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Daytona State students honored at All-Florida Academic Team ceremony

Seven local individuals joined more than 100 top-achieving students on April 9 to officially become members of an elite group – the All-Florida Academic Team – at a ceremony hosted by Daytona State on behalf of the Florida College System and Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Florida Region.

The All-Florida Academic Team program recognizes outstanding students at Florida’s state colleges, as well as institutions associated with Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida. The Academic Team is composed of students who have been nominated by their respective colleges to the All-USA Academic Team competition sponsored by USA Today and the PTK International Honor Society. Students are nominated based on their academic achievement, leadership and service to the community.

Daytona State students selected to the All-Florida Academic Team’s second team are:

  • Brett Gernertt, New Smyrna Beach-Edgewater Campus
  • Samantha Gross, New Smyrna Beach-Edgewater Campus
  • Charlene Maine, Daytona Beach Campus
  • Steve Minciulescu, Flagler/Palm Coast Campus
  • Hinesha Patel, Daytona Beach Campus
  • Elizabeth Strople, Flagler/Palm Coast Campus

All Florida Academic Team Ceremony
Winners Hinesha Patel, Elizabeth Strople, Jenna Zuyus, Charlene Maine and Steve Minciulescu

President Carol Eaton shared with the students her own personal experience on how PTK helped shape her life. “When I was a student at a community college, I was invited to join Phi Theta Kappa. At the time, I did not realize the significance this great organization would have on my life,” she said. “But the influence of PTK has stayed with me.” She noted the students each share two common characteristics. “You have changed any obstacles you have encountered into opportunities, and you have changed any challenges you have faced into choices.”

All Florida Academic Team Ceremony

During the awards ceremony, Assistant Chancellor of the Florida College System Kasongo Butler pointed out how the diversity of this year’s awardees embodies the mission of the Florida College System, where open access to higher education is a system hallmark.

All Florida Academic Team Ceremony   All Florida Academic Team Ceremony

Keynote speaker Dr. Edison Jackson, president of Bethune-Cookman University, encouraged the students to choose lives as servant leaders. “It’s important to understand that you can help make a better society by giving back,” he said. 

All Florida Academic Team Ceremony

“You are among those who will be counted on to fight the war on mediocrity that we see all around our communities, in this state and in this nation,” he added. “As you earn your degrees, as you move beyond graduate school, understand that the world needs your talents, your gifts.”

All Florida Academic Team Ceremony
Preceding the ceremony, Assistant Chancellor Butler led a roundtable which she called “speed dating for business leaders and PTK students.” More than a dozen local business, university and civic leaders moved from table to table answering questions posed by students and providing advice on how to pursue various career fields.

Among them was CEO of Jon Hall Ritchey Automotive Group and former Daytona Beach Mayor Glenn Ritchey Sr., who, seated across from the 18-year-old Zuyus, suggested that passion, perseverance and continuing education are keys to success.

“You are on an interesting journey at this point in your life, and along the way you will find many opportunities you don’t even know about today,” he said. “Be prepared.”

All Florida Academic Team Ceremony

Left to right, student Steve Minciulescu, PTK faculty advisor Ted Wygant, Thomas LoBasso/senior vice president for student development & institutional effectiveness, students Elizabeth Strople, Jenna Zuyus, Hinesha Patel, Charlene Maine and President Carol W. Eaton

{April 9, 2013}

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Last updated: 2014-09-12T13:48:19.338Z