If you have a child in school, chances are you have heard of the Beta Club. There are Junior Beta Clubs for grades four through eight and Senior Beta Clubs for grades 9-12.
The first Beta Club was founded in 1934 at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., by a professor named John Harris. According to the group’s website, the Beta Club mission is “to promote the ideals of academic achievement, character, service and leadership among elementary and secondary school students.”
Throughout the years, these clubs have improved the lives of nearly 7 million students and, since 1991, have awarded more than $5 million in scholarships. Today there are over 8,750 clubs worldwide and more than 450,000 active members. Beta Club is now the nation’s largest independent, nonprofit, educational youth organization.
Recently the Beta Club from Harris Road Middle School organized a 5K Color Run that was held on the school grounds and the surrounding community.
Michelle Lantz, an eighth-grader at Harris Road Middle recently talked about why she became involved in the club. “I think that kids should participate in school activities like clubs so they can have a positive impact on their community,” she said. “Beta club is all about doing good and helping out.”
“We have done many service projects and have to have four hours of community service per semester,” she said. The 5K was a color run which has color powder distributed throughout the run. Everyone was laughing, smiling and having a fun time while being colorful.”
Another Harris Road Beta Club member, Erin Polich, had this to say about why she joined: “I think it is important for kids to be a part of clubs at school so they are up and active and doing good in the community instead of watching TV or on social media.
“Clubs give kids more opportunities to make friends and learn things that they don’t really teach you in the classroom,” Polich said. “The Color Run was a lot of fun, and we all worked great together. I loved hanging out with my friends while helping the community.”
It’s not easy to become a member of Beta Club; the requirements are rigorous, and you can’t just sign up. Membership is by invitation only. Harris Road club members are invited to join based on achievement in the classroom and outstanding character traits.
Once you are a member, you are expected to maintain A’s in all core classes, attend meetings and participate in service projects each semester.
This was the first time the Beta Club at Harris Road Middle organized such an event, but it will probably plan another one next year because it was so successful.
A total of 226 runners participated in the race, and the event raised $2,500. Proceeds went to No Kid Hungry, an organization that provides meals to children in need.
Linda Doherty is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Linda? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.