Hello Rocky Mountain Cascade Region!

School can be scary, but lucky for us honor students and amazing advisors this October is going to be nothing but fun!


This month's newsletter will cover:

Regional and District Updates
Fall Conference Announcments
Regional HIA Update
Get in the Spirit Costume Contest
More details on the New Logo Competition
Chapter Spotlight
Literary Submission
Monthly Poll

Regional News

Every month our Regional Team will give you a quick update on what's happening in our region and its districts:
Regional Update
by Kristian Reyes, Regional President


Hello Rocky Mountain Cascade Region!!!!


I hope you guys are pumped up about our Fall Conference next week! I’ve contacted every chapter in the region asking if they were going and have only heard back from half of you. I also asked for an update from each chapter and I loved reading about what you have planned for the year, and that some of you were working on both the College Project and the Honors In Action Project. I’ll be reaching out again after hallmark writing is completed to see how your projects went. I will be watching and following your progress on So make me proud and let’s show Phi Theta Kappa what the Rocky Mountain Cascade Region is made of. Let’s get those stars!!


Now back to Fall Conference: I’m so excited to see everyone. We have a lot planned for the conference, but I will only give you a sneak peek at our plans. (The rest is up to the team on how they want to surprise you.) We have a special guest coming to our conference, and she is our International Vice President for Division IV, Alexa Greer!! She is amazing; I’m sure you will love her. Ohh yeah! You’ve heard of pie-in-the-face right? Well we’re going to have it again. I have been targeted by at least twenty people, including my chapter team and regional team. So good luck to whoever gets to do it. We have eight workshops planned, the mock hallmark writing, a Regional Honors In Action project, and of course, FOOD!!! Did I mention we have giveaways?? 


I’ll see you at the Fall Conference.  Until next time, 
Kristian Reyes, RMC Regional President

Cassie James with a quick Northern District update:

Hey Northern District!

I checked in with all of you via email. I hope that your term is off to a smooth start. I'd love to hear what the chapters in my district are up too, so please shoot me an email and tell me what you've got going on!

Jason Ward is here with an Eastern District update:

Hey Eastern District!
I hope everyone is having a wonderful Fall term. Fall Conference is coming up, and I’m excited to see all the people I’ve met in the last year and a half again. The best part of this organization is meeting people from all over the country that share the drive for high academic achievement. If you’re not able to attend the Fall Conference this year, I hope that planning for the Spring Conference can come together. I want to offer my information to anyone who has questions about anything, or if you want to meet another Phi Theta Kappa member that you haven’t yet, I’m always open to hearing from you.
And a reminder that any of us are available to travel for your special events (orientation, Induction speakers, etc.) and would love to chance to help!
Jason Ward

Jantyne Bunce has our Western District Update:

Happy October Rocky Mountain Cascade Region!

I hope the start of the term has gone great for everyone! I am very excited to see everyone at the Fall Regional Honors In Action Conference in Salem, Oregon. There are so many great things planned for the conference. I would like to reiterate just how wonderful, knowledgeable, and inspirational the conferences can be, individually and for chapters. It also gives great opportunities to get to know your fellow officers on a bigger, deeper and more personal scale. Not to mention how great of an opportunity the conferences are to network through the PTK community. It is a fun time to be had by all! 

I look forward to seeing you all soon! 
Jantyne Bunce

More Updates

on the Fall Conference
by Ben Lawrence, Regional VP of Communication
  • We're ramping up towards our 2016 Regional Fall Conference! The conference is next week, starting on Friday, October 21st! Here's some more info on it:
  • The conference hotel is the Salem Double Tree by Hilton. The address is 1590 Weston Court NE, Salem, Oregon 97301. The deadline for the special RMC rate was was Friday September 23rd.
  • There's going to be tons of great workshops and speakers - including our very own Alexa Greer, Division IV International Vice President.
  • Pie-in-the-Face, giveaways, and HIA mock projects - oh my!
  • Beware: there will be Pumpkin Spice everywhere!'s a surprise.
  • There will be karaoke!
  • There will be a costume contest/party! More on that below.
  • New Regional Logo reveal! Please, please, please send in your submissions for the New Logo Contest!
  • The Regional Honors in Action project will finally come to fruition at the conference. For more info keep reading!

Regional Honors in Action Project

Hey RMC,

This year the regional team has been hard at work on an HIA. Some chapters pitched in on the research and gave us awesome sources that will definitely be in our write up. Now that the hard part is over, the fun part begins. This year at fall conference everyone will have an opportunity to be involved in our action project. It's going to be a surprise, so you'll just have to show up and see for yourself what's going on! Thank you to all those who have and will participate! 

-Cassie James, Northern District Executive

Bring your best, your scariest, and your wildest costumes to 2016's Regional Fall Conference next week and enter our Get in the Spirit Costume Contest for a chance to win prizes and reign supreme among fellow costumers and noncostumers alike!
The categories for possible costume prizes include:
  • Best Team Costume
  • Best Individual Costume
  • Most Creative Costume
  • Scariest Costume

New Logo Design Competition

We've previously announced that a new regional logo would be chosen from submissions by Phi Theta Kappa members of the Rocky Mountain Cascade Region. The logo design will be voted on by the region at our 2016 Fall Conference NEXT WEEK. The DEADLINE for all submissions is FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21st! Here's some more info about it:
  • The logo must include the following: mountains, a cascade, either "RMC" or "Rocky Mountain Cascade," and the words "Phi Theta Kappa."
  • The colors must be Phi Theta Kappa colors: blue, gold, and optionally white.
  • You must include both a banner version (such as our current banner topping this newsletter) and a button version (such as the hexagon on the left side of the banner topping this newsletter).

To submit a design, simply email it to
Submissions are open now!
Chapter Spotlight

Alpha Sigma Xi
Columbia Gorge Community College - The Dalles, OR

Chapter Officers (from left to right):
Carrie Simard - Executive Secretary
Michelle Gietl - Advisor
Chantelle Hickman -  Membership Coordinator Coordinator
Erica Flores - Service Coordinator
Bailey Mcmanus - President
Ben Lawrence - Vice President
Isaac Pickette - Fundraising Coordinator
Jon Neptune - Honors and Leadership Coordinator

Here's a word from Alpha Sigma Xi:

"Hey, Rocky Mountain Cascade Region, we hope that you all are having a great fall season! The Alpha Sigma Xi team is a hardworking and wonderful team. As individuals we’re driven and task-oriented. We are always looking for ways to improve ourselves, our community, and our education, and we are extremely proud to be a 5-Star Chapter!

There are a lot of steps that need to be taken to achieve this honor of being a 5-Star Chapter, but it’s actually not as hard as it seems. Most of the steps will be met simply by being an active and operating chapter and doing all of the Phi Theta Kappa projects. Last year, Alpha Sigma Xi spearheaded an award winning college project, the Clean Campus Project, for which we partnered with Columbia Gorge Community College’s faculty to clean up our Hood River Campus. For our HIA Project, our chapter did research on what was needed in our region of the US, and we ended up running information booths regarding Nestlé’s attempts to manufacture water bottles in the Columbia Gorge despite breaching a Native American treaty. This year our team is even busier: our chapter VP is also our Regional VP of Communications, our college project is a photography and social media project called Humans of CGCC, and our HIA is centered on high school education, drop-out rates, and graduation rates (we’re still researching and narrowing this project, but it should be good!)

Happy Fall Term, and we’ll see you at the Regional Fall Conference!"

How does your chapter get featured in the spotlight?
  • Any chapter that raises their chapter level to at least one start higher than last year will take immediate priority for the spotlight. This is part of our initiative to have every chapter in the region be at least a 2 Star chapter. No chapter is guaranteed to be featured in the spotlight, but this is the best way to do so.
  • Any chapter that demonstrates particular excellence will be considered for a spotlight. This can have to do with their College Project, Honors in Action Project, their overall chapter performance, or their achieving a higher star level than last year.
  • Any chapter that reaches out to us and asks to be featured, giving reasons to do so, will be considered for the Chapter Spotlight. You can reach out directly to your District Executive or to any other team member.
  • Any chapter that is nominated by any Phi Theta Kappa member will be considered.

Literary Submissions

A Good Influence
A short story by Benjamin Lawrence (aka Benjamin J. Law)
This story and others like it can be found in We Are Humans: A Collection of Short Stories, Poems, and Essays by Benjamin J. Law - coming to this winter.


   Stephen looked across the room at the young boy who stared back in an equally sardonic manner. Stephen liked his nephew well enough most of the time, but he hated watching the kid. Every time his sister had to run out of town on sudden business she would drop seven-year-old Nathan off at Stephen’s house because she knew his schedule was always clear. Stephen watched Nathan watching him and thought about his sister: off working and having dinner parties with her clients, and bringing in quite the paycheck. And he was here, in an almost empty house on the outskirts of Portland, hanging out with a seven-year-old and watching cartoons with the volume on mute.

   “You look pissed,” Nathan said after a while. He scrunched up his lips.

   “I’m not pissed. And don’t say pissed,” Stephen replied flatly. “Your mom will be pissed -- I mean -- angry with me.”

   “You just said pissed three times.” Nathan folded his arms and leaned against the brick fireplace that had remained unlit for going on a year and a half. He sat on the floor, and his uncle sat on the dirtied white couch across from him. “I can say whatever you say.”

   “No, I can say more things because I’m twenty-one years older than you. I can say words that you don’t even know yet.”

   “But, I will know them eventually, and I’ll make sure to let you know all the words I know then.”

   “That sounded like a threat,” Stephen said. He crossed his arms, looking more like his nephew than he'd care to admit, and slouched into the couch. Nathan shrugged. “How are you so sure that you’ll know all the words I know?”

   “It’s just part of growing up, duh.”

   “You don’t wanna grow up to be like me, kid.”

   “I wouldn’t know.”

   “Trust me,” Stephen sighed; “You don’t want to. I wouldn't even be eating if not for disability funds.”

   Stephen had bought a nice house, the one he still lived in, when he was twenty-two and paid it off by the time he was twenty-five. He had owned his own company and grew wealthy fast, but he didn’t handle the money responsibly. When the economy crashed Stephen’s company went belly up, and he lost all his assets. He hadn’t been a drinker, but on the same day that he realized he’d lost everything, he also realized it was a good day to get drunk. In an intoxicated fit, Stephen attempted to throw himself from a bridge. As a result, he’d ended up with a bad back, unable to work, and living on disability pay from the government. When he woke up the next morning, he realized that he might have ruined his whole life.

   “What’s a disability funds?” Nathan cocked his head to the side. Stephen looked away. The sun sprinkled through the window and touched his face. He took several deep breaths as his personal trainer had instructed him to do when he felt his tensions rising. Since his attempted suicide, Stephen had gotten in better shape than he’d been in his entire life as he worked through the injury. But, that was a very, very thin silver lining. “What’s a disability funds?” Nathan pressed.

   “Nothing, kid… I shouldn’t have said anything.” Stephen cleared his throat and leaned forward as if to get up. He paused and looked across the room at the confused Nathan. “You hungry?”


   “Want me to cook?”

   “What can you make?” Nathan seemed skeptical.

   “Sandwiches?” Stephen raised his eyebrow.




   Nathan sprawled himself out on the couch and patted his belly. “Not the best sandwich I’ve ever had, Uncle Stephen, but it was still pretty good.” Stephen laughed and plopped down on the couch away from Nathan. “Whoa...I’ve never heard you laugh before…” Nathan gaped at his uncle.

   “What?” Stephen craned his neck to look at his nephew. “What do you mean you’ve never heard me laugh?”

   “I mean that you never laugh. You never even smile. You must always be sad.”

   Stephen opened his mouth to say something but found no words. He slowly pressed his lips together and cleared his throat. He couldn’t really deny what Nathan had said. He pretty much was always sad. Nathan only noticed because Stephen’s sister, Nathan’s mom, was always so happy. Stephen questioned why she even left her son with him. He knew he wasn’t a good influence on the kid.

   “Did I upset you?” Nathan’s voice interrupted Stephen’s thoughts. Stephen looked up to see Nathan lying upside down with his back arched. He was staring intently at Stephen.

   “No,” Stephen said after a moment. “No, I’m not upset, Nathan. I’m just…” He paused. He knew he shouldn’t be sharing things about his life with his seven-year-old nephew. “I’ve just made some decisions I really regret. I’ve lost all my dreams…”

   Nathan flipped around and sat up straight. “When I lose one of my old dreams, I dream new dreams.” Nathan pursed his lips. “When was the last time you got a new dream?”

   “Well,” Stephen took a moment to think. “I’m not sure, kid.”

   “That’s the problem with growing up,” Nathan observed.

   “What is?”

   “When you grow up, you start regretting and stop dreaming… Mom does it, too; she regrets not building a better relationship with you. I think that’s why she brings me here a lot – you know, to help bridge the gap, as she says at work a lot.”

   Stephen sat up straighter. He felt a soft pounding in his forehead. There was a sharp pain like a stinging in his gut. It was the feeling of a sudden realization that can change someone’s life. “Did your mom say that?

   “She talks about it a lot,” Nathan answered. “I’m getting tired. I think I’ll take a nap.” He rolled up and put his face against the couch cushion. A watery film formed over Stephen’s eyes as he watched his nephew drift asleep. It dawned on him then that his sister hadn’t been afraid that Stephen would influence Nathan because it was Nathan who she hoped would influence Stephen. He slouched into the couch and, following his nephew’s lead, closed his eyes to rest.

More info on Literary Submissions

The Rocky Mountain Cascade Region's members are some of the smartest and most articulate people in the world! We want to showcase that. Starting today you can submit an essay, poem, or short story for a chance to have it featured in this monthly newsletter! Don't be shy, and don't be afraid -- we'd love to see your work. No submission is guaranteed to be published in the newsletter, but all submissions will be reviewed and considered. 

All submissions should be sent to (our Regional VP of Communication's email).

Literary Submission Guidelines:
  • No vulgar language or themes.
  • No longer than two pages for each submission (though we aren't opposed to doing installments on longer stories, essays, or poems).
  • Finally, you must make the subject field something to the effect of "Regional Literary Submission: Poem/Short Story/Essay." This is vital for a submission, or it may not be published.
Monthly Poll Question

Every month from now on the region will have the chance to vote on a poll put forward by the Regional Newsletter. This question may be for fun, but will usually be in order to address any issues the region may need resolved. The data from these polls will be collected and utilized, and we thank you for your participation!

In the spirit of our Fall Honors in Action Conference next week, which of the eight 2016/17 HIA themes is your chapter team using for your project?

A. THEME 1: Myth and Reality
B. THEME 2: Individualism and Collectivism
C. THEME 3: Rights and Responsibilities
D. THEME 4: Peace and War
E. THEME 5: Beauty and Vulgarity
F. THEME 6: Natural and Engineered
G. THEME 7: Innovation and Replication
H. THEME 8: Nostalgia and Pathos

Click here to submit your answer.

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