Two JCJC students awarded top PTK awards and scholarships

Written By: Teresa McCreery
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Date Submitted: 2014-03-17 14:03:07

ELLISVILLE – Two Jones County Junior College sophomores were recently awarded with top accolades at the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society’s New Century Scholars/All-Mississippi Academic Team recognition luncheon in Jackson. Zack Warren of Ellisville took top honors overall with his essay about implementing a new service-oriented organization on the JCJC campus. He was honored as a member of the All-Mississippi Academic First Team and was awarded a $1,000 scholarship and a $2,000 scholarship for being a Mississippi New Century Scholar.
Karie Mooney of Seminary made the All-Mississippi Academic Second Team and was also awarded as a Coca-Cola Bronze Scholar. Mooney competed against more than 1,700 applicants for the national, Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Scholar in academic rigor, leadership and service, campus and community engagement, recommendations and their applications. She was one of fifty students nationally named a Bronze Scholar, receiving a $1,000 scholarship.
“I believe these honors will help advance my college career by opening doors for other possible scholarships,” said Mooney, a public relations major. “I was surprised by the Bronze Coca Cola Scholar and was speechless at the blessing God bestowed on me. It was God’s grace, leadership and the encouragement of those around me throughout the years that encouraged me to follow Christ’s example to serve others.”
Mooney was diagnosed with WILMS, a renal cancer in her left kidney at age 12. After having it removed along with forty-four lymph nodes and enduring 16-rounds of chemotherapy, doctors declared her cancer-free on August 24, 2006.  This experience she said motivated her to be a youth ambassador, spokesperson and a member of the Board of Directors for Camp Rainbow, a summer camp for kids with cancer, as well as a vivacious advocate for pediatric cancer patients as a Hero of Hope, and team leader for the American Cancer Society. She is also on the executive council for JCJC’s Baptist Student Union and heads up its community missions. This involves going to nursing homes weekly, coordinating the Dress the Children project, being the fundraising coordinator for events involved within community missions. Mooney is working with BSU director, Frank Porter on a new Transplant Patient Ministry collecting items for care baskets to give to organ transplant donors and recipients.
“Being honored was a humbling and exciting experience as I reflected on the years of volunteer service and sleepless nights I spent studying. I realized there are many deserving people out there who may never be recognized. It was truly an honor and a testament to the time the PTK advisors spent helping me and Zack with our applications,” said Mooney.
As Mississippi’s New Century Scholar, Zack Warren received a $2,000 scholarship and had the opportunity to address the group on behalf of the All-Mississippi Academic Team.
“This was quite overwhelming, giving a speech to the recipients, college presidents, legislators and Phi Theta Kappa representatives. Standing in the presence of the others who have done such spectacular work this past year was very humbling. I truly could not be more grateful to my Phi Theta Kappa advisors, my fellow Rho Sigma officers, and my college, for such a wonderful and fulfilling experience. I will always treasure my time at Jones and give thanks to the countless opportunities in which it has provided me,” said the history major.
Warren earned the coveted 2014 New Century Scholar status by scoring the highest in the state in the All-USA Academic Team competition for community colleges through Phi Theta Kappa international honor society. The PTK competition for New Century Scholars and the All-USA Academic Team honor requires each of the community/junior college representatives to write an essay on their most significant endeavor while attending college. The essay, along with Warren’s academic and volunteer achievements is what launched him to the top of the class.
“It was a great honor to be recognized as part of the 2014 All-MS Academic First Team. However the greater honor was in being able to represent Jones at such an auspicious occasion. I think the judges rewarded the creation of the new service organization on campus, ‘Officium’ because I saw a need on campus and in the community and responded with this idea. The organization is designed to facilitate and supplement the campus’ individual club events,” Warren explained.
He describes the group as a “wheel or a hub” facilitating the relationships between clubs and sponsored events. Everyone is represented whether they are part of another organization or not. It’s athletic, academic, and technical students coming together.
Warren hopes the new organization will be able to reach different sections on campus in a united effort to assist whenever there is a need, like disaster relief in the community to assisting with campus events. He said launching a new organization was personal for him.
“I wanted to make an impact and give back to the college that has given me so much. It’s been home to me because my mom has worked here for 35 years. I feel like I’m part of the family and it’s an honor to be able to represent Jones in anything,” said Warren. 
Both Mooney and Warren will be recognized at PTK international conference in Orlando, Fla., in late April. They were nominated for these PTK honors because they maintained a 3.5 to 4.0 GPA, have taken challenging academic courses, have completed a minimum of 36 hours, are busy serving the community and college in various ways and did well in an interview with the JCJC scholarship committee.  The PTK scholarships are based on the 1,700 applicants’ scores earned in the All-USA Community College Academic Team competition. 
All team members receive special medallions, certificates, and printed resolutions from the Mississippi Senate and House of Representatives. Many four-year colleges and universities designate scholarships exclusively for All-Mississippi Team members.


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