Wednesday, April 20, 2011

MCC-Longview student feels inspired by Phi Theta Kappa national convention

Through the eyes of our students: Oscar Aguilar and several other MCC-Longview PTK members attended the 93rd international PTK convention in Seattle, Washington. Oscar asked if he could share what the experience meant to him and his peers. This is what he wrote:

Phi Theta Kappa 93rd international convention officially began on April 7 when Dr. Rod A. Risley, the Executive Director of Phi Theta Kappa, set the tone and spirit of the convention by challenging students from all around America to become scholars so they may learn how to lead and serve. His words constantly echoed in the minds of the of the audience present; especially, when Dr. Risly invited the students to be the leaders who galvanize people around them.

Dr. Risley’s words prepared PTK members for a convention whose main focus would be to ingrain tremendous importance of scholarly research in the mind of the students.

For this purpose, several educational forums were held during three days, in which PTK members explored in-depth techniques to approach scholarly research, ways to develop and fulfill a research project, and, most importantly, the importance of reflecting once the project had taken it final form.

Also, the convention instilled the paramount importance of scholarship in the mind of the 3,600 Phi Theta Kappa members that attended the convention; we heard from renowned individuals who served as key-note speakers.

Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, lectured students on the issue of skepticism. He invited Phi Theta Kappans to develop critical thinking skills and become educated in science, so they could have a healthy skepticism; that is, they could learn to ask the right questions.

Paul Loeb, famous author and activist, motivated students to become engaged in the ongoing current word issues and to bring about social change. Also, he encouraged PTK members to be persistent on their academic research as a mean to find truth.

Hilary Pennington, representative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, encouraged Phi Theta Kappa members to Complete and graduate at their respective community college, for graduating would not only speak highly of their commitment to education but also would ensure that the transfer process to a four-year institution be much more beneficial for them as students.

Instilling scholarship within the minds of the students was the core of the 93rd Phi Theta Kappa International Convention, yet to promote fellowship among the members was of great importance as well.

For the group of student that represented Longview college, the experience strengthened the bonds among them and nurtured them as student by means of discussing and conversing about the several issues explored at the convention.

Likewise, Kappa Tau members, Phi Theta Kappa Longview’s chapter, acquired knowledge of different activities concerning scholarship, personal finances and college completion that they themselves are very eager to share with the student body at Longview's campus.

Kappa Tau members had the opportunity of dining with Dr. Grogan, MCC-Longview president, as a way to celebrate the Shirley B. Gordon Awards Of Distinction conferred to him for his outstanding contribution to the student body and Phi Theta Kappa. This experience certainly impacted on Kappa Tau members, for they would feel now more confident when approaching administration staff at Longview.

Dr. Grogan commented the following about his award:

“ I felt very honor and very humble by actually being nominated by the chapter. I really feel that it’s an honor I share with a number of other people in campus. Dean (Janet) Cline, for example, who works with the advisor like Margaret [Berter].”

“Probably the best honor I can receive, because it comes from a student organization.”

As students we had the opportunity to grow in the ideals of scholarship, and we also exposed ourselves to a situation in which our current ideas and perceptions about education were challenged, and more likely transformed.

For this one student, the experience may be described as enlightening.

Oscar Aguilar is originally from El Salvador. He came to the U.S. three years ago to start a new life and  decided the best way to do so was by attending college. Oscar already graduated from Longview's English as a Second Language program and is now working to attain an associates in engineering and an associates in arts prior to attending  a 4-year school.

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