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Nearly 30 scholars represented Ivy Preparatory Academies at the annual Georgia Junior Beta Club Convention in Macon recently.

Ivy Scholar and Georgia Junior Beta Club State President  Selina Vazquez-Mendoza presided over the state convention, which attracted 8,000 people to the Macon Marriott City Convention Center on Nov. 17 and 18. Vazquez-Mendoza gave speeches, introduced special guests, presented awards, and participated in meetings. Her picture was featured on the convention website and program. The Ivy Scholar was the first public charter school student to be elected as state president of Georgia’s Beta Club. Her year- long term ends with the selection of the new president.

“Selina did an outstanding job leading the Beta Club Convention,” said Mr. Chaz Patterson, principal of IPA Gwinnett. “This was a great experience for her and an historic occasion for Ivy Prep to have an Ivy Scholar prominently featured as the president of a state organization. I am proud of her and the efforts of all of our scholars who participated in events at the convention. ”

Autumn Smart, a Beta Club member since elementary school, cheered for Vazquez-Mendoza as she performed official duties of the president. “Selina did a great job,” the seventh-grader said. “The convention was really fun.”

IPA Gwinnett had seven scholars to attend the 34th annual state convention “Beta Above And Beyond.” IPA Kirkwood, which recently inducted its first Beta Club members, brought about 20 people to the convention. The Ivy Scholars  competed in some of the academic-and-arts- themed events at the conference.

Eighth grader Joycelyn Lieu, a newcomer to the Beta Club Convention,  participated in the visual arts design challenge. She drew a picture of a tiger using vibrant colors. “It was really exciting,” she said of the conference. “I was able to meet a lot of new people and make friends with students from across the state.”

Her classmate, Makalya  Donald, also a newcomer to the Beta Club Convention, enjoyed watching schools compete in the arts and academic challenges.  “I liked to see what other schools did and hear about their creative process,” she said.

IPA’s Beta Club is a local chapter of National Junior Beta Club, the country’s largest independent nonprofit youth organization. IPA Beta Clubs promote scholarship, leadership, good character, and community service. IPA Gwinnett scholars in grades 6-8 who have stellar behavior and a grade point average of at least a 3.5 are recommended by teachers to be considered for membership in the prestigious organization.

Ivy Scholars have a legacy of achievement within Beta Club. In addition to Vazquez-Mendoza’s state presidency, IPA Gwinnett’s Beta Club also placed second at the state level in 2014 and placed fourth at nationals in 2015 playing a Jeopardy-style Quiz Bowl game that tested their mastery of math, literature, social studies, and science.

Seventh grader Sydnee Jefferson plans to continue the legacy of excellence. She ran for Beta Club state president. Her fellow club members joined her on stage for a dance performance supporting her candidacy. Jefferson said her time at Ivy Prep prepared her to stand before a crowd of 8,000 with confidence.

“I had to say my speech and answer questions,” she said. “It was a good experience.  I will run again.”


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