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Two COD Students Receive Academic Honor 

Two College of the Desert (COD) students were selected for the 2013 Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) All-California Academic Team. This is an extraordinary honor to be acknowledged in this way. There are 112 community colleges in California, serving over 2.4 million students and only 80 students were selected for this event acknowledgement.
The students chosen from COD are Octavio Garcia and Thomas Lopez. Both want to instill the importance of education to their children. PTK Faculty Advisor, Alejandro Jazan, accompanied them to the luncheon in Sacramento to receive the awards. The trip was funded by the College of the Desert Foundation.
Garcia, originally from Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, came to the U.S. at the age of 12. Arriving during his middle school years, he learned to speak, read and write English. Now he is working toward his Associate’s degree in Business Administration and plans to transfer to a university. Garcia has been on the Dean’s List three times. His goal is to own a restaurant to provide a better life for his family, jobs for others, and to give back to the community and schools that helped him achieve his goals.  
As the first in his family to go to college there is a lot of pressure on Lopez’ shoulders to succeed. He didn’t know what to expect when he first walked through the doors of COD. After completing his first semester and making the Dean’s List, he realized that higher education could be a calling. Lopez has maintained his GPA and has been on the Dean’s List every semester since arriving at COD. He is preparing to transfer to a university to continue his studies in art and graphic design.  
PTK is an international academic honor society for community college students. It is the community college equivalent to the Phi Beta Kappa society in 4-year institutions. Their purpose is to recognize and encourage scholarship among two-year college students and to provide opportunities for individual growth and development through participation in honors, leadership, service, and fellowship programming.
The All-California Academic Team is chosen each year at the state level from nominations received from the local colleges. Selected students receive stipends and scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $1,500 each and become eligible to be considered for the All-USA Academic Team. Nominees must have a proven record of academic rigor; a grade point average of at least 3.5; participation in honors programs; awards, honors, and recognition for academic achievement; and service to the college and community. Students must also write an essay centered around one endeavor undertaken by the student that utilized his or her community college education to improve his or her community or school. Judges look for innovative, creative, original and lasting achievements or undertakings.
For more information about the Phil Theta Kappa program at College of the Desert, please contact the faculty advisor, Jazan, at

March 2013