ASCC PTK at National Conference
Four students in the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society recently returned from this year’s PTK Annual Convention held April 12th -14th in Nashville, Tennessee. PTK President Sophia A'asa, Vice President Marietta Lafaele, Treasurer Roseanne Felise, and Public Relations Secretary Krissie Vailolo proudly represented the Territory at the prestigious event, which attracted an estimated 4,000 Society members from across the nation and was described by the official PTK web site as “one of the largest gatherings of Phi Theta Kappans under one roof in recent history”.
“We wanted to attend this event not only to represent American Samoa,” said A’asa, “but also to learn how we can make our Alpha Epsilon Mu Chapter a Five Star Chapter, learn about more scholarship opportunities for our members, receive leadership development, and seek advice on how we can establish a PTK Alumni Association.” To pay their representatives’ way to the convention, the PTK started fundraising during the fall of last year. Their bake sales became a familiar sight on the ASCC campus, they took in a percentage of revenue from the tickets they sold for the “So You Think You Can Sing 2” competition, they sold barbecue plates, and they solicited donations of monetary support and airline miles from generous community members.
Their hard work paid off with the four representatives re-establishing American Samoa as a presence on the national PTK scene. “The highlight for me personally was carrying the American Samoa Flag in front of 4,030 people during the Opening Ceremony on April 12,” A’asa enthused, “and having everyone recognize that American Samoa's chapter was back in the game! As an entire group, our highlight was that we were able to represent ASCC amongst the brightest students that community colleges around the nation had to offer. Furthermore, we were able to bring back scholarship opportunities and contacts for our members and the students of ASCC who wish to continue their education abroad.”
The ASCC students networked with other PTK chapters, trading ideas on community involvement, becoming a Five Start Chapter, and starting an association for PTK alumni. They also had the pleasant surprise of discovering their own niche in PTK history. “One of our regional coordinators, Charlotte Toguchi, mentioned that ASCC's PTK Chapter is one of the earliest chapters chartered within the South Pacific Region, and we have Mr. Jim Sutherland to thank for that,” A’asa explained.
A’asa encouraged students who think they could qualify for PTK membership to seek advice from the existing members.
“Students should be interested in the PTK because there are over $37 million worth of scholarship opportunities available to them,” she said. “Over 600 universities offer discounts and scholarships for PTK students. Furthermore, just being a member makes you feel like you belong to something greater, and helps you strive to be the best you can be. For example, there is this program called ‘Competitive Edge’ on the PTK website which is a self-development plan at one's own pace. Only members can access it, and they can start at any time. It helps you develop skills that you want to obtain for a certain job, as well as life-long skills like critical thinking and so forth. There are just so many benefits and they can all be viewed on HYPERLINK "http://www.ptk.org" \t "_blank" www.ptk.org.”
A’asa acknowledged the much-appreciated assistance of many ASCC faculty, staff and administrators, businesses and community members. “Without their support, we would not have been able to represent American Samoa at the Convention,” she said.
Anyone seeking additional information on the local chapter of the PTK can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact advisors Elvis Zodiacal or To’aiva Fiame-Tago by calling 699-9155.