The TJC Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society recently returned from the 2018 International Convention in Kansas City, celebrating Phi Theta Kappa’s 100th anniversary.
TJC’s Alpha Omicron chapter earned a record-breaking sixth continuous Beta Alpha Continued Excellence Award, making Alpha Omicron one of the top 25 chapters in all 50 states and nine countries.
If a chapter has previously been named a Distinguished Chapter for three years consecutively and continues to perform at the height of chapter programming, they may earn the prestigious Beta Alpha Award, which was named for the chapter at Blinn College in Brenham, for their dominance in the early days of Phi Theta Kappa.
Chapter advisor Gigi Delk said, “To be considered for a Distinguished Chapter award, a chapter must submit top-10-percent entries in both College Project and Honors in Action categories, representing the major projects undertaken by the chapter during the past year.
“It is exceptionally difficult to maintain such a high level of chapter performance as each year begins with new members, new officer teams, and new projects. Only nine out of nearly 1,400 chapters total were named Beta Alpha Chapters this year.”
TJC was also named a 5-Star Chapter, indicating success in all aspects of Phi Theta Kappa Leadership development, community service, and scholarship, and was one of 14 Texas chapters (out of 99) named to the Top 100 Chapters list.
Five TJC chapter members were presented scholarships and recognized on stage as 2018 Coca-Cola All-USA Academic Team Scholars, Leaders of Promise Scholars, or Oberndorf Scholars:
- Tal Carson of Tyler, Coca-Cola Gold Scholar
- Cassi Beckham of Athens, Coca-Cola Bronze Scholar
- Ebony Griffin of Rusk, Coca-Cola Bronze Scholar
- Madison Jantzen of Frisco, Coca-Cola Leader of Promise Scholar
- Bailey Miley of Caddo Mills, Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship
Selection as a Coca-Cola Scholar was based on scores the students earned in the All-USA Academic Team competition, for which more than 2,000 applications were received this year. This program is sponsored by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and is administered by Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Six Tyler Junior College student leaders were recognized as members of the All-Texas Academic Team, including Keylon Mathis, Bailey Miley, Madison Jantzen, Ebony Griffin, Cassie Beckham, and Tal Carson.
Individual members earning recognition included:
- Distinguished Chapter Officer Award: Chapter President James Loya of Tyler
- Distinguished Chapter Member Award: Justin Crowe of Jacksonville
The Chapter Officer Team was one of only 30 teams to be named 2018 Distinguished Officer Teams. This award recognizes an exceptional atmosphere of teamwork, leadership abilities, engagement in society projects, and enthusiasm for the society’s hallmarks of scholarship, leadership, service and fellowship.
The 2017-2018 Distinguished Officer Team includes:
- President: James Loya
- Presidential Assistant: Caleigh Reese of Rusk
- Vice President, Honors in Action: Tal Carson
- Vice President, College Project: Hannah Sanders of Lindale & Jacqueline Nateros of Tyler
- Vice President, Scholarship: Griselle Esparza of Tyler
- Vice President, Leadership: Juan Salazar of Tyler
- Vice President, Service: Jaqueline Velazquez from Tyler
- Vice President, Fellowship: Madison Jantzen
- Vice President, Communication: Cassie Beckham & Heidy Soto of Longview
- Vice President, Fundraising: Keylon Mathis of Gilmer
- Historian: Christine Anderson of Flint
Carson, who next Friday will graduate from TJC at the age of 16, said, “TJC has been amazing because of its people and because of the opportunities I’ve had to travel. I’ve been able to go attend several conventions with Phi Theta Kappa.”
She is also in the Presidential Honors Program and a sign language interpreter major.
As head of the chapter’s Honors in Action project, Carson said, “I have always had an interest in different cultures, and for this project we brought together people of diverse backgrounds -- whether it was different nationalities or religions -- and had an open forum about that. It was to bring in cultural awareness and acceptance and break down stereotypes.”
The chapter’s Educational Forum proposal, “Get a Job! How to Market Yourself through Competitive Résumé and Interview Skills,” was also accepted for presentation during this convention.
Alpha Omicron advisors include TJC faculty and staff members: Gigi Delk, computer science; Shannon Cross, history, retired, advisor emeritus; B.J. Williams, criminal justice; Maggie Ruelle, professional development specialist; Danielle Pritchard, biology laboratory specialist; and Regan Minkel, English.