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40 NCMS Beta students to compete at national level

Image of Student painting a project for NCMS Beta

Linnie Kate Kilpatrick, NCMS BETA Student

By Debbie Burt Myers

Forty Neshoba Central Middle School Beta students are gearing up for the national competition in Savannah, Ga., next month following their impressive performance at the state level.

Among them, seventh grader Jenny Kate Copeland is vying for the position of national Beta Club secretary. She is currently vice president of Mississippi’s Beta Club.

Copeland is excited about the election.

“I saw at a young age how fun Beta can be and wanted to be involved,” she said. “I wanted to use the opportunity to help my school better serve Neshoba County and the nation. I look forward to running for national vice president, so that I can serve others and bring a new perspective to the Beta organization.”

NCMS Beta Club sponsor LeAnna Linkins said the decision was made for Copeland to run for state office when she was in the fifth grade.

“We knew she had the personality and qualities to win,” she said. “She was our ‘Beta mascot,’ being the little sister of a then-Beta student and the daughter of a co-sponsor.”

Linkins is excited about the opportunity for her students to showcase their talents on the national stage.

 “They will get to see what they are up against, not only academically, but creatively, too,” she said. “They will have time together away from school where they can just be themselves. For some, this is their first trip out of state without their parents. I’m excited to see that aspect of it and I’m excited to see how we do competition wise.”

For the past several weeks, Beta students have been working on their exhibition project for nationals.
They are building an over four-foot-long replica of a vintage trolley car for the Reimage, Recreate, Recycle category.
Beta member Linnie Kate Kilpatrick said the students decided to make a trolley after researching Savannah.
“One of our Beta sponsors talked about how they have vintage trolleys,” she said. “We thought it would be cool to bring the spirit of Savannah into our project.”
Beta students will have to create an accompanying item during the competition.
“When you go to nationals, they give you a prompt. The task this year is to make a mode of transportation out of recycled materials,” Linkins said.
The students started with a large, cardboard box. Among the other recyclables utilized were tin foil rolls, brown paper towels, coffee can lids, old leather, plastic salad lunch cartons, plastic taken from dolls and an old piece of wire.
Once completed, the trolley will be painted mint green and beige.
At nationals, students will have to make something to accompany the trolley during a given timeframe. They will be given five to 10 objects for the project.
Last year, Beta students recreated Marty Stuart’s mandolin.
“When we got to nationals with our mandolin, we had to make a microphone out of recycled materials,” Linkins said.
Beta Club members will compete in several other categories at nationals including a campaign skit, which won them second-place honors on the state level.
Linkins is optimistic about their chances of winning multiple first-place honors.
“We usually do pretty well at nationals,” she said. “It is always fun to see where we will come in. When we start planning in August, we plan with nationals in mind. We know what we have to have to be competitive. We know what we have to do to place so that is what we work toward all year.”
While the group is looking forward to the competition, they are also eager to explore Savannah, including a visit to Tybee Island and experiencing the downtown area.
 “They are excited to ride the ferry,” Linkins said. “They don’t know what to expect. This is a large group of sixth graders who have never done nationals.”
Also making the trip to Savannah will be Neshoba Middle School Beta co-sponsors Cassie White and Amy Copeland.                                                                                                                                                Hannah Lyons, NCMS BETA Student Image of NCMS BETA Student