Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Honor Students & the Courage to Succeed

The Spring 2012 inductees to the Lambda Beta Chapter
of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society at MVCC.

 This fall, MVCC is enrolling more honors students than ever. We have 47 new Presidential Scholars – students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class in Oneida County and received a full-tuition scholarship to the college through the MVCC Foundation. And last spring, our Phi Theta Kappa honor society inducted the largest class ever of honors students whose grade point average was 3.5 or higher.

A new class of PTK honor society members will be honored this Wednesday, Sept. 5, at 3 p.m. in the Theater on the Utica Campus, when our Lambda Beta Chapter inducts this fall’s crop of our best and brightest. The ceremony is open to all who wish to come and be inspired by their success.

So many inspirational and courageous stories come from our non-honor students who have overcome barriers – financial, academic, language, cultural, or previous lifestyle choices that did not lead to academic success. Yet I find a similar inspirational story in the courage of our honor students – they have found the courage to succeed.

Last spring I was asked to speak at an induction ceremony of a local high school honor society. The theme was “profiles in courage.” I was struck by the poise and focus of these high school juniors and seniors and thought of myself at that age. I was inspired enough to leave my prepared notes and talk about the courage to succeed and my own profile. Usually, an honors student needs a 3.5 grade point average or higher to join an honor society. As a high school student I was on the accelerated honors track in eighth grade, but by ninth grade I went back to the regular curriculum track with a fair number of study halls versus advanced placement classes. With my 3.3 grade point average in high school, I was able to stay away from the high expectations that come with a high grade point average, but enjoyed the safety of not falling short of whatever expectations I had. Later in my undergraduate studies, I continued with a safe 3.3 grade point average that was good enough, but with a little more effort certainly could have been higher. It wasn’t until graduate school that I found the focus and determination to reach my potential – and the courage to succeed.

I think that’s why so many of our returning adult students are admitted into PTK as honor students – they know why they’re here and what they want to accomplish. And the dramatic increase in honor students coming directly to MVCC after graduating high school has prompted our attention to reinvigorate our honors program. A recent design team looked at best practices around the country, took the best of our long-standing honors program, and made recommendations to launch exciting new directions to support our ever-increasing number of honor students at MVCC. I’m excited to work with our Lambda Beta PTK chapter again this year and look forward to welcoming another class of honor students into membership this Wednesday. I hope you can join us to celebrate those with the courage to succeed.

If you have any questions, please contact me at presblog@mvcc.edu.