Thursday, May 15, 2014

INTERNATIONAL ELECTION AND TOPIC CHOICE

by Tishara Reid

 As the Vice President for recruitment and retention of the Alpha Theta Phi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, I had the great opportunity of attending the Phi Theta Kappa International Conference, which was held in Orlando, Florida during the last week of April 2014.

      The pinnacle of leadership in Phi Theta Kappa is becoming an international officer. There are five international positions to be held, which include one president and four vice presidents. The four positions represents the four geographic locations. The international president has a number of responsibilities some of  which include, presiding over the international conference, signing all new chapter charters and representing Phi Theta Kappa at regional meetings and educational conferences. Every year, these  5 international officers are chosen by the delegate body at the annual convention and the candidates at this year’s convention were remarkable. All the members who were vying for a seat had an opportunity to campaign throughout the convention. Of all the candidates, only nine were chosen to move on to the second round. To move on to the final round, these nine finalists had to present speeches on the new honors study topic “ Frontiers and the Spirit of Exploration”.
What was interesting about this process was that the speech was not a way for candidates to sell themselves as in regular elections, but rather they had to address the topic directly and give their perspective about it. The speeches presented by the international officer candidates were not only insightful, but they allowed me to look at the topic from a totally new perspective.
      The honors study topic is chosen every two years and is used in the Honors in Action Project. The topic is usually a subject of importance to human experience in a global context. The honors study topic is a major tool for facilitating and fostering growth among chapter members.  “Frontiers and the Spirit of Exploration” is a topic that I related mostly to geographical explorations of the world until the candidates presented their perspectives of the topic. They all did a great job at incorporating this topic into their personal experiences in order to give a speech that not only related to them, but most importantly to the entire Phi Theta Kappa family and to our pursuit of success.
The most inspirational speech to me was given by Ebonee Carpenter, who was later elected as the International President. She addressed key points of her life that I could personally share and that really had a great impact on my life goals and perceptions. Being a teen mother, she experienced deep struggles raising up her son, as she had no fixed income and barely attended high school. “I realized that going back to school was the only way for me to make a better living and also provide a better future for my son who was just born” she said emotionally. She is currently attending Hillsborough Community College and strives for the best that she can achieve in all of her actions. As the president of our international chapter, I believe Ebonee will be an inspirational role model in the lives of many students including myself and others who were able to attend the PTK international conference.

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