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GHC student organizations overcome pandemic setbacks for a successful year

July 3rd, 2020 – 2:30 PM

Georgia Highlands College –

Although COVID-19 and the switch to remote delivery at the college caused some setbacks, Georgia Highlands College’s student organizations overcame many obstacles to achieve a series of state and national first place awards and accolades.

Chief among these are GHC’s Alpha Psi Omicron chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) and the GHC student newspaper the Six Mile Post (SMP).

Phi Theta Kappa

For PTK, the chapter received the following awards: Top Distinguished College Project, Top 5-Star Chapter Status, Reach Rewards Status, being named a Top Regional Chapter, Regional Office Chapter, Regional Top 5-Star Status and Regional Award in Excellence for Scholarship. In addition, member Dalton Swanson received the Regional Hall of Honor and GHC President Don Green was recognized as Distinguished Administrator and PTK’s 2020 Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction. Other chapter awards include Distinguished Honors in Action (HIA) Theme 2 Runner-Up and Regional Office Chapter.

PTK officers Dalton Swanson, Madhavi Scharko and Dajah Dixon along with alumni Thomas Boylan, Lexii Daniel and Karishma Patel attended PTK’s Fall Regional Conference at Atlanta Metro College in October and supported the regional service project which collected education and hygiene supplies for a Mozambique village for Mission Machangulo. During the conference, in addition to earning numerous chapter awards, the Georgia Regional Alumni Chapter was chartered and faculty lead advisor Karen Huggin was inducted as PTK’s Associate Regional Coordinator.

Huggin said the team has found ways to connect with members and other chapters around the country and are working on steps to achieve 5-Star Chapter Status for the new year, as well as attending PTK’s first International Catalyst Virtual Conference. In addition, GHC President Don Green was selected as a recipient of PTK’s 2020 Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction.

Six Mile Post

The SMP was awarded a combined seven first-place awards by both the Southern Regional Press Institute (SRPI) and Georgia College Press Association (GCPA). The SRPI awarded the organization first place in Best Overall Print Newspaper and first place in Best Online News Site along with individual awards for Best News Reporting, Best Sports Writing and Best Feature Photography. The GCPA recognized the SMP with first place individual awards for Best Editorial or Editorial Series as well as the Impact award.

Six Mile Post Editor-in-Chief and GHC student Olivia D. Fortner said she is proud of all the hard work the organization’s staff has done to generate so many organizational and individual awards over the past year.

“Receiving first place in the Best Online News Site is a great accomplishment,” Six Mile Post Editor-in-Chief Olivia D. Fortner said. Fortner said the Six Mile Post maintains its focus of being first and foremost a news outlet.

“I am most proud of the overall improvement award,” Fortner added, referencing the outlet’s third place Improvement award granted by the GCPA. “This speaks volumes for the work our staff has put in. Most of us were inexperienced in journalism and design. We did a lot to learn the style of AP writing and building a newspaper. We worked together and produced a paper better than the last. I hope this continues and we improve with each issue.”

The individual awards from the SRPI competition include; Best News Reporting – first place – Nick Whitmire; second place Best Feature Writing –– Samantha Warner; Best Sports Writing – first place – Trevor Gonzales; Best Feature Photography – first place – Penelope Stephens; and Best Feature Photography – third place – Catie Sullivan.

The GCPA recognized the SMP staff with awards for Layout and Design – second place; Improvement – third place; and Best Campus Community Service – Features – third place. Individual awards include Best Editorial or Editorial Series – first place – Jonah Peters; Best Editorial or Editorial Series – second place – Catie Sullivan; Best Photograph-Editorial/Feature – second place – Emma Veale; Best Photo Essay – third place – Penelope Stephens; Best Column – third place – Mariah Redmond; Best Column – third place – Nathaniel Flahardy; Best Column – third place – Jonah Peters; Best Entertainment Feature – second and third places – Joseph McDaniel; Impact Award – first place – Julia Belew.

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