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Junior Beta Students Attend State Convention

    The Junior Beta chapter at the James E. Bazzell Middle School will have 14 students eligible for the National Junior Beta Convention in June in Savannah Georgia.


   Students Sarah Beth Meador, Rafe Blankenship, Karsyn Carter, Payton Cope, Tucker Scott, Tanner Webb, Jaxon Baldwin, Jordan Turner, Will Pitchford, Hayden Stephens, Jason Gobbell, Aidan Davis, Embry Pierce, and Tristian Fields will have the opportunity to compete in the National Convention based on their results from last week’s Kentucky Junior Beta Convention in Lexington. Approximately 6,000 students, sponsors, and chaperones attended the convention.


   “It was a great week,” explained Bazzell Middle School Junior Beta sponsor Rita York. “The kids did a lot of preparation in a short amount of time. Our kids practiced a lot. We practiced with Songfest from 2:15 until 3:30. From 3:30 to 4:30 or later, our kids worked on the other events. We are pleased with how we did. We are also pleased with the fact that everywhere we went in Lexington we received compliments on our kids and their behavior.”


   The middle school sent 60 students to state competition. The entire group participated in the Songfest category while smaller groups competed in various competitions. Individual students also participated in a broad range of categories including talent and arts and crafts.


   Sarah Beth Meador won first place in the essay competition. Meador was asked to write a response to the question, “A Beta mindset is.”


   “We started last fall when she came in with her thoughts and ideas,” York noted. “She edited, revised, and rewrote the essay many times before submitting it in late December.”


   Among the groups winners, the Book Battle team of Aidan Davis, Embry Pierce, and Tristan Fields placed third.


   “The students had 10 books they had to read,” York explained. “They divided the books up to read and when they get to state they took a written test with 50 questions over the 10 books. They also had writing prompts requiring two written answers. The students worked really hard and finished third from between 60-70 teams.”


   The robotics team of Tanner Webb, Jaxon Baldwin, Jordan Turner, Will Pitchford, Hayden Stephens, and Jason Gobbell placed third. The students are asked to create a robot that accomplishes task in keeping with the themes of Junior Beta. The third-place accomplishment was achieved despite a last-minute snafu with the robot.



   “We kept having a hard time getting the robot to do what we needed it to do,” York explained. Om Friday before we left for convention on Wednesday, I took the robot home and that Friday night its arm started shaking. Saturday, we took it to Hobby Town and the employees took it home to adjust the arm. He called Sunday morning and said that while working on the arm, it started smoking. We had to rebuild the arm. The kids had one practice with the robot before we left.”


   The Tower of Power team of Rafe Blankenship, Sarah Meth Meador, Karsyn Carter, Payton Cope, and Tucker Scott also placed third. Like robotics, the team had to make adjustments at the last minute.


   “The Tower of Power team uses between 150 and 200 white drinking straws to construct a tower that will hold a tennis ball for 60 seconds,” York explained. “If it holds for 60 seconds, it’s measured to see how tall it is and that is how you place. When you get to convention, you can either have 10 or 15 minutes to construct. Usually, it’s 15 minutes but there were so many registered that the time was cut to 10 minutes. Our kids were cut to a 10-minte time and 150 straws and you have to use them all. Our tower ended up being about 5’4” but the tennis ball held.”


   The Bazzell Beta students also were among the top 10 groups in two additional categories.


   “Our t-shirt and banner were in the Top 10,” York explained. “T-shirt are designed based on the theme, “Beta on my Mind.” The banner competition is similar. When you get in the Top 10, one of the team members are called in for an interview to explain about the t-shirt and banner. We didn’t place in the top three but we were in the top 10.”


   The banner team included Molly Cunningham, Kelly Howard, Abby Wilson, Audrey Centers, Morgan Willis, and Rylea Stinson with Centers serving as the group’s spokesperson in the interview phase. The t-shirt team included Hannah Morgan, Kris Broughton, Carson Bryant, Olivia Penny, and Joshua Sikes with Sikes serving as the representative in interview.


   Junior Beta students and their arts and crafts events included Olivia Coulter (black and white photography), Alyson Miller (color photography), Mattie Brown (digitally-enhanced photography), Ryan Ghent (oil/acrylic/watercolor painting), Calvin Smith (pastels/charcoals), Gracie Hayes (sketching), Emily Coulter (handmade jewelry), and Brianna Harp (decorated wreath).


   Academic competitors were Olivia Penny (Language Arts), Parker Gross (math), Josh Sikes (science) and Matthew Cartwright (social studies). Additional students and their areas of competition were Mattie Brown (on-site poetry) and Bailey Pits (speech),


   Students Andy Croft, Dillion Ausbrooks, Preston Wimpee, Brady Johnson, and Colton Costello participated in Quiz Bowl. Kenzie Barton, Emma Cline, Addison Cline, Emma Turner, Ellie Barton, Chloe Cook, and Kinlee Chaffin were on the Scrapbooking team. The Spotlight team included Marlee Charlton, Bailey Ausbrooks, Alyssa Harrison, Sara Cassada, Hannah Coats, Avaree Gens, and Mattie Brown.


   Lanie Hawkins, Cole Meador, Cora Towe, and Brady Johnson performed in special talent. The technology team included Joliene Williams, Matthew Cartwright, Mattie Brown, Tanner Webb, Ella Rickard, Caden Costello, and Wesley Coffee.  


   The 14 students who qualified for the National Convention will begin to raide finds to cover the costs of the trip to Georgia. Donations will also be accepted. The National Convention is scheduled for June 13-16 at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center.


   York sponsors Junior Beta at the Bazzell Middle School along with April Craft, Shelby Fisher and Haley Kirtley.



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