Beta Clubs shine at convention
Chandler Casner, student at Chase High School, was recently selected as the State Beta Club Secretary during the State Beta Club Convention in Greensboro.
"After you win it is like an instant superstar, celebrity status. I had a guy approach me who said 'I know you but you don't know me," Casner said. "He was clapping and telling me what a good answer I gave and I have no idea who he was. People were asking for photos. It was like I was automatically famous."
Students from the Chase and R-S Central beta clubs participated in the convention that was held February 22-23. This year was the first time that R-S Central has participated. Jennifer King, beta club sponsor for R-S Central, said the club hopes to learn from the experience and compete in more categories next year.
"For the past few years our beta club has been working towards reviving and energizing the club. We are trying to fundraise and do some community service projects and get involved in the convention," King said. "We have held a membership for 19 years. We took six students to the State Beta Club Convention in 2011 to observe and try to figure it out a little bit."
This year, King took 23 students. Jacob Lambert placed third in the United States History Competition; Katie Mesich placed second in Pencil Drawing and Rebecca Graner was a finalist for the Special Talent Competition.
"Actually getting involved and participating was the best learning experience of all. The students loved it and they can't wait to go back next year. They are ready to start planning now," King said. "We are going to work on learning more about the convention and hopefully go back and compete in every area we can."
Chase High has been attending the convention for several years and Casner is the seventh straight state officer elected from the school.
"It takes an unusual kid to want to run for a position because honestly there is a lot of pressure put on them. Chandler is a very confident young man and he probably never thought that he would be the one who didn't win. But when you have seven straight winners like we do, there is a little pressure," said Crystal Bridges, Chase beta sponsor. "You have to be somebody who isn't going to fall apart when they get in a situation where there is a lot of stress."
Chasner says one of the main reasons he believes that he won is because of his campaign skit, which also took first place.
"The people in my skit were amazing. It was crazy. I feel like most people remembered me for my skit," Casner said. "We did a play off of my name, which is Chandler Ross. My mom named me after two characters from the show Friends. We incorporated that with the movie Toy Story and the song You've Got a Friend in Me."
Sidney Jones, Chase beta member, placed second in the oratory competition.
"I've been in speech and debate for two years now and Mrs. Garland asked me if I wanted to participate in the oratory competition. The theme was the heart of beta, so I knew I wanted to incorporate the heart of beta in my speech. I have been in beta for four years so I have really gotten a feel for what the heart of beta is," Jones said. "I remember the first day at a beta meeting and I saw how there were several groups of different people, literally you had jocks, nerds, gothic people, everybody was thrown together and it wasn't separated. People were talking, engaged in conversation and just laughing because they knew what beta club was for. They wanted to lead by serving others like beta stands for. That to me was the heart of beta and I really wanted to share that."
Jones says her inspiration for her speech was a song by John Mayer called "Heart of Life."
"To me, in the song he is saying there can be hatred, racism and murder in the world but he knows the heart of society is good because there will always be those people willing to step up and make a difference," Jones said. "So I thought the heart of beta, we have cliques and bullying in this school but we do have those students who are willing to rise above the typical high school cliches and make a difference. So the heart of beta will remain good, just as the heart of life will remain good."
The school's group talent, "Prince of Egypt" also took home first place.
"Everybody thinks you have to have a specific talent to be in group talent but you don't. We have prop holders, people that paint props, dancers, singers and people that control the lights. Anybody can be in group talent," student Montana Bright said. "This year with Prince of Egypt we had lyrical, jazz, tap, hop hop, Bollywood and so many different aspects of dance and singing. It was kind of like a typical episode of Glee."
Winners will begin preparing for the National Beta Club Convention that will be held in Mobile, Al. June 19-23. Casner will also attend the Beta Broyhill Leadership Conference at Limestone College in Gaffney, S.C. in July.