Thirty-four Ingram State Technical College students were recently inducted into the Beta Psi Gamma chapter of Phi Theta Kappa honor society. PTK president and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner said the chapter is the first chartered by PTK with membership comprised exclusively of incarcerated students.
In remarks to the initiates, ISTC president Annette Funderburk said she had long been looking forward to the day Ingram students could take part in the international organization for those attending two-year colleges. “This is a wonderful day for you and for Ingram,” Funderburk told the students, “and a reflection of the hard work everyone has done to help us reach this milestone.”
James Elliot, recently elected 2019-20 International President of Phi Theta Kappa was the featured speaker at the ceremonies. Elliot shared his own incarceration experience with the initiates, encouraging them to take pride being honor students and to continue their pursuit of education. Elliot explained to the group that his participation, like theirs, would not have been possible before a recent change in PTK bylaws admitting candidates with criminal convictions.
Beta Psi Gamma advisors Keith LaFrance and Alexis Owens will facilitate student activities, addressing circumstances unique to their chapter – including the fact that the entire group cannot meet in a single location due to Alabama Department of Corrections security constraints. “We have some unique challenges,” said LaFrance, “but we have already experienced tremendous success in obtaining our charter, and the students are really motivated to make this work.”
In addition to maintaining high academic standards, Phi Theta Kappa members participate in activities designed to develop leadership and service skills. Members are also eligible for scholarships to further their education.