Vanderpoel Junior Beta Club Motto: ‘Let Us Lead by Serving Others’

By Maureen Cullnan

The red brick schoolhouse at 95th and Prospect Avenue is entering its second century, and under Principal Kia R. Banks, Vanderpoel Humanities Academy continues to offer students a high-quality, very well-rounded curriculum.

That curriculum includes Spanish, music, physical education, 21st Century technologies, fine and performing arts, sports and clubs.

The Vanderpoel Junior Beta Club is an academic honors program for students in 4th through 8th grades. The long-established program promotes academic achievement, character, service and leadership.

Director Shaunte Brewer first introduced the Junior Beta Club to Vanderpoel in 2014. She believes it provides students with numerous opportunities to expand their horizons through service and through leadership summits, state and national conventions. And she should know. She was President of her high school Senior Beta Club.

There are 30 members now at Vanderpoel, and Brewer expects more will join soon after the first report card.

Brewer believes that, “Leaders of tomorrow start today.”  Students run their meetings, propose their service projects, and vote on their priorities. They collaborate with other Vanderpoel clubs on service projects. Together with their 4H Club, they will serve breakfast to the residents of the Oak Lawn Ronald McDonald House in early 2017.

The Vanderpoel Junior Beta Club holds elections every year, which make officers directly accountable to members if they want to be re-elected. Students in all grades can run for an office in the club. They can also run for statewide offices.

Last year the Vanderpoel Junior Beta Club attended the state convention in Springfield, but this year they have set their sights on going to the National Junior Convention at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, in June.

A magnet elementary school, Vanderpoel emphasizes the fine and performing arts. There is no attendance boundary and there is no test required. However, students must submit an application to be considered for admission through a computerized lottery. The entry year is kindergarten. The application deadline is Dec. 9.

If you have questions about Vanderpoel, contact the Office of Access and Enrollment, 773-553-2060 or


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