Passing the Torch: National Honor Society inducts new members

On the day National Honor Society would announce its new members, applicants waited in advisory, some anxious for the final announcement. NHS members walked into the centers, each carrying a stack of envelopes addressed to those who had been chosen. They went to new members, handing each a letter and pinning a gold and blue ribbon to his or her shirt.

“I was both nervous and excited,” junior Micaela C. said. “I wasn’t sure how the ‘application process’ would go, or if I was good enough to get in, but I was still happy.”

Kerr’s chapter of NHS began in the second year after the school opened in 1994. French teacher Beryl Hogshead was its first sponsor. Teachers Antoinette Maness-Richards and Karen Maciekowich became the sponsors in 2002 when Hogshead retired.

NHS is a national association of students across the United States that is meant to show character, leadership, and scholarship. To qualify, a student must have an unweighted GPA of 3.4, exhibit character and leadership, and perform service in school and the community. Each student needs at least a total of 80 points: 60 are possible from GPA, 20 from character, 10 from leadership and 10 from service. To assess a student’s character and leadership staff members are asked to evaluate students they know.

“The final decision is in the hands of the chapter council,” Maness said. “The chapter council consists of the assistant principal, one counselor, and four teachers selected by the officers based on who they feel are close to students.”

Out of the juniors and seniors who qualified for the NHS application process, 75 were accepted.

“That’s a lot more than before and that’s because a lot more qualified this year. Typically, we [accept] about 40 or 50,” Maness said.

Junior Princess A., one of the new members, participated in the induction ceremony and the lighting of the ceremonial candles on December 4. She said she is happy to join the NHS family.

“It signifies the passing of the torch, establishing unity among members,” Princess said. “It made me feel like I was a part of a big family.”

Junior Alex V. enjoyed guest speaker Jan Kolk’s speech’s the most. Kolk spoke about the sense of pride she had when she herself was inducted into NHS at her high school 40 years ago.

“I liked Mrs. Kolk’s speech because unlike the pre-written speech by officers, her speech seemed natural and helped us connect to it,” he said.

For junior Mary D., the experience was rather tense.

“I was walking, and I was wearing heels. I’m not good with heels,” she said. “I was scared about falling and burning everything to the ground.”

Junior Vu N. was nervous yet excited to be inducted into NHS.

“I was so lost in the moment that I didn’t get what Mrs. Maness said about my tie,” he said.

For junior Jennifer H., the experience was one to remember.

“I felt proud of my achievements and how they got me further in life,” she said.

For junior Tony L., however, the experience was the opposite of good.

“NHS made it feel like I was in a more competitive environment,” he stated. “There was a lot of distrust.”

Senior Sonya D., who has been an NHS member since her junior year, says the organzation has helped her in life.

“It help me fit most of the requirements for scholarships and be active in the community and take responsibility,” Sonya said. “It helped me take the leader role that I never took before.”

Micaela said being a member of NHS recognized not only her academic achievements, but also her community involvement.

“I wanted to get in so I could say ‘I am worthy of this recognition!’”