By Holly Desrosier
The weekend of March 2 was a busy one for Craven Community College’s (Craven CC) Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society members. Students competed at the Carolinas Regional Convention in Columbia, South Carolina and brought home 17 awards in various categories.
Alpha Phi Nu (APN), Craven CC’s local chapter of PTK, won several competitive awards at the convention, including Five Star Chapter Plan – Five Star Level; Distinguished Honors in Action Project Theme 2 – Economies of Everything; Distinguished Honors in Action Project – Student Hunger and Course Retention after Hurricane Florence; and Yearbook – Honorable Mention.
They also received many awards for outstanding participation: Carolinas Region 2018 Honors in Action Project – Art Matters Too; 2018 Carolinas Region Service Project – Carolinas Region Support for Seniors; Carolinas Region Super Stars; and Recognizing Excellence in Acceptance and Completion with Honors (REACH) Reward. Riley Batchelor, Craven CC’s PTK public relations officer, and members Maddie Aurora Charlow and Benjamin Morrow each received a Competitive Edge Five Star Level award.
“To me, the true purpose was to get together and recognize how each chapter grew as scholars and leaders through their use of the four PTK hallmarks,” said Batchelor. “This chapter has worked so hard and definitely deserves every bit of this recognition.”
APN has earned a five-star rating for nine consecutive years. This is the highest rating awarded and is based on the chapter’s participation on local, regional and international levels. Chapters that receive the award are part of the Honors Program to help promote the organization’s hallmarks: leadership, service, scholarship and fellowship.
Kate Amerson, PTK faculty advisor, was also recognized during the convention for her hard work as part of the Advisory Board. She and PTK faculty co-advisor Edward Sabat each received a Horizon Award for Advisors and a Five Star Advisor participation award.
“This year, as chapter members dealt with personal hardships from Hurricane Florence, fellowship became the overwhelming hallmark,” said Amerson. “Members supported each other in remarkable ways and by doing so, they were able to create an Honors in Action project that supported the campus and community. Despite their own financial burdens, their collaborative scholarly fellowship allowed them to grow into servant leaders.”
The Carolinas Regional Convention brought together all PTK chapters in the Carolinas to celebrate and receive awards for their hard work throughout the school year. The convention included educational seminars, guest speakers, award presentations, election of new regional officers and an alumni induction ceremony.
The Honors in Action project produces a catalog every two years with a new honors study topic and sub-topics that each chapter must choose from to base their research and project on. This year’s study topic was “Transformations: Acknowledging, Assessing, and Achieving Change,” and the APN team chose the theme “Economies of Everything.” They focused their project on hunger; more specifically, food insecurities that stem from a lack of financial stability and the effect it has on student retention.
“We decided to create a food pantry where students could go get the items they needed in order to combat some of the stress they may be feeling and, in turn, allow them to remain in school and focus more on their studies,” said Batchelor. “Due to Hurricane Florence, we rushed to get it together in a much faster timeframe than we had originally planned.”
With the support of Craven CC’s Student Government Association and Student Ambassadors, PTK students opened the pantry to all students and staff impacted by the hurricane. The community generously came together to donate supplies such as toiletries, clothing and food items.
“When Hurricane Florence affected our campus, the pantry and supply closet addressed immediate needs,” said Amerson. “It also supported additional needs during the winter government shutdown, and it remains open.”
Additionally, Dr. Staats, Craven CC president, received a Paragon Award for New College Presidents. These awards are given to new college presidents who have shown strong support of student success by recognizing academic achievement, leadership and service among high-achieving students at their college. Recipients were nominated for the award by students on their campus.
Staats is one of 25 college presidents who will be recognized during the PTK annual convention, Catalyst 2019, on April 4-6 in Orlando, Florida. Craven CC’s APN chapter will also attend this event in hopes of taking home more awards for their hard work.
“There is nothing like seeing the smiles and pride on the faces of our officers when ‘Alpha Phi Nu—Craven Community College’ is called at a convention,” said Amerson. “Officers and advisors know the work that has gone into each project, and even though projects are created with scholarship and service in mind, the leadership and writing talent involved in award submissions is significant. When the chapter wins awards, we know that it has done so by team effort.”
PTK offers chances for members to engage in meaningful community service through charitable projects and student activities. The society is made up of more than 3 million members with nearly 1,300 chapters across nine nations. Eighty-four of those chapters are in North and South Carolina.
APN was chartered on April 30, 1992 with the goal to cultivate a positive image for the college through local events, such as promoting the school’s efforts at Relay for Life each year.
This article also appeared in the Sun Journal.