Jones College’s PTK Honor Society earns top awards at Regional & International conferences

ELLISVILLE – Jones College’s Rho Sigma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society captured for the first time in recent history, some top honors at the regional and international conventions. Perhaps earning for the first time ever, this year’s chapter of honor society students took home the award for the Most Distinguished College Project in the Mississippi/Louisiana Regional competition. JC’s Project also captured a Top 10 College Project Award at the international level.

“With Jones College President, Dr. Jesse Smith’s vision, we took his idea of a teaching garden and began establishing a space in the middle of campus,” explained College Project Director, Natalie Graves of Laurel. “The goal was to get as many people on campus involved as possible, including culinary arts and horticulture students. Biology instructor, Dr. Melinda Butler also saw it as an opportunity for all students to come and learn. It’s definitely been an amazing opportunity to be a PTK Officer because it taught me leadership skills and it was fun.”

The garden is currently located outside of the Thomas H. Harris Science Building with plans to expand it and make it a continuous project. With broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, parsley and other vegetables, PTK President, Kadin Johnston hopes the idea will “grow” in the future.

“We can make a bigger garden in years to come to help provide for Jones College and the community. This ‘test run’ proved it is possible, but we want this to keep growing every year. It plays right into our agricultural roots as a college, and I hope it becomes our legacy that we made a difference,” shared Johnston.

Honors in Action Director, Chanel Evans of Pearl, led the efforts in securing a grant to provide Loving Mother’s Day Care Center of Ellisville, with new recreational equipment such as wagons and toddler-sized playhouses. The chapter’s work received a Top 3 Honors in Action Theme Category Award and a Top 10 Honors in Action Project Overall Award at the Regional conference.

“To be a part of Rho Sigma Chapter’s historic Regional and National victories is such a gift!” shared Evans. “It has truly been an honor to lead alongside some of the best and brightest in academia! Among the overarching initiatives and challenges that we have conquered together is the resounding success that accompanies collectivism.”

Additionally, Jones College’s PTK students earned a Top 10 Most Distinguished Chapter in the Region and Five Star Chapter honors at the regional conference. At the International conference with competition amongst more than 1200 chapters, Rho Sigma garnered a Top 100 Chapter and was declared to be the 44th Most Distinguished Chapter. 

“I’m happy, proud, and grateful! I am overjoyed that the hard work of our officers and members was recognized and rewarded. The college project, our campus garden will not only allow us to teach students biological concepts with hands-on activities, but it will also provide usable products for our campus community and illustrate the work that goes into producing the food that we eat. Our Honors in Action project invested in the well-being and development of young children in our area by improving their ability to play and explore, and we hope that the benefits extend beyond this point in their lives,” said PTK Advisor, Eric Shows.

The PTK Officers who led the Chapter to success include, President, Kadin Johnston of Waynesboro; Vice President of Scholarship, Davis Brown of Ellisville; Vice President of Leadership, Pablo Lopez of Waynesboro; Vice President of Service, Maria Terry of Laurel; Vice President of Fellowship, Aliyah Watts of Sandy Hook; College Project Director, Natalie Graves of Laurel; Honors in Action Director, Chanel Evans of Pearl, and Fundraising Coordinator/Treasurer, Sophia Bowden of Ellisville.