NTCC Honors students present at NCHC

film panel

The NTCC Film Panel Above: Cade Bennett, Dr. Andrew Yox, Brian Ramirez, Israel Perez, John Rodriguez, Andrea Reyes

By: Dr. Andrew Yox, Honors Director

Academic conferences are not only great information-sharing events; they are contests that determine the scholars who have the information worth sharing.  In this competition, written abstracts matter, and winsome abstracts, require arresting titles, unique phrases, and surprising insights—linked together and conveyed in the time consumed by an elevator ride. They are sometimes called “elevator pitches.”  At Northeast Texas Community College, honors students often begin their research in conjunction with films that occur before their first fall semester.  During the semester of their first year, they write weekly “ideophanies” that involve at least two conceptualizations every week.  By November, they compose posters, engage in “arresting concept” contests, and write fifteen-page rough drafts. 


All this extra work is apparently paying off. 


This week, an all-time high of seven NTCC scholars returned from presenting at the National Collegiate Honors Council held in Orlando, Florida.  To be sure, many of the NCHC’s university- and community-college honors program members are still stymied by COVID-related travel restraints.  California colleges must respect travel bans that prohibit travel to states their legislature deems “homophobic.”  Still, NTCC on its 14th run, had a larger contingent of qualifying scholars than any other community college in the United States.   Also for the first time, NTCC had more presenting student scholars than any university in State of Texas. 


The National Collegiate Honors Council is the oldest and largest association for honors programs, and honors colleges in the United States.  It comprises 900 member-institutions, both universities and community colleges.

For the eighth time, NTCC’s film panel (above) was accepted as one of the fifty general sessions of the conference.  Though university groups generally dominate these sessions, the singularity of the film culture at NTCC, its status as an “all-honors endeavor,” and awards at the state level continue to impress judges.  The film panel began with chair, Brian Ramirez, first-place winner of the McGraw-Hill award last May.  He explained the Mozart Hypothesis at NTCC, that teenage scholars can make significant cultural contributions, if supported by something akin to what Mozart had in his father, Leopold.  Next honors director, Dr. Andrew Yox examined the windfall of student awards associated with the films, starting with research, and posters, and ending with the “fill-in-the-blank potential of niche cinema to corroborate a student’s leadership, public service, and technological alacrity.  Cade Bennett, who stars both as Bo Pilgrim, and Carroll Shelby in two NTCC films, examined the steps he took in agreeing to assume a main roles, emphasizing that his memory and confidence improved with the effort.  Phi Theta Kappa-Honors Coordinator, Andrea Reyes, was next.  Reyes has been a key reason NTCC has had films during two COVID summers.  She emphasized how the films worked as a fantastic type of orientation for honors students, one that mixed a growth in team feeling, and fun times, hanging out.  Israel Perez, the scholar of the Bo Pilgrim film, noted how his summertime research helped him develop an article that was accepted for inclusion in the Texas Handbook, the primary reference for scholarship in Texas history.  John Rodriguez, who also performed film research, noted in turn that his early start helped shape his work on Hispanic Quietism, that will be published by the state journal, Touchstone.

The panel explained how the films are sustained by systematic support at NTCC and among college patrons.  Jerald and Mary Lou Mowery from Mount Vernon, for example, have been stalwart film supporters since 2014.  The panel showed film clips of previous NTCC films as well as a new trailer on the coming Carroll Shelby film.


The NTCC contingent also included a record number of poster presenters. Scholarly posters are another part of the NTCC tradition, perfected annually each May in which all honors students participate before community supporters of the college.  In addition to Israel Perez

reporting on “Bo Pilgrim and the Protestant Ethic,” and John Rodriguez on “Hispanic Quietism, three other award-winning NTCC scholars exhibited their work.  This included Aaliyah Avellaneda who last spring won a first-in-the-state Caldwell Award, and a Great Plains Honors Council Britt Award for her work on “Texas Ticketsplitter,” Bill Ratliff.  Hilda Rodriguez, the 2021 Chitsey Award winner, presented her work on the story of Esmerelda, a Hispanic immigrant who experienced a continuing pattern of “domestic isolationism” throughout her life.  Finally, Maxime Risner, NTCC Student Council president, who came in second in the McGraw Hill Poster contest last May, and second in the recent poetry contest, presented her work on the decline of rural veterinarians.

Dr. Andrew Yox noted: “the NTCC presence at the NCHC dates back to former president, Dr. Charles Florio’s enthusiasm for this association, and his hope that NTCC would be involved.  Since then, we have had a stalwart student minority in honors who have risen to the occasion each year.  The systematic support of the whole college community has been their foundation, and the college’s mission of ‘student success’ their guiding star.  Without remarkable support from administrators, donors, the business office, parents, and professors—professors who are providing a viable second-year experience here, we would not have this level of intervarsity success on a national level.” 

Honors Northeast, the Honors program of NTCC is now accepting applications for the 2021-22 school year. Honors students at NTCC must take two honors courses each semester on the main NTCC campus, but otherwise can be dual-enrollment homeschoolers, high schoolers, or traditional college students. More than half of the college’s twenty honors students receive both donor-backed, and institution-backed scholarships, more than covering their matriculation.  For information on how to apply, write ayox@ntcc.edu.  

Poster Presenters above: Cade Bennett, Israel Perez, Aaliyah Avellaneda, Hilda Rodriguez, and Maxime Risner