The 2012 Phi Theta Kappa International Convention took place April 12-15 in Nashville, ,and the HCC Ybor City chapter, Alpha Beta Beta, sent members (pictured, from left) Sae Cooper, Garrett Bremer, Desiree Baldree, Tony Benitez, Cassandra Flanders, Sam Kelly, and Megan Seymour, as well as co-advisor Terry Varvil (in back). The event consisted of multiple rounds of educational forums covering topics such as Personal Decision Making, Critical Thinking, and Leading with Goals, as well as massive general sessions (with more than 4,000 attendees) featuring guest speakers such as Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, and Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Outliers.
One of the most anticipated events of the convention was the Hallmark Awards Gala. Having won two Hallmark Awards at the Florida Regional Convention in Jacksonville, the Ybor City team stood a chance to win in those categories again at the international level — and indeed it did! The chapter won a Distinguished Chapter Officer Team Award, and member Desiree Baldree won a Distinguished Member Award. Alpha Beta Beta was also recognized as a three-star chapter. Prior to this, the chapter had achieved only a one-star status and had not won any Hallmark Awards. This stands as a testament to the commitment of the officers, active members, and advisors and the great support of our Student Government Association. This serves also to issue a challenge to those who will carry these roles into the next school year: to achieve more and set an even higher standard for those who will come after them. The team also returned with the tools for the coming year, including insight on how to improve, ideas gleaned from peers in chapters around the globe, and possible plans on how to proceed.
The members also returned just in time to prepare for the new-member induction ceremony, held April 27 in the Ybor Room. The event featured guest speaker Dr. Shawn H. Robinson, our campus president, as well as the traditional taking of the oath and passing of the torch. An awards presentation was held for those members who were unable to receive their awards at the recent Student Excellence Awards ceremony due to their being in Nashville. More than fifty new members were inducted this spring, and the ceremony was a huge success, especially if the amount of food left over (none!) is any indication.
In the weeks since, the chapter has remained busy. New officers— President Megan Seymour, Vice President Rob Penchansky, Recording Secretary RP Ziegler, and Treasurer Jermaine Samuels — as well as several chairpersons have been installed. Plans have begun for the chapter’s Honors in Action Project and College Project, and May 18-19, the chapter participated on the HCC Ybor Team in the East Tampa Relay for Life event to raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society.
Over the summer, the chapter will keep up the pace. Four members will attend the International Honors Institute in Denver, and another four will go to the Florida Regional Honors Institute in West Palm Beach. An officer training will be held June 15, the next chapter meeting will take place June 29, and chapter members and advisors will volunteer at the Taste of Africa fundraiser June 30. To be added to the chapter’s e-mail list, please contact email@example.com.
Article written by: Desiree L. Baldree, with contributions from Jana Bielecki