While helping the community one person at a time, The Golden Key International Honour Society chapter at The University of Texas-Pan American has been recognized for going above and beyond their call of duty and received a gold standing from its national organization for the 2008-2009 academic year.
Consistently demonstrating their values of integrity, collaboration, innovation, respect, diversity, excellence and engagement has helped Golden Key obtain gold standing four times. Out of more than 360 chapters nationwide, they were one of 40 to recently be recognized at the 2009 National Conference in Orlando, Fla. Gold is the highest reporting standing in the society and is achieved by fulfilling all the requirements provided by the national organization.
The members of Golden Key are active on and off campus. They participate in events such as UTPA's Carnival of the Great Pumpkin Halloween celebration, HESTEC, UTPA's literacy festival FESTIBA and Make a Difference Day. In addition, Golden Key members hold school supply drives on a yearly basis to provide 50 children of Monte Cristo Elementary in Edinburg, Texas, with backpacks filled with supplies needed for school. Throughout the year, they work closely with other schools in collecting books and other materials needed for the success of local school children and hold various fundraisers to support their projects and organization.
"As Golden Key we have a mission of promoting education and literacy in order to motivate Valley children to continue higher education," said Vania Barrera, UTPA student and fundraising coordinator for Golden Key. "Our gold standing, however, is not only thanks to the hard work of our members who work for the cause, but also to the UTPA campus for the resources and support we receive."
Both Barrera and Reyes agree that true success doesn't come from the gold standing, but from knowing that they have made a difference in the community.
"It's self-rewarding when our members complete a project then see the smiling faces of the children," Reyes said. "It makes them feel good about what they're doing and motivates them to do more."
"This year has been a year full of hard work and fun," Barrera said. "Our success has definitely taken a lot of planning and coordination, but we look forward to continuing our service and collaborating with other organizations in promoting education as the golden key to success."