CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Phi Theta Kappa members Joel Combs, left, Stacey Richter, second from left, and Misty Padilla, right, talk with an interested student Fanghsuan Huang, second from right, at a recent student orientation for the honor society.
When Clovis Community College Phi Theta Kappa chapter’s faculty advisor J.R. Richter walked out of the honor society’s annual convention with one award last year, he and his wife Stacey made a promise.
“We will not only get one award again,” Richter said.
A group of students and the Richters spent the next year reviving CCC’s chapter of PTK.
This year, the chapter garnered 13 awards at the regional convention held in Albuquerque the first weekend in March.
Phi Theta Kappa is a non-profit honor society for two-year college students. The society provides scholarships, leadership and service training.
A chapter of the society started at CCC in 1990 and was active until about 1998. For several years, the membership dropped off and the chapter was less and less active.
“Our main focus over the last year was to build up the chapter and bring it back in recognition,” Member Raine Pace said.
Pace said the group sent out invitations for the chapter with a note written by CCC President John Neibling and placed several posters around the campus.
“We want to get back into the community’s eyes,” Pace said.
The group took a step toward community awareness by participating in the annual Trek for Trash event in Clovis last year.
Pace, a nursing student, said the longer she has been a member of the group, the closer the group has become.
“The longer I’ve been here, the people have become my family,” she said. “They provide support for what we’re all doing and can give advice.”
The chapter is currently enrolling new members. To be eligible, a student must have a 3.5 cumulative grade-point average and 12 hours of associate degree work.
The deadline to join and participate in an April 6 induction ceremony is March 27. Enrollment is available until May 13. Another enrollment period will be opened in the fall, J.R. Richter said. Membership applications can be filled out in paper or online. A membership fee of $60 is required. Richter said some students can qualify for a $45 scholarship toward their membership fee.
Joel Combs, a graphic design and media production student, was elected regional vice president for central New Mexico at the regional convention after being a PTK member for six months.
“I love it,” he said of the society. “There are many opportunities afforded to meet like-minded, intelligent people.”
Combs also said he enjoys the many opportunities for personal and professional development available through PTK.
PTK offers a program called Competitive Edge, which provides professional development and professional assistance online. The society also offers discounts to its members and memberships to two websites which can help two-year students find a four-year college to transfer credits. The websites are collegefish.org and scholarships.ptk.org.
Member David Burke, a legal studies student, said it’s challenging to be the chapter vice president, be a student and have a full time job but it’s worth it.
“It’s the expansion and networking. And it’s not just around campus but also in the community,” he said.
Being around other students is something he enjoys also.
“As a non-traditional student, I spend most of my time in online classes. PTK has given me an opportunity to meet other students and make friends,” Burke said. “We’ve got them from all walks of life.”
The society has several faculty advisors, which Systems and Networking Specialist James Saldana said is intentional.
“We want to have different advisors from broader areas,” Saldana said. “There are more advisors to split up responsibilities and provides good access to the students.”
The society’s next meeting is 5:30 p.m. March 25 in Room 405 at CCC.
To join: PTK@clovis.edu and 769-4904