A year and a half ago, during the November 2020 Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society induction ceremony, Piedmont Community College (PCC) President, Dr. Pamela G. Senegal, challenged the current and newly inducted members to strive for success and earn five-star status for the College’s local chapter.

The students responded and achieved this set goal by February 2021. Then, during the summer of 2021, PCC’s PTK Co-Advisor, Dr. Don Miller, was awarded the honor of five-star advisor. Now, almost a year later, the College’s honor society chapter continues to strive for excellence as they reach five-star status for the second year in a row. Miller said this achievement starts with a strong work ethic and passion for service from the students.

“I’m so very proud that PCC’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa once again achieved five stars,” Miller said. “This accomplishment shows the dedication and hard work that our students are willing to put in to maintain the level of greatness that we aim for as a PTK chapter and as a college. It also displays a cycle of excellence that I’m confident will continue for years to come for our PCC community and the local communities we serve to benefit from.”

For more than 110 years, the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society has helped millions of high-achieving college students reach their full potential. PCC’s chapter proves that students continue to make great strides in the classroom and the community through their Honors in Action plan.

Honors in Action (HIA) combines academic research, problem solving, and action-oriented service to address real-world challenges in our communities. Students gain job-related experience while creating lasting impacts in their communities as they engage in HIA.

During the 2020-2021 school year, PCC’s PTK students focused on ‘Technology and Education,’ which included Chromebook training for Caswell County students and parents. This project earned $1,000 from the international Phi Theta Kappa Honors in Action Grant Program to help market and host the training where PTK members shared tips on using the school-issued Chromebooks more effectively. As part of the grant funding, participants, and others from the local K-12 school system, were given free jump drives.

“Our next Honors in Action Plan will be discussed toward the end of the semester in late April or early May,” Miller said. But throughout the 2021-2022 school year, our students focused on ways they could benefit PCC, its students and employees, and the surrounding community.”

Rather than focusing on tech, this year, the chapter focused more on the natural side of things and is working to build a garden and greenhouse to grow fresh fruits and vegetables to donate to local food pantries. This compounds with the success they found during the ‘Collegiate Hunger Challenge’ statewide competition, where they earned third place behind East Carolina University and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Throughout the competition, held during the Fall 2021 semester, members of PCC’s PTK collected 230 pounds of food, assembled 21 care packages, and associated more than 100 Food Lion MVP cards. They were awarded $3,000 to continue fighting food insecurity in their service communities which they are using to donate to local charities and buy Food Lion gift cards for students in need.

As the school year begins to wrap up, with spring graduation coming in May, Miller said the honor society chapter plans to continue what they have been doing: serving the community.

“Our first priority is to finish building the greenhouse on campus so we can grow produce to sell as part of a fundraiser, but we’ll also reserve plenty to donate to our area partners,” Miller said. “We also have a service project that we’re planning for the Christian Help Center in Roxboro, next year’s Honors in Action project, and we plan to participate in the Collegiate Hunger Challenge in the fall with the goal to surpass our totals from 2021.”

The next class of inductees will be recognized on April 8 during a ceremony led by current members. To join Phi Theta Kappa, students must be invited based on their college grade point average. A one-time membership fee is required, and the PCC Foundation assists with paying a portion. For those interested in contributing to the PTK fund to support these devoted students, contact Beth Townsend at (336) 322-2104 or  beth.townsend@piedmontcc.edu.

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