My last article was an exciting preview of this year’s state Beta Club convention. Judging by our website hits, nobody’s died of suspense waiting to hear what happened, but I’m sure it was a close call for some of you. Fear not, your barely-contained apathy galvanized me to action. Give the edge of your seat a rest and start your engines, because it’s time for a recap of…The Beta Club Convention.
The State Beta Club Convention was held February 10-11 at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center Hotel in (you guessed it) Myrtle Beach, SC. More than 20 clubs and 1600 Betas from across the state met to compete in all manner of academic and talent events and to elect the 2012-2013 state officers. North Augusta invaded Friday afternoon with 92 delegates, and our Betas acquitted themselves admirably throughout the weekend.
As mentioned in the preview article, the state officer election is the focus of the convention. NAHS sent junior Zack Rogers into the breach as a candidate for vice-president. Zack was a standout in an unprecedented field of 10 candidates, charming everyone with his campaign theme, “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood: A Beautiful Day in Beta Club.” In fact, his one-minute campaign skit placed second, with a crowd-pleasing combination of the original Mr. Rogers theme and a unique rendition of the “Wop.” In the end, Zack lost a close race to Brock Fletcher of Mayo High School, but expressed little regret: “Running for state office was an experience I will never forget. Even though I did not win, I feel that I pulled more humility and determination to success out of those few days than I have gained in my entire high school career.” To anyone with future hopes of candidacy, Zack advises “a well rehearsed speech, a toothy smile, and polished repertoire of popular dance moves.” Also important? Dressing well. Zack pulled out all the stops in the fashion department, sporting many colors of pants and several bow ties that did nothing but earn him votes. At the end of the convention, the new state officers were installed: River Lawrence of Chesnee High School as president, Fletcher as vice president, and Nicholas Benson of Carvers Bay High School as secretary.
In another campaign, North Augusta competed in the group talent with a production of “Hairspray.” The thirty or so students (including yours truly) spent three and a half months practicing a seven minute medley of notable songs from the musical, including “Good Morning Baltimore,” “New Girl in Town,” “Nicest Kids in Town,” and, of course, “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” The group competed against three other schools in two rounds, a preliminary with no judging, and a final round. NAHS put on a four-star production, but a minor infraction involving the soundtrack incurred a 20 point penalty which cost “Hairspray” a spot on the podium. Despite disappointment with the end result, most members expressed nothing but pride and appreciation for the experience. Senior Samantha Farmer, our NAHS Beta Club president and the mastermind and choreographer behind “Hairspray,” said, “I have never been more proud of my talent group; they did better than I could have ever imagined. I am so privileged to have worked with them.” The group talent winner was Chesnee High School with a production of “Wicked.”
NAHS also did well on the academic and artistic fronts. Senior Kristen Barbour defended her state spelling title, winning first and a trip to Nationals for a second time. The annual scrapbook by seniors Rebecca Rudisill and Amber Mitchell and junior Jessie Dollar also won first place. Said Rebecca, “A lot of hard work went into that scrapbook, and I’m glad to see it going to Nationals.” NAHS also won the Quiz Bowl tournament with a solid team consisting of seniors Samantha Farmer, Cody Smoldt, and myself, and junior Daniel Pippen. Senior Madelyn Wasden placed second in the oratory competition with a stirring three minute speech to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s Disease. The NAHS banner by senior Rachel Ward took third. The winners will travel to Greensboro, NC in June to compete at the National Convention.
Beta Club is one of the greatest extracurricular activities available to students here at the school, and our club proved that it is one of the best anywhere at the state convention. Mrs. Marks-Johnson said, “There is nothing like watching students give their best. NAHS proves time and time again that we are all-around competitors, and I am so proud of all the Betas.” Once again, Mrs. Marks-Johnson pretty much wrote my conclusion for me. Thanks, MJ, I could get used to this partnership. And as June 1st and graduation approach, I’m realizing that Beta Club is one of the experiences I’ll miss and treasure most of all, and I know I’m not alone in that feeling.