Honor Societies Helping Local Elementary Students
College honor societies, if they aren’t vigilant, can fall into a trap of pursuing an entirely inward focus and failing to share their talents, ideas, and resources. Mid-South Community College, however, is blessed with two honors organizations that are committed to recognizing and addressing external needs for the betterment of their community.
Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society of two-year colleges, and Sigma Kappa Delta, the national English honor society for two-year institutions, are working together to help a local second-grade class start the 2014-15 school year in a great way. PTK has been a mainstay on our campus since 1997 and has participated in numerous benevolent efforts. SKD is new to our institution this year, but it has embraced PTK’s “honors in action” approach to its role on our campus and in our community.
Beginning this month, the organizations “adopted” Emily Stewart’s students at Weaver Elementary School in West Memphis and plan to support and encourage them throughout the year. The assistance started in earnest on Aug. 12 when society members and advisors hand-delivered 25 supply-filled backpacks that will come as a very pleasant surprise to highly-impressionable students when they walk into the classroom on Monday.
Stewart, who is beginning her seventh year at Weaver, told our MSCC folks that the supplies will provide numerous benefits for her students, not the least of which is meeting basic classroom needs. As a veteran teacher, she knows that some, if not most, of her children will come to school without many of the items that a lot of us would take for granted. In addition to meeting basic needs, Mid-South’s efforts will allow Stewart to engage her students in more innovative and fun activities, and we all know how important that is to the learning process.
Holly Carlo, president of both honor societies (and an MSCC employee), suggested the school-supply project this summer, and students and staff jumped in with both feet to help. Her reasoning was simple but exquisitely flawless: “These children need to know that the community cares about their future and that they will have what they need to succeed in life.”
What makes this effort even more satisfying for us is that Mrs. Stewart is a product of Mid-South Community College. She came to our institution in fall 2002 as Emily Taylor and took her final class with us in summer 2005. Stewart earned more than 70 college-credit hours on our campus before completing her four-year degree and returning to Crittenden County to teach in the public school system. We’re proud to claim her and her students for the upcoming school year.
The participation of our honor societies and contributors to this project is truly commendable. Many of us wonder what meaningful act we can perform to help our community, and this initiative is a great example of something that will bring smiles to children’s faces as well as better instructional opportunities. The young people of our region face enough challenges without tackling second grade (or any grade) without basic supplies.
Phi Theta Kappa and Sigma Kappa Delta members will continue to raise funds to support Stewart’s students throughout the year. If you feel compelled to help, email Carlo at firstname.lastname@example.org.