WJHS grad initiated into nation’s oldest honor society

Published 10:11 am Thursday, December 21, 2017

Nicholasville native Trey Merida joined a list of notable people such as  President Jimmy Carter, Senator Hillary Clinton and writer John Grisham when he joined Eastern Kentucky University’s highest honor society, Phi Kappa Phi.

Founded in 1897, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest and most selective honor society. A junior at EKU majoring in finance, Merida grew up in Jessamine County, where he attended West Jessamine High School and graduated Summa cum Laude in 2015.

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“I was a starter on the WJHS baseball team and won a state championship in 2015,” Merida said. “My mom, Cindy, graduated from the University of Kentucky and was on the gymnastics team. My father, Tony, graduated from Eastern Kentucky University and was on the baseball team. I have an older sister, Presley, who graduated from University of Kentucky in 2015 with a bachelor’s in accounting as well as a twin brother, Troy, who is majoring in finance at EKU with me.”

To be eligible for the society, Merida said a student has to be a junior and in the top 7.5 percent of his or her graduating class.

“You have to work hard and make really good grades for a few years to have a chance,” Merida said.

Membership into the society is by invitation only. Once Merida received an email with his invitation, he accepted and was immediately initiated into the society.

“There is no pledging,” Merida said. “The society exists to recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others. There are over 300 chapters across North America and more than one million members have been initiated.”

Not many students get the chance to be selected to join Phi Kappa Phi at EKU, Merida said, and doing so will help him build a good resume for his future. Having been allowed to be a part of the society is important to Merida, as he said it is the highest society that an EKU student aspires to.

“It was really more of them picking me instead of me picking them in that you have to be invited in to join,” Merida said. “Not only is it great recognition but it will help set you above the rest of the competition when it comes to building your resume and finding a job.”