized.”

Sixteen-year-old Nansemond River junior Brandon Eley was elected as the Beta Club Virginia vice-president. He said it’s an honor, and that he understands what his new role demands.

“My actions aren’t just about myself anymore,” he said. “People are going to be looking at me. That can be a negative or positive thing, and I always want it to be a positive thing.”

He said he’s glad he joined the club a year ago, and that he enjoys the connections he now has with teammates.

“You learn that you have a lot in common with the people around you,” he said. “Even those that don’t share the same interests have the same passion and drive.”

The students want to pursue their passions and seize opportunities. Blyth said that is the club’s purpose and why fundraising is so important.

“This is an opportunity most kids don’t get,” Blyth said. “They have the academic potential, but they also have good hearts. They’re worth the investment. These kids deserve the chance.”

The club will host a fundraiser at the Texas Roadhouse restaurant on College Drive April 18. For more information and to make a donation, call 923-4101.