Grant Suire, an eighth grade student at St. Michael's Elementary in Crowley, has placed first at the National Junior Beta Club's individual speech competition.

Grant, the son of Jay and Laurie Suire, placed first Louisiana's Junior Beta Convention in February, earning him a chance to compete at the national convention being held this week in Orlando. More than 15,000 students from across the country took part in general assemblies, and those who placed at the state level were allowed to vie for national titles in their respective group and individual competitions, ranging from math to art to oration.

The Junior Beta Club is an organization that, according to their mission statement, strives to honor the academic achievements of fourth through eighth graders, and build leadership and service qualities in these young individuals.



Grant, who also happens to be my nephew, is an exceptionally bright young man with a kind spirit and a truly giving heart. Package that with an amazing ability to communicate and an outgoing personality, and you've got one heck of a human being who will absolutely change the world for the better.

We could ALL learn something from a 13-year-old who knows that helping one person at a time is sometimes all it takes to make a difference.

Nanny couldn't be more proud of you, Grant. I can't wait to watch you fly!

Here is the text of Grant's speech which was written by him:

One day, a young boy was picking up starfish dying on the beach and tossing them into the ocean. An old man said, “Son, there are thousands of starfish along this beach! You couldn’t possibly make a difference even if you worked all day!” The boy smiled, picked up another starfish, threw it, and said, “Well, I just made a difference for THAT one.”
I LOVE that kid! He must have been a BETA! He understood what we BETAs stand for...  LET US LEAD BY SERVING OTHERS!
When we think of service, we may naturally think of politics or military service. But think of this: a life of service can take many forms - adapting to the challenges of OUR time. Our generation may instead find its conflicts on the battlefields of poverty, addiction, or intolerance conquering not foreign armies but injustice here at home.
  While service may be found in the great blare of trumpets or the brandishing of bayonets, its power is also found in the quiet comfort of an offered hand, the tutoring of a struggling student, or the tilt of a soup kitchen ladle.
If it truly takes a village, then action is demanded of the villagers - To spend a life including, inspiring, believing, doing - leaving the village better than we found it - emptying our own cups so that they can be filled.  We’re a rising generation possessed with that most American of ideas - that we can make things better! All that’s required is a willingness to make a difference.  And Anybody Can Do It!
I can’t tell you what your own life of service should be; But I’m asking you to stand with me and play your part. I’m asking you to put your shoulder up against the wheel - to push the wagon instead of just riding in it. And if you do, I promise your life will be richer, our country stronger.
BETAs, the consequences are too high, so join me and Live a life of service! This is OUR time, so PICK UP a starfish, and THROW!