This has been perhaps the best year for members of the East Hardin Middle School Beta Club.
According to club sponsors, club members are ranking higher than ever, including a first place, this year at the Beta Club National Junior Convention.
Taking place at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida, the team placed in the top 10 in nine categories. Six of the nine categories were in the visual arts.
Molly Hazle, the club’s co-sponsor, said three of the categories qualifying for nationals did not attend the convention in person, with a total of 20 students.
When several students qualified for the nationals after the state convention, she said she met with the parents about the trip to see if they wanted to go. This year’s convention was hybird, with students having the option to submit projects online.
“This is a really dedicated group of kids,” Hazle said.
Ashley Lowe, who will be attending Central Hardin High School in first grade this coming school year, has been with the Beta Club since grade school.
“Honestly, it was a great experience,” said Lowe.
Lowe competed in four different arts-related categories including color photography, mixed media and painting.
She said that each year nearly every club member is able to get the required 24 hours of community service, usually going beyond that.
“We all love to help our community and we help each other no matter the different things we do,” she said.
Lane Hobbs, who will be an eighth grader at East Hardin this coming school year, said he got involved with the Beta Club in elementary school and that it was a “great honor”.
Hobb and Lowe said they enjoy getting to know other Beta Club members from across the country at the national convention, and they also enjoy going to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in their free time.
Hobb and Lowe both worked together, along with Elena McNeil, on the sculpture art piece “Reimagine, Recreate, Recycle,” which requires students to create something from recyclable materials. For their team, they created a lion.
These three students ended up winning the national championship for this category.
Hazle said that since becoming a godmother, she has taken a different approach to the club by attracting strong students from different areas of the school, not just those with good grades.
She said this also includes finding students who may not fit in other fields but need a chance to showcase themselves and show their abilities.
Hazle also said the club spends almost every day after school working on projects, but also volunteering for the community in various ways.
The following students won awards at the National Convention:
• Elena McNeil, Ashley Lowe, Lane Hobbs: first place, reinvent, recreate, recycle
• Lane Hobbs: fifth place, sculpture
• Ashley Lowe: fourth place, color photograph
• Ashley Lowe: sixth place, mixed media
• Ashley Lowe: eighth place, paint
• Mariana Resto-Santos: eighth place, fiber arts
• Evan Kimberlain, Peyton Bowers, Maddex Adams, Krusha Patel: third place, Quiz Bowl
• Evan Kimberlain, Peyton Bowers, Maddex Adams, Krusha Patel: eighth place, written test Quiz Bowl
• Krusha Patel: fourth place, sixth year in science