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IRAA Blog

IRAA blog, Illinois Regional Alumni Association

Illinois Alumni Association Regional Blog

All the latest information, news and stories to inspire and inform the Illinois alumni members

PTK Catalyst 2018 Recap

PTK Catalyst 2018 Recap

It’s been exactly one month since PTK Catalyst 2018 wrapped up, and people are still talking about it.  If you ask me, Catalyst 2018 was one of the most fun International Conventions we have had in a long time!  Catalyst this year featured plenty of the usual, including great education forums, phenomenal speakers (Susan Cain, Amy Cuddy and the wildly entertaining Daveed Diggs), Hallmark Awards (man oh man the awards!!) and convention competitions.  However, this year also included a number of special events and programming, in celebration of Phi Theta Kappa’s 100th anniversary. 

The celebration started Thursday.  Each General Session this year included a video montage and overview of Phi Theta Kappa’s history over a certain period of time.  It was truly moving to see how PTK has grown from its humble beginnings, to the widespread, moving organization it is today.  Looking back on our society’s background, and the leaders who helped us grow to where we are today was truly moving.

While I did mention the convention competitions, I would be remiss if I did not talk about this year’s Scholar Bowl.  We had a record number of participants (and spectators throughout the week) this year.  The winning team truly blew us away on stage with their mastery of not only general trivia, but Phi Theta Kappa history, as well.  Thanks as always to Meira and Marvin Langsam, long time sponsors of Scholar Bowl at Catalyst.  Of course, our Scholar Bowl host, yours truly, was humbled to be part of such an exciting competition.

The excitement continued Friday night with the first-ever PTK Human Foosball tournament.  Each Region mustered a team of six participants to play in a bracket-style tournament for bragging rights!  After a fierce competition, including a match where the President’s Team (organized by Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner and comprised of former International Officers) won with a last-gasp overtime goal, we were able to crown the Texas Region as PTK’s first Human Foosball championship team.

Of course, no International Convention would be complete without the International Officer elections.  We were proud to see so many driven PTK students strive for either International President or International Vice President, they highest office a student can hold as a PTK member.  The Hallmark Awards Gala concluded with the swearing in of the newly-elected International Officers; quite the touching moment.  As a side note, this year also saw a record number of former International Officers in attendance.  It is great to see so many former student leaders continuing to give back.

The celebration of PTK’s 100 years continued throughout all of Catalyst 2018, as many reminders of our society’s history and future were seen throughout the Kansas City Convention Center.  A timeline of PTK’s history and a message wall were seen and appreciated by many.  We are looking forward to Catalyst 2019, held at the Grapevine Hotel in Orlando, and seeing what PTK comes up with to top this year’s spectacle.  Until then, keep striving towards PTK greatness!

Michael Storey

Illinois Regional Alumni Association President



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