Twenty students inducted into honor society

Academic Affairs Vice President Felix Aquino challenged 20 newly inducted members of the Phi Theta Kappa academic honor society to make learning a lifetime commitment.

A City University of New York graduate, Aquino served as a guest speaker at the ceremony, held on campus April 29.

“Remember, some of us are aces and kings, some of us are twos and threes,” he said. “But even with twos and threes, you can get a full house.”

Phi Theta Kappa was established in 1918 by two-year college presidents in Missouri, said Chapter Adviser Charles W. Myrick, business and economics professor. The organization now has members in all 50 states of the U.S. and other countries.

“Phi Theta Kappa is the largest honor society of higher education in the entire world, and is only for two-year colleges,” Myrick said.

He said in order to qualify for membership, students must have above a 3.5 GPA, have completed at least 12 hours and have OCCC classes.

New 2011-2012 officers were introduced and made their pledge to the society, as well as to new members: Heather Pemberton, president; Landa McClure, vice president of scholarship; Susan Atnip, The Leadership Council representative; Christopher Camacho, vice president of public relations; Karen Perea, secretary; and Joyce Stiehler, archivist.

Family members watched as the students were called individually to turn on their candle and make their pledge to Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

Phi Theta Kappa President Heather Pemberton said she looks forward to next year.

“I’m very excited to offer my leadership skills and to assist our community in promoting education,” Pemberton said.

Another Phi Theta Kappa member said she is proud to be a member of the organization.

“It’s going to open lots of doors and provide me with opportunities,” said student Lori Steen.

Both agree that they’ve worked hard to earn the right to be Phi Theta Kappa members. For Steen, it is hard to make the right decisions as a mother of two and a married woman.

“You either go to the circus, or study for a test coming up,” Steen said. “Family has been a great support system, because they understand I can’t do everything all the time, because I am trying to work hard.”

Steen said she wants to be a good example for her children, showing that people are recognized for their hard work.

Pemberton put it another way.

“Do I want to go home and get caught up on ‘Criminal Minds’ and watch that every day, or do I want to take my time and my skills to better my community?” Pemberton said.

“Phi Theta is something that employers look at,” Pemberton said. “They consider that you’ve work hard to get where you are.”

Myrick said the six officers are elected every spring.

He said the four hallmarks of Phi Theta Kappa are; fellowship, scholarship, service and leadership.

Twenty inductees were introduced to the society: Kaileen Graypor, Gayla Atkins, Tina Ohler, Lisette Roosa, Kelly Stone, Toby Sullivan, Mary Newcome-Hatch, Timothy Jackson, Taylor Aldridge, Twila Jones, Ashley Ponton, Lori Steen, Debra Clayton, Pamela Whetsell, Susan Atnip, Landa McClure, Joyce Stiehler, Heather Pemberton, Jobelyn Dorwin and Heather Sower.

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