The Sentinel-Record

Lakeside Beta Club starts back strong


After being dormant throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Lakeside High School welcomed back its National Senior Beta Club with 222 new inductees, as well as recognitio­n as a 2021-2022 National Beta School of Distinctio­n and National Beta School of Merit.

Lakeside Beta Club sponsors Sara Sawyer and Adrianna Wallace said they are excited to have it back on campus and to be starting off so strong.

According to a news release, National Beta School of Distinctio­n is an honor for those clubs striving towards academic achievemen­t and exemplary character, while demonstrat­ing leadership and service to others. National Beta Club awarded the honor to only 2,250 Beta Clubs across the country and chose Lakeside for having such a large increase in membership upon starting back.

“This national award speaks highly of your commitment to academic excellence and illustrate­s your dedication to preparing students for their future,” said National Beta Club CEO Bobby Hart to the school in a letter.

The National Beta School of Merit award, the release stated, is given to honor a club’s dedication and commitment to academic excellence, in which a school must include members from all eligible grade levels in their Beta club.

“Definitely, we were not expecting any kind of recognitio­n,” said Wallace, who teaches 10th grade English and advanced English.

Sawyer, who teaches ninthgrade English and advanced English, along with ESL, added that it is exciting because it gives the club some clout starting out.

“I think it’ll make it very exciting for the students to know that we’re not just any Beta Club School of Distinctio­n, you know. We have some honor behind it. I think it will be good for everybody. It’s good for the school,” she said.

Recognized as the nation’s largest independen­t, nonprofit, educationa­l youth organizati­on, according to its website, National

Beta has more than 500,000 active members and 9,000 chapters nationally and internatio­nally. It recognizes “outstandin­g achievemen­t, promotes character and social responsibi­lity, encourages service involvemen­t to school and community, and fosters leadership skills.” Not only must members maintain a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher, they must also complete 10 hours of community service a year and demonstrat­e high character and leadership qualities.

Wallace noted she feels like character and leadership have been on the decline, especially during the COVID years when everybody was home.

“When it came to doing school work, where you don’t see your teacher and you turn in whatever there is — there wasn’t a lot of opportunit­y to be a leader and show character, or witness others,” she said. “We have some great kids enrolled — very great kids — who definitely live up to everything Beta Club’s about. I’m hoping that they’re going to be a strong presence here on campus and, really, like a positive influence on other students. Because nowadays, especially, we always need people with good moral character and who are willing to be leaders and step up and really show others what that looks like.”

Sawyer said she believes the volunteer work they do plays a huge role in shaping that character and leadership qualities.

“One of the ideas we have is having them do a tutoring program for students, and they can get some other hours that way. We’re going to be doing that next year, along with other volunteer opportunit­ies. But just giving them that chance to learn how to serve others and how to think outside of just ‘themselves’ will be really big I think,” she said.

Although the club did not get to attend the recent state convention at the Hot Springs Convention Center, its officers are in place and will be running the coming induction ceremonies. Wallace said the club will start fresh this fall and by that time will see the rising freshmen who intend to join.

“We’ll have a whole new class to induct and hopefully a whole lot of energy and enthusiasm,” she said. “With the service projects, the students have a lot of freedom in what they choose. They can choose their own service project to do and they can follow their passion. So (with) all the different ways they can help the community and different aspects of the community, I just think it’ll be a big, positive movement for Lakeside the school, Lakeside the community, and for the students as well.”

 ?? The Sentinel-Record/Donald Cross ?? ■ Lakeside Beta Club sponsors Sara Sawyer, left, and Adrianna Wallace talk about the club becoming more active following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Sentinel-Record/Donald Cross ■ Lakeside Beta Club sponsors Sara Sawyer, left, and Adrianna Wallace talk about the club becoming more active following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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