Every year, Phi Theta Kappa and the Office of the President of Canada College engage in a joint effort to host an event that honors 200+ local high school students that earn a 3.5 GPA or higher at their respective schools. There are five such schools in and around our area, and many of their graduates seriously take Canada into consideration in regards to furthering their educational goals.
Isaiah was placed in charge and created a team to help him when needed. He was in constant contact with the College president’s office about getting the student’s names, their medals, the food, and other logistics.
The Afternoon of Academic Excellence is always held one week before our college’s graduation, which sets it to a Friday in late may. Approximately 80 high school students RSVP’d, but we ended up receiving and honoring 130 students instead. Fortunately, Isaiah and his team planned for this and no hiccups were experienced. Add to that friends and family, we ended up packing out the entire theatre.
This was a very challenging event to plan for. Isaiah had to get the names of all students from our five satellite high schools that scored a 3.5 GPA or higher and then get invitation letters to each of them. Each student had to RSVP to their career center and then I had Phi Theta Kappa members gather them at the high schools. It was the only way, as real RSVPs would have been extremely expensive and was outside our budget, which was already generously given by the college president’s office. Then there was the logistics of food, awards, and choosing a keynote speaker. We planned months in advance and due to our diligence, the Afternoon of Academic Excellence went off perfectly and with no problems. Our college President, Tom Mohr, was incredibly pleased with both my performance, my team, and of Phi Theta Kappa.
This event is incredibly important to the surrounding high schools. The Afternoon of Academic Excellence showcases to the high school students, their parents, and the administration of the schools the high quality that has been the norm at Canada College. Everyone likes to know from time to time that they are appreciated and valued. Many of these students have the potential to be first generation college attendees. This is most likely the first time they were to receive official recognition from a college for all their hard work over the course of high school. This event provides an opportunity to show these young people how much their efforts are appreciated. The students of Phi Theta Kappa believe that success begets success, and when these students come away from this event, they will have caught a glimpse of what they are working so hard and sacrificing so much for.
Afternoon of Academic Excellence is also a great opportunity to showcase the Canada College to prospective students that may not have a very positive image of what a community college is or of the students that attend one. This may be their first and only exposure to that. This event is one of the best student recruitment programs
There is still a cultural stigma surrounding community colleges. Whenever an event like this is held and is as successful as we, the students of a community college, made it, the image of community colleges gets a little more polish than it was when these teens entered. This is the singular event of the year does a fine job to ensure that community colleges, our nation’s ‘best kept secret,’ are a little less well-kept.