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NTCC – News


Lilly Haack, a sophomore at Northeast Texas Community College, was recently named a 2019 Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Hites Scholar. This is PTK’s most prestigious and largest scholarship, which provides $7,500 for Haack to continue her studies at a university.

Known informally as the “skunk wrangler” on campus, Haack is a biology major who plans to pursue a degree in wildlife and conservation. She currently serves as an Ambassador in the Texas State Parks Program, interned over the summer at the nationally recognized Wildlife Rescue center in St. Louis, and is the founder/president of the Environmental Club on campus. Haack is also the Vice-President for Communication for the Phi Theta Kappa chapter on campus and a member of the Bio-Chem Club. She recently presented at the World History Association on the topic of wild horses and the management of them.

“Lilly brings so much compassion and concern for all living things to everything she does. An incredibly hard worker, dirt, gore, muck, long-hours – nothing prevents her from helping animals and researching about them. A natural leader, she is constantly innovating ways to help animals, spread awareness to others, and make the world a better place,” Dr. Melissa Fulgham, Lead Advisor for NTCC’s PTK chapter, said.

Haack is the fourth Hites Scholar produced by NTCC. Brenda Godoy and Chesney Davis both received the honor in 2018 and Cody Russell in 2011.

The Hites Transfer Scholarship is awarded to Phi Theta Kappa members who are preparing to transfer to a bachelor’s degree-granting college or university. Winners were selected from among 2,800 applicants nationwide for their outstanding academic achievement and rigor, leadership accomplishments, and engagement in college and community activities.

The Hites Transfer Scholarship Program is made possible by support from the Hites Family Foundation and the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation. This is the most significant scholarship Phi Theta Kappa awards to its members.

The Hites Family Foundation was established by Robert Hites, an executive with Ralston-Purina in St. Louis, Missouri. Upon his retirement, he became an instructor at St. Louis Community College. His brother, Ray Hites, served as President of the Hites Family Foundation and as a Trustee for the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation until his death in 2015. Ray’s wife, Jackie, now serves as a Foundation Board Trustee.

Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of community college students to grow as scholars and leaders. Society is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 10 nations. Learn more at ptk.org.


The Northeast Texas Community College’s Psi Beta chapter will host a 5K Color Walk, Run or Crawl to Fight Suicide event on Saturday, April 13. The day will begin with a presentation from Allison Agan from Northeast Texas Child Advocacy Center at 5:30 p.m. The event is part of a more massive Stomp Out Suicide campus and community campaign aimed at bringing awareness to suicide prevention.

Check-in for the 5k begins at 6:30 p.m. and the Color Walk starts at 7:00 p.m. The entry fee is $20 per person if pre-registered and $25 if you register the day of the event. T-shirts will be available to those who pre-register and pay by March 28. Proceeds from the event will benefit local suicide prevention and the NTCC Psi Beta Transfer Scholarship. You can sign up in the NTCC Humanities Building.

For more information, contact Dr. Karyn Skaar at kskaar@ntcc.edu; Cierra Keltner at Keltnercierra@gmail.com; Leslie Blann at lesliejean75@aol.com or Linzie Skinner at lskinner582@ntcc.edu. Psi Beta is a scholastic honor society that recognizes academic achievement among students in the field of Psychology at Two-Year Colleges.


Members of The Eagle staff are pictured with their awards (from left): Mandy Smith, Eagle Advisor; Debbie Strong, Associate Professor of Art, Daniel Sanchez, Assistant Advisor, Tahj McRae, Joelle Weatherford, Emma Yeager, and Elisabeth Lively.

The Eagle newspaper staff brings home 25 awards including Overall Excellence in Division 5

By Daniel Sanchez
Assistant Adviser, The Eagle

The Northeast Texas Community College Eagle staff recently attended the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention in Corpus Christi and brought home 25 awards including Overall Excellence in Division 5 and third place in Best of Show in Division 3.

This year students competed in individual on-site contests and participated in workshops on various journalism topics.

Elisabeth Lively, Eagle layout and design editor, earned a first-place award for newspaper design in the on-site contest. The rules require students to participate in real-life scenarios and complete assignments based on deadlines.

“In the last 18 years, I have taken an interest in many hobbies, but I never seemed to excel in any of those areas,” Lively said, “When I showed up to that first staff meeting last semester, I had no idea I would go on to win first place in layout and design at a statewide competition.”

“This win showed me that I have actual talent,” Lively added. “TIPA bolstered my resume.”

Fred Stewart, TIPA executive director, said the organization focuses on providing students extended training by giving them the opportunity to interact with working professionals from around the state and parts of the nation. TIPA also connects students with individuals and organizations that may provide potential internships or job opportunities.

“At a time when the media is under such scrutiny and facing such immense challenges,” Stewart said, “TIPA is trying to help by bringing student media operations across the state together to help provide opportunities to future journalists to improve their skills and reach their career goals.”

Stewart said the TIPA conference also offers faculty advisers the opportunity to come together, interact with each other and share ideas to plan for the future while keeping their students’ best interests in mind.

Mandy Smith, the Eagle adviser, said the contests and workshops offer students a look into the real world of working journalism.

“I always love talking to students right after they compete in their first live TIPA contest,” Smith said. “They’re both freaked out and excited from the adrenaline rush that comes with covering and writing a story in a couple of hours or laying out a whole newspaper page in 90 minutes.”

Smith said it is always special to attend the annual conference with a new group of students.

“I love watching each of them come away with their own TIPA memories and experiencing that one special moment when they suddenly realize that they’re actually working journalists,” Smith said.

This year’s participants in the live-on-site contest were Lively, Tahj McRae, Emma Yeager, and Joelle Weatherford.

Debbie Strong, associate professor of art and education, also attended the TIPA convention as an adviser. Strong said she is in awe of the students “expertise and commitment to the journalism profession.”

“Each student demonstrated exemplary dedication to learning and competing,” Strong said. “Their many awards prove it.”

The Eagle staff also competed in the previously published contest. The entries are evaluated and judged by professional journalists from across the nation. Entries consist of material that was already printed, posted online or broadcasted.

The Eagle won 23 awards in the previously published contest including Overall Excellence in Division 5 in the newspaper category. The staff also took home first place awards for overall design and front page design. In the Open Division category NTCC’s literary magazine, Lagniappe, was awarded the third place in Overall Excellence and second place for Itaii Luna’s cover design.

“This group of students has developed into a really strong staff over the past few months,” Smith said. “We were so excited to win the overall excellence award for the second year in a row. These students have worked so hard and bringing home 25 awards is the result of that commitment.”

Established in 1909, TIPA is the oldest state collegiate press association and has become one of the largest and most respected collegiate organizations in the country. To learn more about the organization visit texasipa.org.

For a complete list of awards and winners, please visit the Eagle’s website at ntcceagleonline.com.

On-site Contest (2)
Newspaper Design – Elisabeth Lively, 1st place
Best of Show Division 3 – Eagle Staff, 3rd place

Previously Published/Broadcast Contest.
First Place (8)
Overall Excellence Newspaper – Eagle Staff
Overall Design Newspaper – Eagle Staff
Cover Design Newspaper – Eagle Staff
Op/Ed Page Design – Nubia Sanchez
Sports Action Photo – Elisabeth Lively
Ad Design Static – Isaias Martinez
Editorial Cartoon – Elisabeth Sammel
General News – Elisabeth Lively

Second Place (6)
Open Division Cover Design, Literary Magazine – Itaii Luna
Ad Design Static – Isaias Martinez
Headline Writing – Eagle Staff
Special Edition Design Print – Emma Wolfe
Sports Game Story – Elisabeth Lively
Sports Page Design – Elisabeth Lively

Third Place (8)
Open Division Overall Excellence, Literary Magazine – Lagniappe Staff
Open Division Overall Design, Literary Magazine – Lagniappe Staff
Overall Design, Website – Eagle Staff
Critical Review – Jessica Drumm
Feature Page Design – Isaias Martinez
In-Depth Reporting – Daniel Yanez
Photo Story – Nubia Sanchez
Sports Action Photo – Tahj McRae

Honorable Mention (1)
Website Division 3 Overall Excellence – Eagle Staff