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CCCC students inducted into Phi Theta Kappa

Click to enlarge CCCC students inducted into Phi Theta Kappa

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Central Carolina Community College inducted new members into its Beta Sigma Phi Chapter of the Phi ... (more)

Click to enlarge CCCC students inducted into Phi Theta Kappa

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Central Carolina Community College inducted new members into its Beta Sigma Phi Chapter of the Phi ... (more)

02.27.2014ClubsCollege & CommunityCollege GeneralStudents/Graduates

SANFORD - Academic achievement and service were celebrated Feb. 25 as Central Carolina Community College' Beta Sigma Phi Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society held its spring induction ceremony.

Phi Theta Kappa is the largest honor society in American higher education with more than two million members and 1,200 chapters in the United States, U.S. territories, Canada and Germany. In 1929, the American Association of Community Colleges recognized PTK as the official honor society for two-year colleges. The CCCC chapter sets a higher standard for membership eligibility than the national organization: a 3.7 grade point average rather than the 3.5 GPA that national requires.

CCCC graduate Jessica Cooper was the guest speaker for the event held at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center. Cooper had been one of the inaugural members of the chapter when it was chartered in 2010. She served as its president in 2012. She is now a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill, majoring in psychology.

"Everyone here has shown dedication and ability to excel," Cooper told the inductees. "Know that you have the ability to do great things. Excellence is a choice."

Cooper said that, apart from being a prestigious society that recognizes outstanding students, Phi Theta Kappa is a place, "where we are encouraged to lift one another up, to give back to those around us, perform well in the classroom, and enhance our leadership skills to accomplish great things."

Twenty-eight students joined the Beta Sigma Phi Chapter, with 18 attending the induction ceremony. Mary Cooper, of Lee County, is the chapter's current president - and Jessica's sister, making PTK a family affair. She and Koren Hailey, the chapter's Harnett vice president, described the symbols associated with Phi Theta Kappa. The name is composed of Greek words symbolizing wisdom, aspiration and purity. A white rose lay on the table, symbolizing purity, beauty of life, and intellectual associations, while the oak and laurel leaves on the PTK emblem represent stability, character, achievement, and success.

Cooper and Hailey then lit candles from a golden candle representing knowledge, and then lit the small candles held by each of the inductees. All recited the Oath of Membership to uphold the standards of Phi Theta Kappa and signed their name in the membership book. Chapter co-advisor Mike Neal, CCCC Student Activities director, officially welcomed them into the society.

"It's an honor to be in Phi Theta Kappa, learning to excel in education, leadership and service," inductee Katie Wilson, of Lee County, said following the ceremony. "I plan to be a teacher and it seems very relevant to my field - teaching is leadership."

CCCC had its own honor society, Alpha Theta Tau, from 1986 until the chartering of the Phi Theta Kappa chapter in 2010. The idea for joining PTK was brought to the college when Dr. Bud Marchant became president in 2008.

In its few years of existence, the college's Phi Beta Sigma Chapter has garnered a number of prestigious recognitions from PTK, according to chapter co-advisor Mark Hall. These include the Five-Star ranking - the highest ranking a chapter can receive for excellence, and awards at regional PTK conferences. It has also reached out to the community with service projects, such as assisting food banks and shelters.

"Every year, it gets better," Marchant said. "That we achieved a 5-Star ranking in a short time is remarkable. It is a testimony to the students and to the advisors, Mike Neal and Mark Hall."

The 2014 spring inductees are: Adam Akers, Noelle Barber, Ryan Belk, Sandra Cain, Zachary Crowson, Christina Hanby, Michael Hejny, Denise Hernandez, Roshell Humphrey, Debra O'Connell, Nicholas Snouwaert, Toni Szabo, and Katie Wilson, all of Sanford; Veronica Arellano, of Broadway; Jamie Chance, Allison Eyring, Terrencia McLean, and Vincent Tricarico, Kristen Tully, all of Lillington; Jacob Zimmerman, of Cameron; Amber Irving, of Siler City; Suzanne Hoyle, of Greensboro; Linda Pereira Chapel Hill; Caleb Davis, Alyssa Fountain, and Andrew Tate, all of Apex; Sahra Hashemi, of Cary; and Natalie Schmadeke, of Fuquay-Varina.

Chapter officers are: President Mary Cooper, of Lee County; Vice-President-Lee Eric Brinkman, Vice President-Harnett Koren Hailey; Treasurer Seth Tom, of Lee County; and Recording Secretary Nathalia Cruz, of Lee County.

For more information about Phi Theta Kappa at CCCC, visit the college's Web site,, click on "A-Z Index," then "P" for "Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society."