Greensboro, North Caroline, Here We Come!
“Look out Greensboro, here we come,” echoed over the highway heading east, as seven Woodland
Junior Betas, one sponsor, ten parents, and a collection of siblings hit the road in June for the National
Junior Beta Club Convention.
All girls, these Woodland students qualified for the National competition by winning awards at the state
level this spring in Poplar Bluff, MO. In Greensboro, they joined over 2000 other middle school kids
from 12 states, in academic, art and talent competitions, dancing, charity events, socializing, sightseeing,
and more for four days. The convention was held at the Greensboro Sheraton Four Seasons Hotel and
Koury Convention Center.
This was Sydney Keith’s third National Convention, and she came home bearing the National 1st Place
trophy in the School Banner competition! She enjoyed hanging out at a fancy hotel with new friends
from Malden, MO. Sydney was especially impressed with the National Chaplain Turner Whaley, “whose
inspirational speech was amazing!”
The National 3rd Place Award for Posters became the property of the trio of Cheyenne Ricketts, Megan
Jordan, and Suzanne Haislip. They explained that the contest was timed. There were about 30 teams.
Each team was given a poster board, markers, a theme, and one hour to collaborate and produce a
poster. No pressure, eh? The girls felt that they had really good teamwork.
Cheyenne’s favorite part of the trip was the actual competition. She also loved the way the whole
convention had a very patriotic and religious aura.
Megan had fun talking to a group of kids from Alabama, with their “cool southern accents.” She also
was fascinated with the Living Literature displays. This is where teams recreate a scene from a book
such as “Hunger Games” or “Titanic.” They have props and costumes and have to “freeze” in a pose for
30 minutes or so, not reacting while hundreds of spectators mill around them.
Suzanne related that the 40 or so speeches and skits given by students running for the 5 national offices
were good, but got a little long to sit through. She also shared that the motel the Woodland crew
stayed in was less than wonderful, and had no pool.
Hanna Berrong competed in the spelling contest. Her birthday was during the convention, and sponsor
Mr. James came up with Krispy Kreme doughnuts to celebrate. She enthused about the wonders of
escalators, elevators, revolving doors, and the like that aren’t found around home. Hanna had the most
fun at the arcade/pizza place they visited, showing off her go-kart driving skills.
Emma Rinacke was the youngest Woodland Beta, having just finished 6th grade, and she competed in
the Recycled Art division. She didn’t much appreciate the long drive, but felt the experience was worth
it. She had fun also at the arcade, but her favorite thing was looking at all of the other art pieces in her
Rachel Baker appreciated getting to socialize with all of the kids from around the country, especially
when they went to Starbucks. She pointed out as a highlight the Group and Special Talent Shows, and
an act called “Traveling Across America.”
Mom of Sydney, Mrs. Kim Keith shared that she also had a blast! “We had never been to that part of
the country before. The kids were great and it was a lot of fun. It’s awesome having Sydney be a
National Champion! It’s also inspiring seeing so many courteous and respectable kids, all having a good
time together in one place.”
Mrs. Melissa Rinacke, mother of Emma, felt “It was all very well organized. We were impressed with all
of the talent! The Living Literature was an amazing spectacle. As a parent I appreciated that Emma, as a
6th grader, got to go and ‘get her feet wet’ with that experience. We were really proud of Sydney taking
1st place, and the way all of the girls represented Woodland so well. Mr. James is a terrific sponsor and
we are very lucky to have him. He made sure our girls always got where they needed to be at the right
times. He also arranged for all of us to go out and share one special evening together as a group. It was
a long trip, but very much worth it!”
Mr. Nick James pointed out that the club members sold candy bars, held a car wash, and bagged
groceries at Country Mart to fund the trip for the girls. He states, “These members truly made me as a
sponsor and their school proud. This was one of the most impressive trips I’ve ever been on with the Jr.
Beta Club all around! I especially want to thank the parents, administration, school board, Country Mart,
Black River Electric, and the whole community. They made it possible for these kids to have an
incredible experience. We could not have done this without our tremendous community. Thank you,
Congratulations to all of the Junior Betas for a job well done, and especially these seven young ladies for
representing Woodland so well!