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Strong Showing at National Junior Beta Convention
Book Battle Team

   A fourth-place individual essay, a 10th place team finish for the Book Battle team and strong efforts for the Tower of Power and Robotics’ teams highlighted the James E. Bazzell Middle School trip to the National Junior Beta Convention last week in Savannah Georgia.

   The highlight of the week was a fourth-place honor for Sarah Beth Meador for her essay, entitled A True Beta is Mindful.

   “Sarah won the state competition in essay and at Nationals, she placed fourth overall out of approximately 75-80 entries,” explained Bazzell Junior Beta sponsor Rita York. “She worked hard revising and editing numerous times before the final submission. We are very proud of her hard work.”

    “The human mind is one of the most powerful things known to mankind,” Meador wrote in her opening paragraph. “People spend their entire lives discovering what makes them, well, themselves. This discovery, if you will, leads a person to pieces of a unique puzzle scattered across a person’s life. The National Beta Club contributes many pieces to this complex puzzle. These pieces are the values that Beta Club instills in its young Beta members which will guide them through life, giving them a true baseline for success in the modern day.”

   Meador’s achievement brought the rising eighth-grader mixed emotions.

   “It’s a mixture of shock and happiness,” Meador said. “I put a lot of work into my essay and it paid off in the end. I started in November and we sent it into state Beta in early December. Then after state, I got with a sponsor and we talked and I made a few changes before it was sent into National Beta.”

   Looking ahead, Meador notes that she would like to pursue writing in the years to come.

   “I love to write,” Meador added. “I hope that one day I have a career that I get to write daily. It is something that I love to do and it’s a way that I can express myself.”

   The Book Battle team of Aidan Davis, Triston Fields, and Embry Pierce placed 10th overall following a third-place finish at the Kentucky State Convention earlier this year. At Nationals, the team competed against the top three teams from 20 different states.

   “There are 12 books that a three-person team has to read,” team member Aidan Davis explained. “Some teams have every member read all 12 books, some split the books up. We split up an each one of us read four books. The 60 multiple questions were about the 12 books, five questions per book. The short answers were questions that could be applied to any books.”

   The road to Savannah began with the team beginning their reading odyssey early in the 2017-18 school year.

   “We started last fall,” Fields said, adding that learning on Wednesday that the team was in the Top 10 was a special moment. “I feel like I had a weight lifted off my shoulders. I have been in Book Battle for three years and hope to do it again next year.”

   Like his team members, Pierce was excited to learn about their 10th place finish.  

   “We worked hard and it paid off,” Pierce explained. “It was also nerve racking to wait to see what our final place would be.”

   The books that were required reading included The Book Thief, Fellowship of the Ring, Tom Sawyer, The Girl Who Drank the Moon, War Horse, Touching Spirit Bear, A Long Walk to Water, Piecing Me Together, A Monster Calls, The Lie Tree, Ten Days a Madwoman: The Darling Life and Turbulent Times of the Original “Girl” Reporter Nellie Bye,” and “We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement that Defied Adolph Hitler.”

   The Tower of Power team was on their way to a fantastic finish as well until the final moments of the competition.

   “Tower of Power, who placed third at the state level, had a fourth-place finish wrapped up based on the height of the tower,” York said. “They were given 250 straws and ten minutes to construct. However, they placed the tennis ball on the tower before the timer was started and had to remove and replace it, which caused their tower to collapse. They are a very dedicated and determined group of kids.”

   Tower of Power team members included: Sarah Beth Meador, Karsyn Carter, Tucker Scott, Payton Cope, and Rafe Blankenship. The team was coached by Jenny Blankenship and Scott Cope.

   York also pointed out that the Robotics Team also performed well.

   “The Robotics Team, who placed third at state, had to perform an obstacle course five times for different judges,” York added. “Their robot represented tourists traveling an 8x10 foot replica road map of the southeastern states. The robot visited several tourist attractions before arriving in Savannah at Convention, then traveled up the coast before returning to JEBMS. They ran the course perfectly each time and had wonderful interviews. It appeared the judges went for the computer programmed robots this year opposed to student operated ones, but their performance was flawless.”

   The Robotics team included Tanner Webb, Hayden Stephens, Jordan Turner, and Will Pitchford. The team was assisted with the map construction by Sammy and Cathy Cook.

  The Bazzell delegation in Savannah was part of the largest National Convention in the history of Beta with over 20,000 in attendance. York was joined on the trip by Bazzell sponsors April Craft and Shelby Fisher as well as many of the students’ parents.


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Phone: (270) 618-3181
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