Editor’s note: This post was written and submitted by Illinois alumna Molly Velbeck.
Phi Theta Kappa has given me much more than any other honor society ever could. My name is Molly Velbeck, and I am an alumna of Rock Valley College’s Omicron Eta Chapter in Illinois.
I was enrolled in the Illinois “Running Start” program, which allowed me to spend my last two years of high school at Rock Valley College. I graduated in May 2017 with both my high school diploma and an associate degree.
I was given many great opportunities through my active membership in PTK. I served as vice president of scholarship and public relations chair. I took those leadership roles very seriously and further developed my skills.
Our PTK advisor, Timothy Spielman, served as my mentor. He helped me believe in myself and pushed me to become a leader. Because of this encouragement, I made my senior year of high school (also my second year at Rock Valley College) one to remember.
I was selected as a member of the All-Illinois Academic Team, was awarded a Coca-Cola Silver Scholarship, and received Rock Valley College’s Emerging Leader of the Year award. I also spoke at my high school graduation ceremony. I truly believe I would not have been able to do this without the help of Mr. Spielman and PTK. I am so grateful to be a member of such an amazing organization.
I am currently a member of the Illinois Regional Alumni Association (IRAA). I have made many new friends and surrounded myself with positive, successful people through my involvement in PTK.
Their support helped me get through the devastating loss of my father on August 14, 2017. He was battling colon cancer and went into a surgery that took a devastating turn. I lost him one week before my classes started at Illinois State University and I felt completely lost, as if I had nowhere to turn.
That is when PTK gave me an amazing feeling of belonging for the second time. Many fellow IRAA members and Mr. Spielman reached out to offer guidance and condolences. Without PTK and its amazing members and advisors, I would not have been able to find the way forward in this tragic situation.
The relationships formed over Honors in Action projects turned into more meaningful friendships that provided invaluable support during my time of need. I am forever grateful for such a wonderful organization, and someday I hope to be able to give back to PTK for all it has done for me.