Facebook pixel Forest Park PTK Chapter Honored

Forest Park PTK Chapter Honored

Forest Park PTK chapter celebrates honor at Heartland Region Conference.

It’s been a challenging year for St. Louis Community College at Forest Park’s Xi Epsilon chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges. It’s also been incredibly rewarding. 

The group of students in the honor society have dealt with the loss of family members, the trauma of a school shooting and repeated illnesses that have forced different members to step in to cover for others. Through it all, the chapter was recently recognized as the fourth-most Distinguished Chapter at the PTK Heartland Region Convention. 

“We couldn’t have done this without each other,” said Jalise Grimes, president of the chapter and an Early College student from Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience which shares a building with Central Visual and Performing Arts High School where a gunman killed a student and teacher in October. “We have shown a tremendous amount of strength. We lost a couple of family members, we have all been sick, in and out of the hospital, having surgeries. 

“We faced so many obstacles this year that I’m shocked we were able to pull off as much as we did.” 

That togetherness began at the annual international PTK conference known as Catalyst, which was held in Denver in 2022. The trip by several of Forest Park’s current members allowed many of this year’s officers a chance to get to know each other and befriend one another. It brought together a group that otherwise, but for a couple of people, didn’t even know one another. 

Getting recognized as a five-star chapter and the fourth-most distinguished chapter at the regional meeting in March came as a surprise for Grimes and advisor Sandra Osburn, Ed.D. They were pleased with the work they had done during the period under review, but they also knew there are many strong chapters in the region, which includes schools in Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. (Until this year, Missouri was its own region.)

“I’m really proud of them,” said Osburn, who received a third-place recognition in the Paragon Awards for her accomplishments as an advisor within their first three years. “To come in fourth out of 67 schools is a real accomplishment. They worked hard this year, particularly because they had to present at a regional conference, and they had to lead an interactive session with faculty and administrators. Despite the challenges, they did it successfully. These students put in a lot of work.”

The judges took in the body of work a chapter did during the spring semester of the 2021-2022 academic year and the first half of the current school year. That included Xi Epsilon’s Honors in Action Project in which they surveyed both students and faculty to understand why the learning methods used in kindergarten through high school are largely abandoned in favor of the traditional lecture style that college instructors typically use. 

The students presented their results both at the Missouri Community College Association convention in 2022 and to a group of faculty members at the campus. The chapter gave the groups insight and led small group discussions on how students tend to prefer the “play and learn” method in contrast to lectures. 

During spring 2022, the group created the period product drive for its College Project, in which it collected menstrual products and distributed them in bathrooms throughout the Forest Park campus so that students would have access to the items. The chapter decided to extend that work this year and hopes to keep it going in the future. 

The students have proven that a cohesive group can accomplish anything if it works together.  

“We were all able to trust each other and work through our obstacles and show up for each other when others couldn’t be there,” Grimes said. “Just having that fight helped us accomplish the things we needed to get done.” 

Back to top