Wednesday, March 28, 2012

NY Regional Conference in Saratoga Springs

March 16-The Alpha Kappa Chapter enjoyed a wonderful weekend in Saratoga Springs at the Phi Theta Kappa Regional Conference. The three days allowed for a special bond among the chapter, a growth of PTK morale, as well as intellectual fulfillment.

After arrival and registration at the Hilton Hotel, members from 12 New York Region chapters enjoyed an introductory lecture by Michael Dealy, Ph.D. on emotional intelligence, encouraging compassion, understanding, and inquisitiveness as students approach different experiences throughout their lives.

He suggested that current educational systems don’t always teach in traditional ways (memorization for example), and emotional intelligence can supply school systems with qualities that are more advantageous for the whole system. Dr. Dealy spent many years working in the Board of Education as a school psychologist, where he implemented his theories on emotionally intelligent learning environments. He suggested that we take part in valuable remembering, in which you should write down anything that inspires you and moves you, no matter what it may be. Sometimes the mind derives something in even a daydream that no book or professor can catalyze. A quote from Michael Dealy that stuck with many students was, “The deadline is not dead until you’re dead...just keep learning.”

On Friday evening students gathered for a talent show fellowship event. Students performed musical pieces either vocally or with instruments. The winner was a very talented beat boxer whom everyone was extremely impressed by. Other teams did roll calls or skits. Roll calls are when a chapter goes up in front of the others, states what chapter they are and what school they are coming from, and each of the members state their names. Alpha Kappa Chapter went up and did this first!     

Saturday, the second general session allowed for the chapter members to get to know their Regional Officers from this past year a little better. Discussions took place on the Honors In Action project, stating that we are really addressing issues that are happening now in our world and in our communities. By researching and taking action, we are learning to lead; but before we lead, we have to learn. Phi Theta Kappa has formed alliances with over 700 colleges nation wide and have a half a million dollars in scholarships available for members.

After this session, students were able to enjoy a college fair where they could talk with representatives, gather information, and ask questions. The officers also encouraged members to run for regional office, even if they had not prepared for it and did not feel they were up for the challenge.

Following the general session, students were able to choose from four workshops: Learning to Communicate and Motivate a Team, Transferring to a Four-year College, Public Speaking, and Positioning Yourself to Win Scholarships.

   Learning to Communication and Motivate a Team: students used the True Color’s assessment, which helps them identify how they communicate, what motivates them, and how they work within in a team setting. They also learned how to move beyond frustration and work towards a more cohesive team.

   Transferring to a Four-Year College: students joined Don Young, a representative from Champlain College, and Amy Flagler, a New York Region Advisor, and were informed on the steps that should be taken when preparing to transfer to a four-year college. They also learned the differences between private colleges and public colleges.

   Public Speaking: students learned the essentials to public speaking, and what makes it most effective. Students learned some tips to make public speaking easier. An important organization called Toastmasters International was also brought into awareness for the students. These organizations are all over the country and can help you to continue your improvement in public speaking skills.

   Positioning Yourself to Win Scholarships: informed students on the Phi Theta Kappa scholarships available exclusively to them, how to write an effective application, and how to position themselves to stand out from other applicants.

Candidates for Regional Officer were nominated and confirmed in our next general meetings. Romina Moyano from our chapter did a great job campaigning with beautiful flyers and pins. Euri Parios was Alpha Kappa’s voting delegate who would participate in the voting the following day.

The Regional Officers that would be handing over their positions that weekend talked one by one about what they learned and gained from being a Regional Officer for Phi Theta Kappa. All of them agreed that they learned patience, how to work as a team, gained confidence in their public speaking skills, and learning plenty about and their potential.

On the final day of the conference, students heard speeches by the candidates running for regional office, and the voting delegates put in the final votes for each chapter. Current regional officers swore in the new officers by having them take an oath. The Alpha Kappa Chapter is very proud of Romina Moyano and her strong speech. She will continue to be a leader for the Chapter.

At the awards luncheon concluding the conference, we were pleased to have been awarded five separate awards! Alpha Kappa Chapter was given:

    Five Star Chapter Development Plan Award for Five Star Level

    Individual and Community Winner

    First Runner Up for Distinguished Honors in Action

    Second Runner Up for Distinguished Chapter Award

    Third Runner Up for Distinguished Chapter Officer Team

Overall, this weekend was an incredible experience for the members that attended, and they are looking forward to more PTK morale and the next conference in Nashville. 

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