More than 1,200 middle school student across the region gathered on Wednesday for the District IV Junior Beta Convention. Students from Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu and Jeff Davis competed for top honors in a variety of academic based contests hoping to advance to the state competition February 2020.
Junior Beta Club members are selected based on their grade point average, behavior and leadership skills, Chaz Campbell, District IV sponsor said. Student compete in categories that directly or indirectly relate to their course work including a new emphasis on design, robotics and engineering.
“We’re moving more towards a technology and engineering based learning standard for most things,” Campbell said. “So we’re really trying to showcase those engineering and building skills.” The competition also features a marketing and communications contest whereby students demonstrate critical thinking and explanation skills. “Even when they can build and construct things they still have to explain their thinking behind in all things,” Campbell said. “It lets them show their product and show how they would impact different situations.”
Wednesday’s competition was important to student learning, Campbell said, because the diverse categories offer something for every learning style. “Not all kids are audible learners so a lot of times you reach more kids with giving them more avenues for learning.”
Debbie Fuselier, First Baptist Christian Academy Beta sponsor, agreed saying, “It’s just a good outlet for abilities and interests they have outside of the classroom. It’s an opportunity to pique their interest in other things besides the traditional school subjects.”
Students at FBCA began preparing for the convention at the beginning of the school year, Fuselier said, and the experience has also helped them grow in their collaboration skills. “They’re finding people with their same interest and definitely learning to work with others to accomplish a goal,”
Ansley Burns, an FBCA sixth grader, said her group found success in their “3-D Design” competition by dividing up the tasks. “We were looking online and I saw an eye chart that reminded me of the theme ‘As far as your eye can see.’ Sage came up with the design then we all worked on it together and brought his design to life.”