The National Beta Club at Horizon High School is proving itself in just its first year of existence. Amanda Cohen is the sponsor of the club and its 15 members, who returned from a state competition in Orlando with a handful of wins.
Twelve students attended the contest — the first for the Horizon students — and six were declared winners, two of them first place. Sydney Jackson and Thy Thy Nuygen took first place in math and hand-drawn anime Division 1, respectively. Second-place winners were Rashmitha Bathina and Meagan Rose in an instrumental duo and Rylie Eaton in on-site drawing Division 1. Connor Wilson came in third in social studies.
“We’re a brand-new school, and we went to states, and we pretty much took home first and second place in every category we entered,” Cohen said. “They crushed it; I was so proud of them.”
The winners now advance to the national competition in June in Kentucky.
National Beta Club is a nonprofit educational youth organization in America that prepares today's students to be tomorrow's leaders and promotes the ideals of academic achievement, character, service and leadership among elementary and secondary school students.
Students at Horizon High with a 3.0 or higher grade-point average are eligible to join the Beta Cub honor society. Cohen said the club focuses on service within the school and in the community. Recent activities include making stockings for homeless and foster children and making sandwiches for homeless folks.
The Beta Club officers meet after school on Thursdays and club members meet biweekly to discuss fundraisers and practice for competitions.
For the contests, students select categories in which they can succeed.
“I find out what the kids do within the school,” Cohen said. “Those kids who are in orchestra and can improve, they can absolutely play an instrument. You can prove you actually have acting experience behind you if you want to be in the acting category. They express the interest, and then I assign it.”
There are dozens of categories in which to compete, Cohen said, including performing arts, academics, robotics, living literature, music, singing, dancing, acting and candidate speaking.
Cohen is hoping more students will become interested in the club and join in the meetings. Students who want to get involved can show up at a Thursday meeting immediately after school in Room 6102. The club offers scholarship opportunities, Cohen said.
Beta Club is holding a spirit night from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, at Huey Magoos, 9250 Miley Drive, Winter Garden. Fifteen percent of the proceeds will be donated to the club.