Highland Community College’s Wamego PTK Earns Five Star Status


Highland Community College’s Wamego Beta Nu Omega (BNO) chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) will be recognized as a Five Star Chapter at their Spring Regional Convention and at PTK Catalyst (PTK’s Annual Convention). ​

“I am so very proud of those students who worked hard and sacrificed so much to reach this goal, they deserve a standing ovation!” said Lisa Bellamy, BNO chapter advisor.

To be nominated for such an honor, the chapter must develop an Honors in Action (HIA) project, submit at least three entries in the Hallmark Awards Program including the HIA Project Award, a College Project Award, and at least one individual award. Then, a chapter member must participate in one of the following: attend the PTK Catalyst Annual Convention, complete at least one unit in a PTK Edge course, complete at least one unit in PTK’s Leadership Development Studies or submit an entry in the Honors Case Study Challenge.

The HIA project combines academic research, problem-solving and action-oriented service to address real-world challenges in our communities. The project is an opportunity for students to gain job-related experience while creating lasting impacts in their communities as they engage in HIA. The BNO’s chapter theme was Transformation and the sub-theme was Channel of Creativity. The group researched how social media is used creatively on college campuses or by the college demographic. The chapter then chose to implement the use of social media on the Wamego campus in creative ways during the fall 2019 semester and collect data on how well it increased (transformed) engagement on the school’s and chapter’s social media sites. The students were successful at increasing engagement by as much as 250 percent.

The chapter held a “sweeps week” for their college competition project. During the week, the chapter members encouraged students, staff, and instructors to commit to finishing their associate degree, as well as, committing to helping at least one student complete their associate degree. Five students in the chapter (TreShawn Summers, Melesa Whearty, Malachi Bellamy and Joseph Sswerwadda) visited individuals at the Wamego, Baileyville, and Perry campuses to collect signatures and encourage people to join their competition.

Shelby Spradling, a former student at HCC Wamego, attended the 2019 Annual PTK Convention. HCC Wamego students and PTK BNO members, TreShawn Summers, Melesa Whearty, Malachi Bellamy and Luisa Honeywell all attended the 2019 PTK Honors Institute. Bellamy participated in the new online adviser education curriculum, Five Star Advisor Plan.

“I think it’s amazing that all the hard work and determination paid off. We reached our goal and we want to maintain it,” said Luisa Honeywell, Assistant to the Public Relations Officer in the BNO chapter and HCC Wamego student.

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.