National Honor Society at THS

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 By Dagney Palmer

 LEESBURG, VA – What is the National Honor Society? In the words of one of its sponsors, Mrs. Courtney, “[NHS is] an organization of students who use their talents to serve the community and inspire others to do the same.” The national organization was established to honor students who demonstrate excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, and character. “Students work with others like them who are interested in taking charge of service projects for their school and community,” Mrs. Courtney explained.
 The purpose of NHS is not only to recognize and honor successful students, but to challenge and encourage them to remain involved in school activities and community service. As stated in the NHS constitution, the goal of the organization is “to create enthusiasm for scholarship, stimulate a desire to render service, and promote leadership in the students of secondary schools.” There are many benefits of being involved in NHS, like the opportunities for service and leadership that are available through the organization. Teachers and students alike agree that membership in NHS is an extremely valuable addition to any application or recommendation. “It is a plus for a college or job resume,” said Mrs. Courtney.
 The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) started the National Honor Society in 1921 under the leadership of Dr. Edward Rynearson, a high school principal in Pittsburgh, PA. It was then that the society was equipped with its own constitution, emblem, and motto.
 In 1929, the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) was formed for middle school students, and it possesses its own constitution and handbook. The NJHS was formed with the same goal in mind but with the added purpose of citizenship.
 To be a member of the National Honor Society, students must fill out an application, get recommendations from two teachers, and write an essay. The nomination process opened October 1st of this year, and the deadline for nomination is January 12th, 2012. Selection is made by a vote of the five-member faculty council. Those who are selected get to participate in a special induction ceremony (ours was held Tuesday, December 6th during Advisory). Once a member, each student assumes specific obligations that include personal and group community service. At least one million students participate in NHS. Chapters can be found in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, many United States territories, and Canada.
 There is standard selection criteria set by the NASSP for becoming a member of NHS. First of all, a student must possess a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale). Secondly, the student must show voluntary contributions to the school/community without direct financial or material compensation. Some chapters require a specific quantity of hours for a student to be considered.
Next, the student must show developed leadership skills by being a good problem-solver who is involved in or promotes school activities, contributes ideas, and who is “both organized and an organizer” (from the NHS website).
 Lastly, students applying for membership in NHS must demonstrate good and reliable character by upholding ethical and moral principles, showing cooperation and responsibility, and being thoroughly honest and reliable. They must show respect, courtesy, and concern for others, and be a good citizen.
 As for Tuscarora’s NHS chapter, Mrs. Courtney said, “Any [junior or senior] who meets the academic requirement and can demonstrate above-average commitment to community service and has taken on leadership roles is offered membership in NHS.”
 As said before, this year’s new NHS members were inducted on December 6th. After this they had to commit to a personal community service project for the 2011-2012 school year. The current NHS members selected a group community service project at their November meeting. They are going to hold fundraisers to help fund computers for the residents of Good Hope House, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C. that provides housing and support to previously homeless families. All NHS members are personally going to collect a backpack filled with school supplies for the Good Hope House.
 Along with Mrs. Courtney, the sponsors of the Tuscarora NHS chapter are Mrs. Bass-Thomas and Mrs. Jackson. The president of the chapter is Tyler Ansell, and the vice president is Ryan Klemm. The secretary and treasurer, respectively, are Garret Mastria and Karoline Macias.