by Esmeralda Vargas
Phi Theta Kappa Hallmark Awards represent the four values that the honor society holds, which are hallmarks of scholarship, leadership, service and fellowship. The Hallmark awards are a series of essay questions that each chapter answers in order to be recognized for the excellence that their officers and or advisors have demonstrated individually, as well as the excellence the chapter itself has demonstrated as a team. The Hallmark awards, question the chapters about events, research, community service etc. they have conducted and how these contributions have positively effected their members and/or community. Chapters from 2-year colleges compete with one another to win the awards given from participating in this venture. In addition, participating in the Hallmark Awards encourages officers, members, and advisors to continue their ambition to further the academic environment in their colleges.
Composing Hallmark essays is very lengthy journey that can be demanding to complete, but although it may seem challenging with the right guidance it can be a successful process. I recently completed writing the Hallmarks essays for my chapter, Alpha Theta Phi, and wish to give future officers some advice that can make their experience with completing the essays run smoothly. Some advice I would give to future officers when completing Hallmark essays is to create a prior deadline to the one that is assigned, doing so helps the chapter fix any last minute mistakes effectively with time to spare. In addition, what I recommend for future officers to do when writing these essays is to work as a team. Instead of individually sitting down to answer the Hallmark questions, sit down as a team and work together to answer the questions at hand. Working together to answer these questions creates an academic environment that will motivate one to focus and finish writing the Hallmark essays. Also working as team is beneficial because another officers can help elaborate on a topic or event one might have forgotten about. What my chapter and I found effective was to plan two or three hour-long officers meetings where we all met to work on the Hallmarks together.
Maintaining a specific word count for the essays is something I personally struggled with. A bit of advice I would offer to future officers who encounter this challenge, are be the following three steps. First, write down any thoughts and ideas you may have on the topic to be answered. Completing this step first allows one to think about that it is they want to incorporate into the essay and also helps refresh their memory on events and projects the chapter was worked on in the past few months. Second, eliminate all unnecessary material that does not relate to the question at hand, and turning what was written into short and concise answers. Lastly, check for any grammatical errors and make sure what you have written directly and concisely answers the inquiry.