It’s an honor to participate: A look at NHS and honors courses

National Honors Society organizes to help out– Hannah Ho, Staff Writer

National Honor Society’s applications recently came to a close on Feb. 9, leaving current sophomores and juniors waiting in anticipation to get the final decisions in early March.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) officially established NHS in 1921. Though many local and regional honor societies existed prior to 1921, no nationwide organization had been founded. The National Honor Society (NHS) is the nation’s first organization established to recognize outstanding high school students.
More than just an honor roll, NHS serves to recognize those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership and character. These characteristics have been associated with membership in the organization since its beginning in 1921.
Today, it is estimated that more than one million students participate in NHS activities. NHS chapters are found in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. territories and Canada. Chapter membership not only recognizes students for their accomplishments, but also challenges them to develop themselves further through active involvement in school activities and community service.
Four main purposes have guided chapters of NHS from the beginning: to create enthusiasm for scholarship, to stimulate a desire to render service, to promote leadership and to develop character in the students of secondary schools.
These purposes are also reflected in the criteria used for membership selection in each local chapter. The NHS application requires applicants to have above a 3.6 GPA, at least two out-of-school service activities, at least two in-school activities and three teacher recommendations. “As long as you meet all the requirements of NHS, you will be accepted,” co-sponsor Jenn Bauer said
This is Bauer’s first year co-sponsoring NHS. NHS has around 200 members and they meet monthly. “The qualities looked for in NHS members are being a good leader, scholarly and willing to be involved,” Bauer said.
Although the size of 200 members prevents the honor society from being a tight-knit community, everyone stays updated and connected through various forms of communications such as a NHS Facebook group and emails.
Typically, activities most NHS members partake in are bake sales, community service projects such as breakfasts and tutoring. There are also activities NHS is particularly known for. “Walk for the Homeless, The Sam Williams Walk/Run and Kenya Connect are big events,” Bauer said.
Secretary Yosi Talaminaei joined NHS her sophomore year. She is on the board with presidents Timmy Trapaidze and Amani Ahmed. Talaminaei is a senior and her role as secretary in NHS comes with multiple responsibilities. “On the NHS board I keep track of hours, attendance and send emails to keep everyone on track and updated,” Talaminaei said.
Junior Margot Bartol has been part of NHS for one year. To Bartol, the biggest value in being in NHS is the aspect of giving back to the community. “People want to join NHS mainly to help and partake in service activities,” Bartol said.

Weighing the worth of honors classes– Jake Klugerman, Staff Writer

When a student registers for classes, they find that most subjects have the option of taking an honors or on level course. Students choose to take, or not take, honors for a variety of reasons.
One of the most common reasons students choose to take an honors class over regular is because honors classes are weighted, and they help boost GPA. This can be a key factor that sways students who cannot decide which to take. “I mostly choose to take honors classes because if I get an A they really help to boost my GPA,” sophomore Ben Stoller said.
Teachers of honor level classes know that students like the fact that the class will help raise their GPA. However, they also hope that the students are taking the class in addition to other reasons than raising their GPA. “Honors classes should be taken by students who want to be challenged because they really make kids stretch themselves, and they have to be committed to do well,” health teacher Renee Simons said.
Students may make the decision to take honors solely because it helps their GPA, and not because they have any interest in being challenged academically. “I would not take honors classes if they did not raise my GPA because then I would have a lot of extra work and homework, and I would not get anything like a raised GPA for all the work I was doing,” Stoller said.
Teachers feel that taking honors classes is not necessarily a formula for success. “The kids that choose to take honors and want to learn more do well, but it is evident when kids are taking the class for the sole purpose of raising their GPA because they do not put in enough time and often do not do well,” Simons said.
Other students take honors because they truly like being challenged academically, and they feel that the on level classes will not do that for them, “I want to challenge myself, even though the other classes could be easier I will not gain as much from them if I am not being challenged,” sophomore Dylan Lee said
Students also believe that by taking honors classes they are better preparing themselves for the future, because they will be ready to take difficult college classes, and handle difficult tasks in their career. “I believe that by filling my course load with honors classes I will be very prepared when I am taking advanced college classes, because those classes are closer to honors then regular,” Lee said.
Honors classes can be your friend by raising your GPA, or your enemy by giving you a ton of work. It is important to consider this when choosing your classes. “I wouldn’t take an honors class in a difficult subject for me because I would not do well,” Stoller said.

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