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Angelina College Phi Theta Kappa earns Five-Star rating

LUFKIN, March 26, 2013-- Angelina College’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter recently earned a Five-Star rating from the PTK international organization, the AC group’s highest rating in 17 years.

Benetha Jackson, AC instructor and PTK sponsor, said the group has come close over the past few years before finally achieving the top rating this year.

“It takes a lot of effort from the students to achieve this honor. We’ve achieved two-, three- and four-star ratings, but this is the first time in a long time we’ve earned the five-star rating,” Jackson said. “There’s a long list of criteria designed to get the chapter involved in the campus, in the region, and internationally. What held us back the past few years was not being able to write a hallmark, which is an essay. It takes a lot of time to research and write, and we just haven’t had students who had the time to put something like that together. This year, we did it.”

Jackson said the subject of the hallmark was retired NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz, known for his work as the director of Mission Control’s efforts to save the Apollo 13 crew. Amanda Rushing, PTK Vice-President, was able to interview Kranz and discovered a connection to community colleges.

“We were trying to find a link between Technology/Workforce and the academic part of our school,” Jackson said. “Amanda interviewed Mr. Kranz, and what we learned was that the original astronauts didn’t have degrees. They were farm boys. Those who did have degrees had community college degrees. It was only after the fact, when NASA made some changes, that those men went back to complete university degrees. They liked farm boys because those men knew how to build and perform problem-solving skills. The original employees of NASA had to be able to do that because none of it existed before. Everyone involved had to know welding, building and things like that.

“So there’s this big connection we found between technology/workforce and community colleges.”

Jackson said Angelina College currently boasts more than 300 members of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges. Members must attain a 3.5 grade-point average with a minimum of 12 hours. Benefits include adding membership to a collegiate honor society to a resume, along with numerous scholarship opportunities from universities for those students wishing to continue their pursuit of higher degrees.

PHOTO: Pictured are (L-R) AC PTK officers Yasming Saiia, Samantha Wiley (president) and Amanda Rushing (vice president). Not pictured: Clifton Herring. (AC Press photo)

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