Central Hardin High School, Elizabethtown High School, North Hardin High School and John Hardin High School Beta Clubs recently competed in the 81st annual state Senior Beta Convention in Louisville.
Students competed in various competitions, both artistic and academic, from Jan. 9-11 at the Kentucky International Convention Center.
EHS concluded the convention with the most placings with 28, while CHHS had 20. JHHS and NHHS had nine and eight placings, respectively.
Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many students were unable to attend with many of the competitions going virtual or hybrid.
Angela Cannon, CHHS Beta Club sponsor, said she has enjoyed watching the students work as a team this school year. She said at this convention the team competed in more events, and said it was interesting to see how far her students have come.
“I could go on and on about how special this group is to me. I really, really enjoy it,” Cannon said.
CHHS senior Grant Avis competed in the social studies written exam and the Quiz Bowl. He said the Quiz Bowl team have been friends since sixth grade, so the connection is tight. They ended up placing fourth in the oral portion and first in the written portion.
Since the Governor’s Scholars Program was during the national convention last year, Avis was unable to attend, but is planning to compete one last time this year.
Chloe Hornback, an EHS junior, was involved in seven competitions and placed in six of them. She said that many of these are collaborations between members of the club.
Hornback said being able to present in person this year probably helped to secure more places for the club.
Eva Ramsey, EHS junior, competed in eight competitions, many of them in the arts. She said individual accomplishments feel particularly good since she is contributing to the club’s success.
“I definitely enjoyed being able to walk on stage and being recognized individually on stage and getting those awards for myself, but at the same time, it did help the entire beta club,” Ramsey said.
Individuals and teams qualify for nationals by placing in the top five in different competitions.
JHHS Beta Club sponsor Stacey Moore said many students were able to attend this year, including underclassmen who had never gone before.
“There was just … a positive energy there,” Moore said. “The kids really have missed doing stuff like that.”
Moore said Beta Clubs are supportive of each other from across the state.
Shawn Sizemore, EHS Beta Club sponsor, said Beta Clubs in the county support each other at the conventions.
“We all have a vested interest in the kids in our community,” Sizemore said.
Summer McCune, a JHHS senior, has been in Beta Club since eighth grade.
“It’s so much fun just to be able to spend time with everyone,” she said.
McCune competed in the language arts competition and was also involved in the club’s character skit which earned them a second place.
McCune said she has never been to nationals before and is excited to be a part of it.
Outside of the competitions, Beta Clubs also log thousands of hours of service work each school year.
Moore said the students’ service projects included hosting last October’s Truck or Treat and they also delivered boxes of food to families during the holiday season.
“... it’s a good way for our beta students and the staff to kind of work together to bless those families,” she said.
Hornback said the club has volunteered at the local animal shelter this year and has also collected supplies for victims of the last month’s tornado in western Kentucky.
Hornback also said this year she helped collect items for Warm Blessings. She said she met a homeless man at the facility, which impacted her.
“There are still … genuine people in the community that need our help,” she said.
Avis said the club has helped local students get involved in the community in several different capacities, which is its true success.
“It’s not because of our victories in certain competitions. It’s because of who we are as people,” Avis said.
Sizemore said they would like to bring more students to nationals this year than last year, which does require money.
This year’s national convention is in Nashville from July 1-4 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.
Andrew Harp can be reached at 270-505-1414 or email@example.com.