The National Honor Society was founded in 1921 by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Its purpose was to recognize and encourage academic achievement in students while developing other characteristics essential to citizens in a democracy.
The National Honor Society (NHS) is not just an honor roll of top students. The National Honor Society chapter establishes standards for membership that are based on a student’s performance in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership and character. These criteria for selection form the foundation upon which NHS and its activities are built.
Students who have a cumulative grade point average of 85 percent, or a B, or a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or an equivalent standard of excellence, are eligible for membership in the National Honor Society. They must also meet certain standards of performance in the above-mentioned areas of service, leadership and character.
Service – a student is judged on his voluntary contributions to his school and community, done without compensation and performed with a positive, courteous attitude.
Leadership – a student leader should be resourceful, a problem solver, a supporter of school activities, a source of ideas, and a dependable person with a positive outlook on life.
Character – a student should observe principles of morality and ethics, be cooperative, honest, reliable, respectful of others, and conform to a good and clean lifestyle.
National Honor Society chapters elect officers who are supervised by a teacher adviser in managing the chapter as a student organization. I am proud to say that my granddaughter Shannon, who is a junior in high school, has just been inducted into the National Honor Society and she has also been elected President of the Society for next year when she is in her senior year.
The Motto for the National Honor Society is Noblesse Oblige which is a French expression meaning nobility is obligated. Another way of saying this is – To Whom Much is Given, Much is Required. The colors of the National Honor Society are blue and gold.
Today, the purpose of the National Honor Society is to help its student members to maintain and improve the qualities which won them selection. Membership in the Society is both an honor and a commitment. Students in the National Honor Society are expected to continue their dedication to academic achievement, to demonstrate strong character, and to perform community service.
While we have the students in our grasp as they are developing into young adults, it is imperative that we foster virtuous qualities along with book learning. What better avenue can we choose for this worthy task than the National Honor Society.