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VC's Phi Theta Kappa chapter ranks among top in state

March 30, 2013 at 10:01 p.m.
Updated March 29, 2013 at 10:30 p.m.

Zeta Gamma members attending a ceremony are, front row, from left: Anne Campbell, Toni Marek and Marisela Campos. Back row: Kevin Flowers Jr., Zeke Dierlam, Isaac Salazar, Dawn Dierlam and Matt Wiley.

Victoria College's Zeta Gamma chapter of Phi Theta Kappa has earned a top rating from the organization for its area, state and national participation. Additionally, the chapter was named among the top 18 of 88 Texas chapters during the Texas Regional Convention in March.

Phi Theta Kappa is the honor society of two-year colleges and was founded by community college presidents. The international headquarters in Mississippi sets levels of engagement that encompasses student excellence at the chapter, college, community, regional and international levels in a five-step process known as stars.

"In 2010, Zeta Gamma earned four stars for the first time, and in 2011 and 2012, the chapter earned five stars," said Matt Wiley, VC faculty sponsor and associate mathematics professor. "The society's hallmarks of scholarship, service, leadership and fellowship guide the actions of each chapter as they participate in these activities. Zeta Gamma allows Victoria College students something special. It lets them see that their best is the best - even on a global stage."

Throughout the last three years, the Zeta Gamma chapter of Phi Theta Kappa has experienced tremendous growth both in numbers and in student success, Wiley said.

Zeta Gamma has also participated in every activity that has been hosted by the Texas Region. Texas honors, Texas leadership and District V meetings are all events where the chapter members and officers have gained valuable experience running workshops, learning leadership skills from the headquarters' award-winning leadership textbook and performing public speaking.

"Our students get to see things that are different," Wiley said. "From a first-time flyer waking up and realizing that a Phi Theta Kappa conference is the farthest they've ever been from home to speaking in front of 500 people."

Zeta Gamma also puts on workshops that impact student learning and study habits, volunteers at Empty Bowls and works with VC's Student Activities Office to highlight the fact that students are not just numbers in a classroom but people whose lives are positively impacted by education, Wiley said.

The Victoria College chapter will be attending the International Convention in San Jose, Calif., in April, and VC student Toni Marek will be running for international vice president, Division II.

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