Reimagine School Blog

By Patty Sternad, Middle School Social Studies Teacher

Did you know that Lawrence School has a newly formed chapter of the Junior Beta Club?

The club’s mission focuses on building leadership skills and promoting community service amongst its members and is a new offering at Lawrence in 2017-18. There are currently 15 active members from both grades 7 and 8 and the group has already made an impact. 

             Natalie Ivie '22

Before Thanksgiving, Middle School student Natalie Ivie '22 approached the club members with an idea for a community service fundraiser. The U.S. Virgin Island of St. John, a place where Natalie and her family had visited in the past, sustained severe damage last year as a result of being hit by back-to-back hurricanes. 

Natalie asked if the Junior Beta Club could sponsor a school-wide "Penny War" – which pitted advisory classes and common areas against each other in playful competition – to raise money for a private school on the island called The Gift School.

In total, the activity raised more than $535 for The Gift School with the winning advisory class (Mrs. Haynes) earning a donut breakfast and the Blue Commons winning a free dress down day; all compliments of the Lawrence School Junior Beta Club. 

During the competition, many students asked why we picked The Gift School. The answer was simple. Members of the Junior Beta Club quickly discovered similarities between the school and Lawrence.

First of all, the students quickly identified with The Gift School's methodology which focuses on small class sizes that allow each child’s educational experience to be individualized based on their strengths and needs. Secondly, the students were drawn to the mission of The Gift School, which is to educate, challenge, support and empower students, to ignite their passion for learning in preparation for college, careers, and their roles as stewards of the island and global community.

Lastly, students at The Gift School learn how to help their island through sustainability programs and alternative energy sources, which has recently become an academic focus at the Upper School.    

Since The Gift School's mission and program seemed to be aligned in many ways with the mission of the Junior BETA Club and Lawrence School, our students felt it would be a perfect match!

Mrs. Sternad joined the Lawrence School community as a substitute teacher in 2005 before becoming a full-time faculty member in January of 2007. She currently teaches a mix of technology and history courses to our middle school students. Mrs. Sternad holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Baldwin-Wallace College with a 7-12 grade social studies teaching certificate. Patty also holds a Master of Education in mild/moderate special education from Baldwin-Wallace College. She welcomes your comments at

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