No one expected the Bridgewater Middle School Beta Club to win any awards at the state convention two weeks ago since it was the club’s first year ever attending the convention.
So when the club won first place in the technology division, everyone was surprised.
“There were 35 of us there, and we all started screaming,” said Beta Club sponsor Rosemarie Crosley. “They were so happy. It was really exciting, especially for our first time. We were psyched.”
The club had been dormant until three years ago when Crosley decided to give the club a fresh start and relaunched it. That first year, only a small handful of students joined. The following year, membership grew to about 25 students. This year, membership tripled - Crosley inducted more than 50 members into the club earlier this year.
“It’s a lot,” Crosley said. “I love the kids, but I’m trying to learn 70 new faces. We’ve outgrown my classroom, but I’m excited because they’re excited.”
The club revolves around volunteering. Each student is required to put in 15 volunteer hours each semester. Already, the students have volunteered at community events at both Bay Lake Elementary School and Independence Elementary School. This month, Crosley is planning a visit to a local assisted-living facility where the students will be able to serve residents a Christmas dinner.
“They’re always asking when they can volunteer,” Crosley said of her students.
For Crosley, seeing the students get involved and help other is rewarding.
“They’re very grateful at the end of every event we do,” she said. “It makes me feel good. Volunteering isn’t always fun, but it’s about the life lessons behind it.”
When Crosley told club members that they would be attending the state convention for the first time this year, several members stepped forward wanting to submit a project.
“It was such a scramble, but a group just came together and said let’s go for it,” Crosley said.
After brainstorming project ideas, the students decided to create a video promoting the club’s theme for the year, “Beta on my mind.”
“They did not need my help,” Crosley said. “They did everything. They edited it. They came up with the script. Since this was our first time ever going, this was a big deal for us.”
The club submitted the video in the technology division, but no one knew what to expect at the convention.
“They called us up, and I was like, ‘Did they really just call us?’” Crosley said.
Because the group won first place, their video will advance to the national convention, which will be held in June 2018 in Savannah, Georgia.
In addition to winning the technology division, an art piece submitted by one of the club members won first place for visual art.