RCS Beta Clubs bring home honors

County middle schools win in several categories during the Junior Beta Convention.
Feb. 21, 2013 @ 06:09 AM

Two Rutherford County students were voted into office at the Junior Beta Club state convention this month.

Mason Shields, seventh grade student at R-S Middle School, was selected as the Junior State Beta President during the convention earlier this month.

"They asked me if I wanted to run for office and I just thought that if I was going to run for something, I just wanted to go for the top and see if I could win," Shields said. "There were five other people that were competing against me, which is a lot because they say usually it is just one or two that you will run against. I ran against five and won, I was really excited about that."

The Junior Beta Club state convention was held at the Sheraton Four Seasons Hotel Koury Convention Center in Greensboro Feb. 4-5. According to the National Beta Club website, the Junior Beta Club is for students in grades fifth through ninth and the goal is to promote the ideals of academic achievement, character, service, and leadership among elementary and secondary school students. Each individual club decides what grade point average a student has to have to be eligible to join.

Students from R-S, Chase and East Rutherford middle schools attended the event which included almost 4,000 students, teachers and chaperones.

Shields, who had to give a speech in front of all of them, says he was nervous at first but he had help from his fellow betas who put together a special "Duck Dynasty" themed campaign skit.

"I think the campaign skit is one of the reasons I won. They danced and the theme song was playing. It was all choreographed out and they did a good job with it," Shields said. "My speech was about my life and how I related it to hunting. Everything I have learned in my life is from hunting. I think the thing that won the speech was the ending line. I said 'So if you are hunting for a new president and you want to be happy, happy, happy vote for me candidate number 11 and that's a fact jack.' They went crazy when I said that. I didn't want it just to be a speech, I wanted to talk to everyone."

According to Beta Sponsor Judith Helton, a lot of preparation was put into the skit and Shield's speech.

"We took 52 students with us to the convention and everyone participated in something. They practiced the skit for a week before the convention and other teachers allowed Mason to come into their class and practice giving his speech," Helton said. "The school was very supportive."

For Shields, the best part of the weekend was being voted in as president.

"I was estactic. It was crazy and very emotional," Shields said. "Words can't describe how good I felt. It was awesome."

Bonnie Bridges, seventh grade student at Chase Middle School, was also selected as the Junior Beta State Secretary. She will replace R-S Middle School student Burt Hamrick, who was voted into that position last year.

"When I was little I used to go to all of the high school beta conventions and I watched people get on the stage. I always said that I wanted to do that," Bridges said. "My theme was My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean, then we put a twist on it and used the song Wipe Out to make it interesting. It was called My Bonnie Wants to Lead Over the Beta Ocean. We had people that dance at Dreamweavers do a lyrical dance at the beginning and then it changed to a fast-paced dance with that song."

That skit not only won Bridges the position of secretary, but led Chase to a first place finish in the campaign skit category.

Rutherford County middle schools also brought home many other honors after attending the convention.

Winners from Chase Middle included Bridges, third place campaign speech; Bel Alcorn, first place spelling; Isabella McMahan, first place poetry; Zeke Brandle, second place woodworking and Gracie Powell, third place jewelry making.

Winners from East Rutherford Middle were Tucker Hamrick who placed third in black and white photography and Clay Gordon who placed third in woodworking.

"Some of my favorite parts about being in the Beta Club is that we get to do a lot of community work and we get to go to the convention," Bridges said. "I had to say my speech in front of my school and we did our skit in front of them too. After that I had people come up to me and ask me about Beta Club and tell me they wanted to be in it. People have started to ask me about it."

All of the county winners are invited to enter their projects and run for office at the National Junior Beta Club Convention during the month of June in Mobile, ALA. Because they were voted into office, Shields and Bridges will attend the Beta Broyhill Leadership Conference at Limestone College in Gaffney, S.C. held July 19-24.