Roth, Shelton honored at Kansas All-State Academic Team Luncheon
March 8, 2019
On Thursday, March 7, two Cowley students, Megan Roth and Symantha Shelton, were honored in Topeka for their outstanding accomplishments at the 24th Annual Kansas All-State Academic Team luncheon sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa and the Kansas Association of Community College Trustees.
Cowley College resident, Dr. Dennis C. Rittle; vice president of Academic affairs, Dr. Michelle Schoon; Board of Trustees member, Nancy Burger; Phi Theta Kappa Advisors, Deborah and Scott Layton; executive director of student affairs, Jason O’Toole; the parents of the students; along with various state representatives, legislatures, and university presidents were on hand to congratulate the students. The students received an honorary medallion and certificate and a stipend for educational use, as well as a minimum of $1,000 scholarship for their transfer institutions: Fort Hays State University and Missouri State University.
To provide scholastic recognition and promote excellence at two year colleges, the State Academic Teams were introduced in 1993 as a division of the All-USA Community College Academic Team, presented by USA Today and sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa and Follett Higher Education Group. Students competed in the fall through an extensive application process and were selected based on their academic achievement, leadership and service.
The students were honored at Cowley in the Induction Ceremony and Academic Team Celebration on February 24. Photos of the student will remain in Galle Johnson hall for the duration of the academic year, then their names will move to a plaque honoring all those chosen since 1993.
The keynote speaker for the day was Dr. Brian Black, Human Resources and Environmental, Health and Safety Senior Site Leader for Spirit AeroSystems. In a rousing speech, Dr. Black told the academic team that they should be proud because they “dared to dream and now have achieved.” He spoke of his own past when he was told that he was “not college material.” Dr. Black said that it was because of the encouragement from his TRIO program that he went anyway. “[Students] … are standing on the shoulders of those who came before you.” He told the students that they must become the dream keepers and “beat … drums” for those who come after them now and that they must stand for justice and equal opportunity because too many have been told they are not college material.
Phi Theta Kappa is the largest honor society in higher education with 1285 chapters in all 50 states and eight sovereign nations and has been designated the “official honor society for two-year colleges” by the American Association of Community Colleges. Students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher are invited to join after completing 12 hours at the community college.