By Kathryn Kleinhen
For those students unaware, LAHC’s honor society is part of a statewide organization called Alpha Gamma Sigma. The club, which has chapters at community colleges all over California (including one at El Camino), gives members a chance to receive academic (and community service) recognition and, potentially, valuable scholarships.
If students are active members of the club and can meet the minimum criteria, they are eligible for both the service and the academic scholarships given at the state level. These awards are given out each year during the spring convention weekend for all of the AGS. chapters. Debbie Rodriguez, president of the Harbor chapter, expressed a positive experience about the yearly convention:
“The AGS.spring convention is held once a year for all of the chapters in California,” she said. ‘’At the convention, you get to meet AGS. members from all over the state, as well as attend workshops and an awards banquet. I went last year and it was lots of fun!”
The state-level scholarships are the Ed Walsh and the Charles Bell Scholarships, the service awards, and the Kathleen D. Loly and the Virginia Coffey Scholarships, the academic awards. There is also the Robert Mantovani Scholarship, a joint academic and service award. Active members with GPA’s of at least 3.0 are eligible to receive service scholarships and active members with GPA’s of at least 3.7 are eligible to receive academic scholarships.
Additionally, to qualify as an active member of the AGS, a student must complete a minimum of 30 community service hours.
There is also a Fall Regional Conference, similar to the Spring Convention that has required attendance for scholarship applicants. The Spring Convention has already taken place, and one LAHC student, Kirk Duran, won a scholarship.
Recipients of local club scholarships, which result from money raised by the Harbor chapter, do not have to meet the same GPArequirements as the state scholarships. For these awards, the club holds bake sales, comedy shows and other fundraising events to raise money and it is decided by the local chapter where the scholarships go. This and the service requirement, 15 hours of which has to be done outside of the AGS, give members an opportunity to engage and work in ways separate from, purely, academic.
Big benefits of the club can be receiving academic recognition and striving for scholarships for some members, but AGS is also very much a community service club at LAHC.
“Joining AGS isn’t just about the money (scholarships) or how good it looks on college applications (transcript notation),” Rodriguez said. “It is more about getting to know your fellow students while being actively involved in the community as well as helping each other out during our college careers. Overall, it is a great place to be yourself, have fun and take a break from studying.”
Some of the community services the club does, according to Rodriguez, includes, “serving food to the homeless on Thanksgiving, adopting a family during the holidays, volunteering at marathons and participating in beach clean-ups.” She also said that the club is still planning community service events for the spring.
The AGS motto is, “Add to good character, knowledge and judgment.” This is similar to what Rodriguez states about benefits of the club:
“What I’ve personally gotten out of AGS is the networking between faculty and peers alike and I’m sure other members can say the same. Being in the AGS gives us the opportunity to work with teachers who eventually get to know us on a first name basis, which is a huge plus if you ever need letters of recommendation. It also gives us connections with like-minded individuals who are working towards the same goals as we are and can help us to further succeed in school.”
For students interested in active or non-active membership or just to help brainstorm fundraising ideas, the club meets Fridays at 2 p.m. in room NEA 209. Additionally, every other Saturday they have a snack table set up between the NEA buildings.