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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Honor student parlays hard work into national award

Michelle Word studies in the NE library surrounded by some of the awards she has won this year. Her most recent recognition is being named to the 20-member All-USA Today 2008 Community College Academic First Team, presented in Philadelphia.  Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian
Michelle Word studies in the NE library surrounded by some of the awards she has won this year. Her most recent recognition is being named to the 20-member All-USA Today 2008 Community College Academic First Team, presented in Philadelphia. Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian

By Rylie Parkins/ne news editor

Michelle Word studies in the NE library surrounded by some of the awards she has won this year. Her most recent recognition is being named to the 20-member All-USA Today 2008 Community College Academic First Team, presented in Philadelphia.  Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian
Michelle Word studies in the NE library surrounded by some of the awards she has won this year. Her most recent recognition is being named to the 20-member All-USA Today 2008 Community College Academic First Team, presented in Philadelphia. Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian

Michelle Word is a prime example of a success story at the community college.

“I came to TCC NE pretty broken and will be leaving a newly self-confident student with a bright future,” she said.

Word came to TCC with low self-esteem and not much direction for where she was going. She will soon be leaving with a host of honors and accomplishments.

Word, vice president of the Phi Tau Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa on NE Campus, was recently named an All-USA Today 2008 Community College Academic First Team recipient because of her hard work and dedication to others.

In addition to being a student, Word is a wife and a mother.

She makes her family her top priority.

“My family is the most important part of my life and my finest accomplishment,” she said.

Word still manages to find time to contribute to the community.

She holds two part-time jobs. She is a scrapbooking instructor at Michaels as well as a Girl Scout troop leader.

Even though the Girl Scout position is unpaid, it allows her to do something she is passionate about—impacting girl’s lives in a positive way.

“I am empowering girls to become leaders, to be driven and to know accomplishment,” she said.

Word’s volunteer efforts do not end with Girl Scouts.

Word is a Junior Achievement volunteer and is also involved with the Child Advocacy Club and the PTA. She is also heavily committed to the Schools for Schools program as well as the Invisible Children project.

She also has been very involved in Phi Theta Kappa since the summer of 2006.

“During my time with Phi Theta Kappa, I have earned advanced membership, inductee of the year, was nominated for most distinguished member at our international level, was inducted into the District 2 Hall of Honors and received the Service Hallmark Award for our Phi Tau Chapter at Phi Theta Kappa’s 90th Annual International Convention,” she said.

After being a dedicated member for about a year, Word won the vice president of fellowship position, where she served until April 2007. Then she became vice president of service, the position she currently holds.

Her involvement in Phi Theta Kappa made her aware of the USA Today award.

She first learned about the award at an orientation meeting in fall 2006.

Information about the award was available, along with other scholarship information on the PTK Web site.

After applying for the award, she was called into Dr. Larry Darlage’s (NE Campus president) office in February so that he could let her know she had won.

“I never imagined for a minute that I would receive all the honors and recognition I have,” she said.

Her advisers, Gail Eberly, instructional assistant, and Alma Martinez-Egger, speech instructor, have provided support and encouragement, Word said.

“Without them, the wonderful ladies in the student activities office and my professors, I don’t think I would have made it as far as I have,” she said.

The award is a scholarship offered through PTK every year. To be eligible for the award, one must be nominated by Darlage, have volunteered within the community and have a 3.25 minimum GPA.

“Once you have been chosen for a nomination, you commit to a multi-step application process,” she said.

“If you win first team, then you will receive the opportunity to go to the Annual American Association of Community College’s Conference, be published in USA Today and receive your $2,500 scholarship,” she said.

After winning the award, Word was invited to a ceremony in Pennsylvania.

“We had a wonderful speaker, Mr. Robert Dubill, retired executive editor for USA Today,” she said.

Word and other winners received their medals from Rod Risley, executive director of PTK, their award from their respective campus president and their $2,500 check from Mary Beth Marklein, higher education reporter for USA Today.

Word is currently majoring in early childhood education and is hoping to transfer to either TCU, Wesleyan or UTA. She has been given a full scholarship to UTA but is waiting to make a decision until she hears about benefits from the other schools.

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