DONALDSONVILLE — Donaldsonville High School Beta Clubs are making history this month when they send two delegations to national conventions for the first time.
Beta Club sponsor Trudy Bates had made the trip to the national convention a goal since she joined the school four years ago.
Bates, who has been working with Beta Clubs for 23 years, said the members “took baby steps” along the way before being picked to compete on the big stages of the national conventions.
“We’ll be competing against the best of the best from 18 states,” Bates said. “It will open a lot of doors for them.”
Bates’ Junior Beta Club won their way to nationals thanks to a strong performance at the state convention, she said.
Andrew Dickerson, 15, captured a second place state win with his oil painting depicting a bowl of apples.
Lawrence Brown, 15, Tyler M. Brown and Ambrosia Johnson, 14, are also making the trip to Mobile, Ala., June 15 to June 18.
The club’s second place win in the service competition helped stamp their ticket, she said.
The service award is given to the top five clubs with the most service hours.
The Donaldsonville High Junior Beta Club collected clothes, hosted a Toys for Tots campaign, cleaned up the football stadium, distributed canned good during Thanksgiving and helped out after Hurricane Isaac. Club members collected gloves and socks for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Senior Beta Club member Kaitlyn Cayette, 17, won first place in the state talent competition and the club picked up a third place in service.
Club President Michael Favorite said he’s thrilled to be part of the group that “is making history” for the school.
Favorite said he is looking forward to meeting new people and campaigning for a Louisiana Beta Club member running for national office.
Bates, the Louisiana Junior Beta Club sponsor until July 1, was named Louisiana Junior Beta Sponsor of the Year at the May state convention.
Former student Alia Woods, a senior, nominated Bates for the honor.
In addition to the chance to pick up more hardware, the convention will provide opportunities for the students, Bates said.
Dickerson’s win has already secured a spot for him in an advanced placement art class.
Art teacher Kyte Aymond said Dickerson’s win has served as encouragement for other students who see the rewards of hard work and dedication.
The trip itself is a reward the students worked hard for, Bates said.
The club members held several fundraisers and solicited contributions for the trip, they said.
Several of the club members have never traveled outside of the state, Bates said.
“They feel isolated across that river,” she said.
The trip, Bates said, will show the students that hard work pays off.
In addition to attending the conventions, the Beta Club members will visit the beaches of Gulf Shores and attend a dance.
Bates said she and other DHS teachers push the students “to explore what’s on the side of the river.
The students will ride to the convention on a chartered bus with other Beta members from across the region.
The Senior Beta Club members will be in Mobile June 19 to June 22 for the convention.
“It’s going to be trip to remember,” Favorite said.