Fifty Rend Lake College students were inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor (PTK) Society Rho Xi chapter this week. In addition to being a big day for the students, RLC Professor Cindy Caldwell was named the 2018 Teacher of the Year by RLC’s PTK students.
Pictured are the 2018 Phi Theta Kappa Inductees. They are, in alphabetical order, Lily Ballard (Herrin), Dalton Banach (Scheller), Chad Barnard (McLeansboro), Emily Blades (McLeansboro), Walker Brockhouse (Opdyke), Chloe Bruno (Harrisburg), Lindsay Carns (Tamaroa), Angela Champ (Mt. Vernon), Natalie Chang (Horsley, Australia), Brenna Collins (Bluford), Jacob Compton (Tamaroa), Dixon Craft (Hopkinsville, Ky.), Mariah Eader (Sesser), Keegan Easley (West Frankfort), Ethan Erwin (Wayne City), Alan Fox (Tamaroa), Lauren Frisch (Scheller), Kevin Gibbs (Benton), Garrett Girvan (Bluford), Sabryn Griffin (Woodlawn), Tylar Hanson (Bluford), Talia Hoffman (Mt. Vernon), Hannah Hubbard (Pinckneyville), Shawn Jenkins (Bonnie), Hallie Jones (Texico), Shayne Kempfer (Sparta), Rachael Kruse (Mt. Vernon), Andrew Kyles (Mt. Vernon), Steven Leezy (Mt. Vernon), Suzanna Lefebvre (Mt. Vernon), Sarah Mead (McLeansboro), Maddie Miller (Thompsonville), David Motsinger Macedonia), Michelle Nguyen (Mt. Vernon), Madison Pribble (Johnston City), Kamber Pyszka (Scheller), Savannah Queen (Sesser), Chase Regenhardt (Mt. Vernon), Kevin Shook (Sandoval), Rick Smith (Percy), Daniel Southerd (Mt. Vernon), Gwendolyn Southerd (Mt. Vernon), James Stroup (Salem), Joshua Underwood (Christopher), Erik Van Driel (Belleville), Alyssa Vanzant (Paducah, Ky.), Ian Walters (Waltonville), Brittany Ward (Waltonville), Rachel Ward (Herrin) and Brandon Webb (Wayne City).
PTK Sponsor and RLC Director of Academic Advisement Jena Jensik began the ceremony by congratulating the students on their hard work and welcoming them to the honor society.
“I know all of you have worked very very hard for this,” Jensik told the seated students. “I commend you for your efforts and perseverance. That hard work is going to pay off. The commitment that you have shown significantly increases your likelihood of success. You’ve already set the expectation you can and will succeed.”
RLC Vice President of Student Services Dr. Lisa Price also took time to congratulate the students on a job well done and remind them of those that support them.
“This induction honors your hard work and sacrifice to pursue education. But, everyone here needs to take a little time to thank those who support them; parents, spouses, significant others, children and anyone else who has sacrificed their time and energy to support you in your education,” Price expressed.
Before the students officially signed the PTK charter and were inducted, 2017 Teacher of the Year Kathy Craig, Agricultural Associate Professor, passed the honor to 2018 recipient, Cindy Caldwell, RLC Mathematics Professor. A usually animated Caldwell was deeply moved by the gesture from the students and personally thanked them for the honor and talked about her faith and its role in making her the person that she is today.
“Thank you so much for this honor. When I received the call from Jena about the students of Phi Theta Kappa voting for me as Teacher of the Year, I was amazingly speechless. What a thoughtful and kind gesture you have bestowed to me. I am incredibly honored. This is a highlight of my life. I can’t thank you enough,” Caldwell said.
The inductees then signed their name into the chapter’s record book as Cole Hutchens of Ewing, PTK Rho Xi chapter President, called them to the stage. After the formal induction, the students enjoyed refreshments and snacks at a reception in the Theatre Lobby.