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Longview Elementary students set standard for service
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Longview Elementary students set standard for service

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HICKORY – While most students were enjoying some time off from school last week, members of the Longview Elementary Junior Beta Club were busy grabbing some of the spotlight among 15,000 other students at the National Beta Club Convention in Orlando, Fla.

Fifth-graders Preston Lewis, Byron Phillips, Vanessa Ramirez-Soto and Elizabeth Tlanepantla-Lopez earned a top-10 finish for their group scrapbook while Ramirez-Soto finished in the top 10 in the language arts competition.

“It’s just so cool whenever your project gets to be out in the national Beta Club convention,” Preston Lewis said.

Founded in 1934, the National Beta Club is an organization for students in grades four through 12 in the United States. The club promotes academic achievement, character, leadership and service among elementary and secondary school students, according to betaclub.org.

The students have to have a strong academic standing and need a recommendation to earn a spot in the club.  

This is only the third year for Junior Beta Club at Longview Elementary. This past school year, there were 42 students participating in the club.

“We are so proud of these four students and their achievement exemplifies what hard work and determination can accomplish,” Longview Elementary Principal Judy Jolly said via email. “Thank you to the students, parents and teachers for working to make this dream a reality for our students.  This milestone makes Longview Lions roar with pride.”

Byron Phillips said the scrapbook represented lots of hours after school working together to get it just the way they wanted it to look.

Their theme was, “Your vibe attracts your tribe.”

They used images from the different activities they participated in during the school year.

One of those activities the students enjoyed the most were the service projects they completed throughout the year. They volunteered with community help groups like the Humane Society, the Women’s Resource Center, Meals on Wheels and Safe Harbor.

One of the club’s sponsors and Longview Elementary fourth grade teacher Caroline Walker said the service projects were good opportunities for the students to experience the importance of giving back to the community firsthand.

“We try to show them it starts at home and they have the ability to transfer this spirit of giving to other places,” Walker said.

The Junior Beta Club members have been equally busy around their own school, picking up trash, planting flowers and even reading to the pre-K and kindergarten classes.

“It’s just a matter of the idea that it starts at home (their school), that’s why they picked their theme for the scrapbook,” Longview third grade teacher and the club’s other sponsor, Lora Snider said.

On the back of the book, the students summed up their theme for the judges

“To us it means whatever you do, you get back, because if you work hard to help people, it will tell them what kind of person you are,” the students wrote on their scrapbook.

The finish at nationals capped a year of big moments for the Longview team including wins at the state level.

“We were first place in scrapbook in North Carolina and then Preston (Lewis) had a sketch that was first place in North Carolina and the girls (Soto and Lopez) with their academic competitions did well with first place in language arts and science in the state,” Longview third-grade teacher and Beta sponsor, Lora Snider said. “Byron (Phillips) was in the talent competition as well. It’s just a well-rounded group with a lot of different talents.”

Vanessa Ramirez-Soto had her hands full in the language arts competition at the national convention. It started with a 50-question test with some in paragraph form.

“I had to practice a little bit every day, reading through the summer,” Soto said.

She looks forward to doing it again in middle school and all the students see their time in Beta Club as a key to helping them become better students.

“You get to do other things other than the normal things you do in the classroom, so it makes the day more interesting, fun.” Soto said.

Snider said the club helps show the maturity of the fifth-graders in Longview Elementary’s Beta Club and what the students are capable of accomplishing as they head into the future.

“It’s that idea of whatever you do, you get back. They know it starts here, but they have the ability to use their talents elsewhere,” she said.

For more information about the Longview Junior Beta Club, visit longview.hickoryschools.net or call the school at 828-485-0975.

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