College of the Desert students Octavio Garcia and Thomas Lopez were named to the 2013 Phi Theta Kappa All-California Academic Team, colleges officials said Thursday.
“This is an extraordinary honor to be acknowledged in this way,” officials said through a news release statement. “There are 112 community colleges in California, serving over 2.4 million students and only 80 students were selected for this event acknowledgement.”
PTK Faculty Advisor, Alejandro Jazan, also took part in the awards luncheon in Sacramento. The College of the Desert Foundation funded the trip, officials said.
Garcia, a native of Sonora, Mexico, was 12 when he came to the U.S. He began school as a middle school student where he learned to speak, read and write English, officials said.
He is working toward an Associate’s degree in business administration and plans to transfer to a university. Garcia has been on the Dean’s List three times. His goal is to own a restaurant to offer a better life for his family, provide jobs for others, and to give back to the community and schools that helped him achieve his goals, officials wrote.
Lopez’ is the first in his family to attend college, officials said.
“He didn’t know what to expect when he first walked through the doors of COD,” college officials wrote. “After completing his first semester and making the Dean’s List, he realized that higher education could be a calling.”
According to a short bio, Lopez has maintained his GPA and has been on the Dean’s List every semester since arriving at COD. He is preparing to transfer to a university to continue his studies in art and graphic design.
PTK is an international academic honor society for community college students. It is the community college equivalent to the Phi Beta Kappa society in four-year institutions. The All-California Academic Team is chosen each year at the state level from nominations received from the local colleges.
Honorees receive stipends and scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $1,500 each and become eligible to be considered for the All-USA Academic Team. Nominees must meet the following standards:
- They must have a proven record of academic rigor
- A grade point average of at least 3.5
- Participation in honors programs
- Awards, honors, and recognition for academic achievement
- And service to the college and community
Students must also write an essay centered around a project or effort in which the student used their community college education to improve his or her community or school.