Published on July 8th, 2019 | by Millennium Magazine Staff0
School District Five student places in National Beta Club competition
IRMO –Chapin High School student Jessica Gilliam is an award winning artist after her artwork placed at both the South Carolina and National Beta Club conventions. The rising senior placed first in Sculpture at the South Carolina convention in February, and traveled to Nationals in June to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma where her sculpture placed 9th.
Beta Club holds annual state conventions in 18 states, both for Senior and Junior Beta divisions, and winners of these state events go on to compete on a national level. Activities range from academic contests to quiz bowls and talent competitions. The top 10 students from each category win awards. Conventions give members the opportunity to interact, share project ideas and showcase their academic and leadership abilities.
Gilliam created a large cardboard sculpture in her design foundations class at Chapin High School. She said when she learned that she placed first in the state and qualified for nationals she was overjoyed.
“The name of my artwork is “Driftwood”, it symbolizes my life: go with the flow of the water, to get to the other side of the river,” Gilliam said. “My inspiration was derived from a recycling project introduced to me by my art teacher, Ms. Templeton. It is made out of recycled cardboard and staples.”
She and her Beta Club sponsor agreed that traveling with such a large piece of art was a daunting task.
“When our group traveled to Myrtle Beach for State competition, the sculpture had its very own seat on our activity bus,” said Janis Morgan, Chapin High School Beta Club sponsor. “Jessica shipped it to Oklahoma City for nationals by Priority Mail and added special shipping costs to ensure that care was taken into consideration during its transport to prevent damage and that it arrived in a timely manner. I am so proud of her amazing accomplishment. Congratulations on a well-traveled, and well-deserved win, Jessica!
The National Beta Club is the largest independent, non-profit, educational youth organization in America. There are now more than 500,000 active members and more than 8,750 clubs nationally and internationally. Beta’s mission originated with Dr. John W. Harris, a professor at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, who founded the organization in 1934.
“Being with the Beta Club has helped me grow into a better person especially when it comes to leadership and serving my community,” Gilliam said. “I have participated in a number of community service projects and I am looking forward to attaining additional leadership roles in the future.”
“At Chapin High School, we encourage our students to hone their skills and pursue their passions, and Jessica’s award is a testament to that,” said Chapin High School Principal Michael Ames. “We are so proud of Jessica, the Chapin Beta club and all our teachers and staff who help our students pursue excellence each day.”