By Alana Dutson
On March 10, 22 students commemorated their induction into the Theta Chi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). PTK is a two year honor society that acknowledges academic excellence among college students and focuses on scholarship, leadership, service and fellowship as their hallmarks.
As room 2142 began to fill up, students in the first three rows began to fidget and look around the room while they sat waiting. The primarily student led ceremony occurs twice a year to welcome new PTK members.
“It’s nerve-wracking when you have to do new stuff but it’s always fun. There’s always someone behind you cheering you on and telling you ‘you can do it, you’ll do it, you’ll get it’ and once you achieve that and you see that you did it yourself or with the help of others, you’re like ‘ok, that wasn’t so bad, I think I can do this,’” said Roxy Resendiz-Garcia, President of Theta Chi.
Members are encouraged to participate in Theta Chi activities to build their scholarship, leadership, service and fellowship skills.
“I enjoy watching the students grow. They come in, some of them very shy, very reserved, they don’t have any leadership experience, they don’t have any good public speaking experience,” said Jeff Wooters, a PSC biology professor and PTK adviser. “Just watching them grow and mature in their leadership skills and public speaking and being more business-like, that’s the part that I enjoy the most.”
Dr. Brian Rucker, a history, language and philosophy professor at PSC, and the guest speaker at the induction ceremony began with “They said I had two hours, so about after an hour and a half you might want to filter out,” and the entire room burst out in laughter knowing the entire ceremony is less than two hours long.
As students and families began filing out, they were invited to take pictures in front of the Theta Chi banner and join in a fellowship reception set up in the back of the room.
While sitting with her family, Tara Farley, a new inductee and Vice President of History and Procedures for Theta Chi, explains why she decided to join PTK.
“I wanted to join some kind of club so that I could maybe make some friends in college while I’m here,” said Farley. “PTK is a lot more involved with each other, more than any other clubs and we all have one thing in common, we are all focused on academic success.”
After 24 years as a PTK adviser, as well as a PTK alumni, Wooters would like students to heed his advice about joining. “I tell people not to let excuses get in the way of not joining, there’s lots of excuses you can come up with but really there’s an answer to every one of them. I hear people all the time that tell me ‘well, I wish I would’ve joined’ but I never hear people tell me ‘well, I joined and it was a waste of time,’” said Wooters.
“It’s the connections that you make with other people. People join for various reasons, they want to get a gold seal on their diploma, or they want to qualify for a scholarship but I think the thing that surprises them, if they get involved, is all the really good friendships they form through the organization,” said Wooters.
Dr. Rucker ended his speech with a reminder to the students. “Don’t feel bad if you need to ask for advice…there is no such thing as a stupid question, except the question you never ask,” said Rucker.
“You’ve got your whole lives ahead of you, you already have proved your success by just being here and being inducted in this honor society. That is a great honor, be proud of it and remember: you are just starting out, there’s great things ahead of you, history is full of them and the future will be full of you. So good luck on your next step forward,” said Rucker.
To become a member of PTK you need a 3.5 GPA and need to have completed 12 college credits. For more information about PTK and Theta Chi, you can attend the weekly meeting in building 17, room 1707 on Mondays at 3 p.m., go to facebook.com/thetachiptk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.