Parkland Honors Program provides outlet for academic excellence
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 18:09
For students wishing to go above and beyond in their academic pursuits, the Parkland Honors Program offers an outlet for outstanding scholastic achievements. Headed by Dr. Marsh Jones, the program currently consists of over 100 students striving for academic excellence.
In order to become a participant in the Honors Program, students must have a GPA of at least 3.0. However, according to Jones, “Students should not hesitate to apply, even if your GPA is not super high because we like to give students the opportunity to participate in the program as it is a great way to express yourself and expand your academic knowledge.”
Once enrolled, students are expected to complete at least one “A with Honors” project per semester. Most projects are extended research papers on a topic selected by the student and the professor in charge of the class.
The entire semester is allotted to complete the project. Students are expected to spend at least 15 extra hours working on their project.
Upon completion of the project, students are awarded a $100 scholarship.
Not every “A with Honors” project has to be a research paper, as some students have completed projects such as the creation of a wind tunnel, the singing of a concert song or the building of a set for a play.
“One student wrote a short story that was so well done it was published in a scholastic honors journal,” Jones explained.
There are many benefits that come from participation in the program. First, there is the aforementioned $100 scholarship. Second, upon graduation from the program, participants are eligible for up to $1,000 in additional scholarship money.
As Jordan Gebil, President of the Honors Program explained, “Monetary gain is always a benefit.”
Aside from direct rewards such as scholarship money, students who participate in the Honors Program have the opportunity to become members of Phi Theta Kappa, an Honors organization for two-year colleges.
Students also have the ability to transfer directly into the Honors programs of four-year universities, which allows them to take advantage of the many scholarships and opportunities provided by those organizations.
Parkland currently has a transfer program with the University of Illinois and is working on an articulation agreement with Eastern Illinois University.
Participation in the program does not necessarily mean graduation from the program. In order to graduate, students must have completed at least three portfolio projects.
Two of those projects are the “A with Honors” projects mentioned previously, and the third is a service project in which students are required to assist in some sort of community building activity such as working at the Time Center or with the Homework Club.
Upon completion of their projects, potential graduates must participate in the Honors Symposium, in which members of the program present their best projects.
Overall, the Honors Program offers students who constantly strive for excellence an outlet by which their hard work is both recognized and rewarded.
“Everyone is striving for that 'A',” Gebil explained. “Why not be rewarded for it? Besides a boost to your GPA, you get monetary compensation and a great group of peers.”
Students wishing to find more information on the Honors Program can do so by visiting www.parkland.edu/academics/honors.aspx or by emailing the director of the program, Dr. Marsh Jones, at firstname.lastname@example.org.