Forest Park PTK Chapter Grows with New Inductees
Tekisha Blue has spent her adulthood as the supporter and caregiver of others, making certain those she loved had what they needed and more.
Now, at age 41, she has started to take the lead in her own life and explore what brings her happiness. She’s in her second year at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park in the culinary arts program and wants to eventually open a community center in the Baden neighborhood of St. Louis. It would include a community garden and food trucks to help provide healthy options to an area that has few.
Her involvement with the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society chapter at Forest Park has provided her a boost.
“It means the world to me,” Blue said. “I’ve always been on the back burner. Joining PTK, they’re kind of pushing me out there into the leadership role and learning more about giving back. It’s just amazing.”
Blue joined the honor society’s Xi Epsilon chapter during an induction ceremony on Nov. 19. The group, which saw its active participation numbers plummet during the 2019-2020 school year because of the pandemic and lack of in-person classes, inducted 46 new members to the organization during the 2021 calendar year. The rebound has allowed the group to host several events and activities for its members.
Founded in 1918, Phi Theta Kappa is the oldest and largest honor society serving two-year colleges around the world. The society rewards high-achieving students and provides scholarships for continued studies as well as opportunities to develop leadership, problem solving, project planning, team building, effective communication and conflict resolution skills.
The November event in the Student Center cafeteria included a keynote address from Tamala Turner, coordinator for the student assistance program at STLCC-Forest Park who was inducted into the Xi Epsilon chapter while a student at the College. The chapter also recognized its current slate of officers:
- Zoraya Piedra, chapter president and executive officer of leadership
- Adelaide Robinson-Nunnelly, vice president of scholarship and service
- Leah Hodges, vice president of fellowship and executive officer for internal membership
- Aissata Kamara, vice president of fellowship and executive officer for external membership
“Inducting new members means the Phi Theta Kappa family is growing,” said Piedra, a senior at McKinley Classical Leadership Academy who is enrolled at STLCC through the Early College program. “Being able to share this experience with them is a great honor because we can learn and grow as scholars together.
"Having new people involved in Phi Theta Kappa means that new ideas will be shared, different skills and attributes will be welcomed, and most importantly there will be different perspectives and voices,” Piedra added. That is something we want to embrace here at Phi Theta Kappa."
The chapter also recognized Sharon Fox, an instruction librarian and coordinator for the Center for Teaching and Learning at Forest Park, as an honorary member.
Sandra Arumugam-Osburn, Ed.D, the organization’s sponsor, said the move to in-person meetings and activities have allowed the chapter to blossom this year. The members have not only worked next to each other, they have also learned about each other and shared the same experiences better than they were able to do so during the height of the pandemic.
It also provides members an opportunity to be around people from diverse backgrounds, experiences and interests.
“Many of the organizations that we have here on campus are unique to a certain field or a certain discipline,” she said. “The unique thing about Phi Theta Kappa is that it’s not that. It’s just a group of scholars who are interested in leadership, fellowship, service and scholarship. Participation in Phi Theta Kappa allows our high-achieving students to learn more about themselves and learn more about how they can contribute to their community.”