Kappa Tau officers from left to right: Kelly Lucas-V.P. of Correspondence, Oscar Aguilar - V.P. of Public Relations, Alex Balmer - V.P of Service, Nicholas Franklin - V.P. of Leadership, Cathy Baker - Chapter's President, Rikki Atkinson - V.P. of Fundraising, Robert Gaines- V.P. at Large
PTK Vice President Oscar Aguilar and his fellow PTK officers attended the Missouri leadership conference in Columbia this past month. Here is what Oscar had to report after the breathtaking experience with other PTK chapters from around the state:
Friday, July 15, a group of seven Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) members and two advisors from Longview’s PTK Chapter, Kappa Tau, headed to Columbia to attend the Missouri regional Honors In Action (HIA) conference held at Steven's college.
Each year, the community college honor society, Phi Theta Kappa, invites honor students from two-year colleges in Missouri to participate in a weekend seminar concerning HIA. At this time, Phi Theta Kappa honor students are exploring the theme “Democratization of Information: power, promise, and peril”
The purpose of the seminar is to familiarize students with the current HIA theme, the scholarly nature thereof, and to pragmatically expose the students to the process such an academic endeavor undergoes.
At the conference, thirteen Phi Theta Kappa chapters representing thirteen different colleges were present. A total of 98 attendees, of whom 90 were honor students, were part of the weekend-long experience. Kappa Tau, Longview’s PTK chapter, was represented by the seven students, each of whom holds currently a chapter office, and two advisors to the chapter, Margaret Berter and Jan Rog.
In the weeks prior to the conference, it was rumored that the experience was one of academic endeavor in nature, and, also, that is was to be quite an intensive and exhausting experience. The conference itself proved the rumor to be truth.
The Honor In Action convention began with a warm welcome in the hands of the regional team of PTK officers, and it was followed by a presentation that introduced and described the body of an Honor in Action Project.
Afterwards, the heart of the conference began, Honors In Action. As a mean to ingrain in the students’ minds the subtle process characteristic of an Honor In Action project, the organizers had all the members regroup as to form new mock chapters. Then, each new simulated chapter was given the arduous task of experience, throughout re-enactment, the developmental process an actual chapter goes through in a one year period, and, as the pinnacle of such development, each mock chapter was to present a well developed HIA project. The time to fulfill the aforementioned requirements was 24 hours.
To successfully accomplish such task, Phi Theta Kappa members had to overcome several hindrances that arose due to the nature of the mock chapter exercise. The students had to acquaint with each other, and they had to find a manner in which they could cooperate together, so they could set the goals needed to develop the simulated chapter.
Also, PTK members engage eagerly in discussions concerning the HIA topic “Democratization of Information: power, promise and peril” . As well, PTK honor students had to envision a way in which their respective Honors in Action project could benefit the society at large.
From the establishment of roles within the mock chapter to the finalization of the HIA project, Phi Theta Kappa members had to practice different roles leadership roles such as teamwork, task delegation, scholarly inquiry, and so forth.
By Saturday’s late evening, the different mock chapters had turned in their respective HIA projects, and the minds of the honor students were put momentarily at ease.
However, the academic endeavor had not ended in finishing the HIA project. On the third and last day, the honor student were given feedback on their evaluated Honor In Action project. Surprisingly, the true richness of the HIA seminar laid in the critique itself, for it was in the realization of the errors committed that the honor students could strengthen their knowledge about Honors In Action and the process of scholarly research.
The Honor In Action Conference was a means to have Phi Theta Kappa honor students grow as scholars, and it was a method to have them practice the four hallmarks of PTK: scholarship, leadership, fellowship, and service.
Indeed, the Honors in Action conference was quite the exhausting experience. Nevertheless, students left with a sense of higher understanding, and the joy of the many new friendships acquired.