James Clemens shows academic, arts strengths at Beta Club convention

At the Alabama State Beta Club Convention, cast members Haelin Oh, from left, Martin Nguyen, Briana Davis, DeAnne Skinner and Jessica Waggener won second place for their skit, "Beta Idol," a parody of "American Idol." (CONTRIBUTED)
At the Alabama State Beta Club Convention, cast members Haelin Oh, from left, Martin Nguyen, Briana Davis, DeAnne Skinner and Jessica Waggener won second place for their skit, “Beta Idol,” a parody of “American Idol.” (CONTRIBUTED)
Beta Club sponsor Felisa Vess, at right, congratulates Ashley Whigham for her first-place win in talent competition at the state convention. (CONTRIBUTED)
Beta Club sponsor Felisa Vess, at right, congratulates Ashley Whigham for her first-place win in talent competition at the state convention. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Beta Club members from James Clemens High School attended their first state tournament but competed like well-versed veterans.

The Alabama State Beta Club Convention was held at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex on April 8-10. The convention “provided a platform for leadership and for members to showcase their talents in every division from politics to academics to visual and performing arts,” sponsor and Spanish teacher Felisa Vess said.

James Clemens entered most convention competitions, except group talent, running a state candidate and scrapbook (because they’re a new club).

In the special talent division, Ashley Whigham won first place by singing Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb” and will advance to national competition this June in Nashville. Chryselle Alvarado was second-place winner for art with a pencil-and-charcoal drawing of her friend, Cayla Alexander, praying.

For their character skit, “Beta Idol,” Healin Oh, Briana Davis, Martin Nguyen, DeAnne Skinner and Jessica Waggener won second place. In “Beta Idol,” a contestant sings badly and celebrity judges humiliate her with ridicule instead of constructive criticism.

“Only one celebrity judge remembered how they all started at the bottom,” Vess said. “Character traits of integrity, honesty, hard work, kindness and perseverance were emphasized.”

The convention included numerous other options for the James Clemens students. Students could vie for honors with arts and crafts for sculpture, painting, photography cross-stitch and needlework. Delegates also showed their academic aptitude in spelling, English, creative writing, math, history, Spanish, science, agri-science, poetry and oratory.

James Clemens students “met and networked with students from all over the state of Alabama,” Vess said. “This being our first time to attend state convention, I think it was a wonderful learning experience for all of us.”

Students with overall GPA of 85 minimum and good standing with the school are eligible to join Beta Club. At James Clemens, the club has 96 members, who follow the motto “Lead by serving others” and complete 15 hours of service work yearly.

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