DeKalb earns nine top-10 finishes in national competition

Eli and Ryan smile in front of beta club signTwo DeKalb County School District (DCSD) students recently put their academic, community service, citizenship, and leadership skills to the test on the national stage – and earned top honors in the process.

Kittredge Magnet School sixth graders Eli Glasser and Ryan Halligan claimed top 10 finishes at the National Junior Beta Club Convention in Savannah, Ga., in June 2018. Glasser placed first in science while Halligan placed sixth in mathematics.

The National Beta Club is an academic organization that strives to instill character traits related to community service, academic excellence, and citizenship in students.

At competitions and conventions, students present academic projects, showcase musical talent, and submit art pieces. Schools also compete in club project competitions that highlight each school’s service projects and community involvement. At Kittredge, for example, the club submitted a club scrapbook, banner, t-shirt design, and a display board with pictures from service events.

Students who participated in the 2018 National Beta Club Convention had to receive first, second, or third place finishes at the regional and state level. The 2017-2018 school year was Glasser’s first year participating in Beta Club, but that didn’t stop from earning top honors.

“I thought that the competition would be tough so I did not think I’d win, which took the pressure off,” Glasser said. “I thought this would be a good year to learn how it all worked. I guess I know more science than I thought!”

Kittredge Jr. Beta Club sponsor and science teacher Julie Linsley said both students exceeded her expectations.

“We are so proud of Eli and Ryan, who have worked so hard,” Linsley said. “They are so incredibly smart, and it’s quite the accomplishment to be recognized in the national pool of other very bright, successful students. They’re really excited and a little surprised!”

national junior beta club trophyNational Beta Club participation offers students a greater understanding of the real world, Linsley said. By heading projects that deal with real-world problems, students develop critical thinking skills, public speaking skills, and learn what it means to be an active, involved citizen.

“Jr. Beta Club gives students a great opportunity to develop their leadership skills,” Linsley said. “The officers and club members work together to complete projects, plan and lead club meetings and service projects, organize and communicate important details, and speak in front of large groups of people. These are skills that they will be using for the rest of their lives.”

For Linsley, Beta Club offers the chance to work with students outside of the classroom and get to know them on a different level. This year’s projects, such as collecting toys for nearby charitable organization MercyCare, inspired students to do more in their own communities.

“As a Jr. Beta Club sponsor, I really like being able to model and encourage values that the classroom curriculum does not directly address,” Linsley said. “We’re creating contributing citizens and showing them that they can make a difference in their communities. To be able to encourage and empower students is wonderful.”

Linsley hopes to expand Beta Club participation at Kittredge Magnet School to fifth grade students in the near future. Until then, she looks forward to welcoming new members during the 2018-2019 school year, which she expects to be around 40 students—nearly double this year’s 24 students.

“These are bright, dedicated students who know their academic content and have a genuine love for learning,” Linsley said.

For more information on the National Beta Club and how it is benefiting students in the DeKalb County School District, visit

2018 DeKalb County National Beta Club Winners

Place Student School Category
1st Eli Glassner Kittredge Magnet School Science (6th Grade, Division 2)
1st N/A DeKalb Academy of Technology & Environment Service Snapshot
2nd Nadia Embry Wynbrooke Elementary School Essay (Division 1)
3rd Victoria Lin Chamblee Charter High School Onsite Colored Pencil Drawing
4th N/A McNair High School Service Snapshot
6th J. Ryan Halligan Kittredge Magnet School Math (6th Grade, Division 2)
7th Grace Holland The Museum School Social Studies (5th Grade, Division 1)
8th Jahsir Bogle DeKalb Academy of Technology & Environment Lead Outside the Box
8th Ryann May Wynbrooke Elementary School Speech (Division 1)