By Erich Rowe
On Friday, August 31st, SPC students in the Honors Program were invited to a brunch on the Clearwater Campus. Catered food and pastries were served for the attendees. Honors students were gathered to be informed of events they can participate in exclusive to honors students.
At the event, after the announcements of upcoming events and programs available to students, some games were played with the students. The first game was called “Baby Rattle,” in which two students held two empty soda bottles taped together; the goal was to get marbles from one bottle into the other and the first one to get all into the second bottle won. The second game was a tissue paper contest where four students competed in being fastest to unload a box of tissues by only pulling them out from the top.
Other than just playing games, students were told about the events and experience of the honors program. Ronelia Bailey, Honors Program Student Assistant and Honors Program Student Consortium President runs events and conferences for honors students to compete in research conferences.
When asked if students had been contacted by businesses or other research organizations, Bailey confirmed that student researchers were contacted by other colleges interested in their research. Bailey emphasized that the research was based purely on the passion of the students. Students weren’t assigned a research topic; they chose topics themselves. Specifically, Bailey mentioned that her predecessor to her position conducted research on kidney transplants and was approached by hospitals and other universities interested in the research. These research conferences offered by the honors program gives students the chance to be noticed by high end universities by doing research on topics they are passionate about.
Alongside running research conferences and conferences with honors students, Bailey also mentioned she organized their first high school research conference the year prior. The students went on to showcase their research at the state conference, which was in Ft. Myers that year.
Volunteering is another major part of the Honors Program. The program works toward helping students in need. Throughout her discussion, Bailey mentioned how students work toward helping other students in need and children without a home due to abuse or neglect. Bailey and her students participated in Eckerd Raising Hope to help provide clothing and other helpful products because, “They don’t have time to grab their necessities,” Bailey explained.
The Honors Program is in place purely for the benefit of students. When asked what benefit SPC receives from having an honors program, Earl Fratus, Director of the Honors Program, answered, “A lot of these students ―because they come to SPC in the Honors Program― will benefit because they can get scholarships, can transfer, and such.” Fratus also stated that if students were to be sent to high end universities, such as Oxford, Harvard, or Dartmouth, St. Petersburg College will be seen favorably by future students, employers, and other universities.
Via placement in honors classes, the brunch served as an introduction to newcomer honors students, and a warm welcome back, and a reminder of the benefits of honors to students that were in honors classes the previous year.