By Jeannette Cruz
GCU News Bureau
Katherine Currah had tears in her eyes as she reflected on what it meant to be among the newest inductees in the Grand Canyon University Chapter of Alpha Chi National Honor Society.
“I was told that I wouldn’t amount to a whole lot. My pediatrician, as a child, told my mother I would be unable to read and I could barely speak,” Currah said. “Growing up, I was a very anxious child and I failed in school.”
Yet there was Currah, an educational studies major from Las Vegas, sitting among 55 GCU students on Saturday as the newest Alpha Chi members who have exemplified the highest academic achievement and commitment.
Currah, a senior, began to see GCU as an option after her mother, Silvi Sullivan, pursued her master’s degree from GCU. She didn’t always know what the next day would bring, but she remained focused on her studies. Now, she’ll have a story to share with her future students and families facing similar challenges.
“Now I can look back and say, ‘I did it. You can too,’” said Currah.
Sullivan has no doubt her daughter will achieve her teaching dreams.
“I’m just really happy to be here today,” Sullivan said. “There were a lot of circumstances that led me to apply to GCU for my master’s and that was an incredible experience that led me to pursue my passion and now my daughter can pursue hers. This is when you go, ‘Thank you, Lord.’”
Alpha Chi is one of the largest college honor societies in the world. Juniors, seniors, graduate students and doctoral students in the top 10 percent of their classes are selected by the faculty each year on the basis of leadership, character and service. Most students also have a cumulative college GPA of 3.8 or greater. Members have opportunities for special research, presentations and travel, in addition to community service projects and other activities of the organization.
“It’s always a remarkable experience and a great time to get all of our high-performing, high-academic achieving students together,” said Breanna Naegeli, Assistant Dean of the Honors College. “These students put in so much time, energy and effort and they don’t always know that recognition is going to come from that – so to be able to stop and recognize that work is very meaningful to them and their families.”
During the ceremony, members and their families heard from Dr. Antoinette Farmer-Thompson, Dean of the Honors College, and board member Anna Confrancesco, who shared her personal testimony.
Confrancesco shared how she had the opportunity to present her passion and research on human sex trafficking at a national convention in Louisville, Ky. last spring.
“It was an experience that I was moved by because I got to meet so many incredible individuals and I was exposed to many eye-opening ideas,” said Confrancesco.
She then encouraged students to take advantage of the opportunities Alpha Chi has to offer.
“You are here for a reason,” she said. “You are talented. You are driven. You are also innovative and creative, so showcase that talent.”
Contact Jeannette Cruz at (602) 639-6631 or email@example.com