Provided by CCRI

A month after taking home several noteworthy awards at the Phi Theta Kappa New England Region Spring Convention, the Community College of Rhode Island’s PTK Pi Omicron chapter continued its success earlier this month with a strong showing at the PTK Catalyst 2021 International Convention Hallmark Awards ceremony.

PTK is the national honor society for two-year colleges with more than 3.5 million members worldwide, providing opportunities for students to grow as scholars and leaders.

At this year’s international convention, CCRI earned designation as one of PTK’s Top 10 chapters out of approximately 1,300 chapters worldwide in addition to Five Star Chapter Recognition. Chapter President Alicia Vallette of West Warwick, who was recently named New England Regional President for 2021-22, was awarded the distinction of Distinguished Regional Officer for her services to the New England region and PTK as a whole. CCRI also earned a Distinguished Chapter Award in addition to its designation as a Top 100 chapter.

All told, Pi Omicron individuals and teams earned 11 awards between the regional and international competitions this year, both of which were held virtually due to the pandemic.

“I’m very proud of our students,” said CCRI English Professor and PTK Faculty Advisor Laurie Sherman. “To be the ninth-ranked chapter in the world is pretty impressive. It shows that our students are invested in this and they care. [Vallette] has been our chapter president since 2018. She’s really involved, and that goes a long way toward helping the students in understanding and caring.

“Winning all these awards is a testament to the flexibility of students, advisors, and the Office of Student Life. When the pandemic hit, we said, ‘We’ll figure it out as we go,’ and that’s what we did.”

Among the other winners, Aubrey Fletcher, a 2014 graduate and current Senior Programmer Analyst at CCRI, received the Alumni Award of Appreciation, one of only five awarded at the ceremony. CCRI also won the Distinguished College Project Award for its work in improving voter registration at CCRI prior to the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election as part of the ALL IN to Vote program in addition the Distinguished Honors in Action Project Award for its unique look at the history and growth of the Knight Estate at the Warwick Knight Campus. Both projects also earned top honors at the regional convention in March.

The pandemic introduced new challenges to Pi Omicron members, forcing them to adapt as they prepared projects for inclusion in both the regional and international competitions.

“There were times where it was actually easier for us to meet virtually since our members are on multiple campuses,” Sherman said. “We had to be a little more creative, but in a virtual way. We always work to be a Five Star Chapter, but we don’t always get it, so that was a nice honor, and I’m really proud of our team for winning the College Project and Honors in Action project awards. We knew we had strong projects, but were still pleasantly surprised. The effort our students put into these projects really worked in our favor.”

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