The Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College has received the prestigious Five Star Development Status from the national organization. Such an accomplishment highlights those chapters that have proven themselves to be exceptionally strong as they strive to meet the four hallmarks of Phi Theta Kappa: leadership, service, fellowship and scholarship.

NEO’s Mu Chapter has grown to more than 100 students, all of whom are led by Brenda Lucas, club advisor.

“A chapter does not reach this level of distinction without a significant amount of hard work and dedication,” said Dr. Jeffery Hale, NEO president. “Brenda Lucas and her students have elevated NEO’s chapter to the highest level of excellence established by Phi Theta Kappa. The college and the administration are proud of their efforts.”

Phi Theta Kappa is an international honor society. To gain admittance, students must complete at least 12 hours of courses and maintain a 3.5 grade point average. Mu Chapter has a long-standing connection with Phi Theta Kappa. In the 1930s, it was the first chapter outside the state of Missouri to be formed.

Lucas said Mu Chapter was able to attain Five Star Development Status through a variety of efforts. The chapter hosted its regional meeting, which encompassed all chapters in Oklahoma and Arkansas.

They are one of the most active clubs on the NEO campus, known for participating in Homecoming, spearheading NEO’s Christmas parade float and hosting an annual Quiz Bowl Tournament for hundreds of area high school students.

Members of Mu Chapter tutor children at Miami’s Boys and Girls Club. In addition, they have taken on a service project, which the club has entitled ‘Operation Green.’ Each week, the club collects the items that students and employees dropped off for recycling and deliver it to Miami’s local recycling facility. In addition, they picked up trash following each home football game and host an annual Bike-A-Thon in the spring to promote transportation that does not damage the environment.

Lucas said she estimates that her students put in hundreds of hours of community service this past academic year.

“Being named a Five Star chapter solidifies our desire to be the best,” said Lucas. “It has taken a lot of work and effort to get there. The students of Mu Chapter believe that if you are going to do something, you should do it to the best of your abilities. Achieving Five Stars is symbolic of the kind of pride that these students feel as part of Phi Theta Kappa.”

This year, Candy Watson, a resident of Miami who is currently Mu Chapter’s Vice President of Scholarship, was voted by the 50 chapters of the Oklahoma/Arkansas District to serve as its Vice President. She is the first NEO student to fill such a position, and Lucas said the club will strive for other officers to follow in Watson’s footsteps.

“I truly consider our club to be the best of the best, because we are able to draw from students who represent so many sections of campus,” she said. “It makes us a strong organization.”