Saint Mary's School Chapter of the National Honor Society inducted our most recent class of members in a formal ceremony attended by the school community and families, Sept. 21, 2022, in historic Eliza Battle Pittman Auditorium. Forty-two students of the junior and senior classes were inducted, bringing Saint Mary’s Chapter of the National Honor Society to just under 90 members.
It was a beautiful ceremony and has led to some questions about the National Honor Society and how one becomes a member. The National Honor Society elevates a school’s commitment to the values of scholarship, service, leadership, and character. These four pillars have been associated with membership in the organization since its inception in 1921.
Scholarship is a commitment to learning and growing on an educational path. While every individual’s educational pathway will look different and may vary, scholarship means making the most of the educational opportunities provided and seeking our learning, not only in school but personally. While invitation to join the Saint Mary’s Chapter of the National Honor Society, does have a minimum GPA, scholarship looks not only to that benchmark but also for individuals to have a desire to contribute to the world in positive way by building their knowledge, skills, and talents through everyday experiences.
Service is seeking out and engaging in meaningful service. It calls for a service mindset, which can best be exemplified by the desire to seek opportunities to help others. It may challenge your perspective or make you uncomfortable. Service is seeing a need and fulfilling it voluntarily. National Honor Society students are required to meet minimum service participation both when seeking initial membership and to maintain membership within the organization. Each year, chapter officers plan and execute a service project for the Honor Society that benefits the school and/or the community we serve.
Leadership builds on service and at times leadership and service can look similar. Leadership is carrying yourself with dignity and taking ownership and responsibility for your own actions and participation. Leadership does not always require an official title, though often we immediately think of roles in Student Government, captains of teams, or leadership in clubs. Leadership means being an agent, someone who takes action and responsibility of their own pathway.
Character is one that is often most hard to define and hardest to “see.” Character is valuing diverse cultures and building relationships that reflect love of self and also concern for others. There are often attributes we immediately recognize as belonging to good character: perseverance, respect, integrity, and honesty to name a few. Character is not about praiseworthy behavior but the personal commitment to ethical and compassionate decision making that affects you and others.
Here is a brief timeline on how membership is attained in the Saint Mary’s Chapter of the National Honor Society.
Late in the summer or early in the fall, qualifying juniors and seniors are extended an invitation to seek membership in the Saint Mary’s Chapter of National Honor Society. Invitations are extended to those juniors and seniors that meet the chapter bylaws of scholarship including, a 3.7 unweighted GPA on a 4.0 scale, they have attended Saint Mary’s for at least two full semesters and they have taken at least one advanced course in the prior two semesters. After invitations of membership are sent out, qualifying candidates complete membership forms that highlight the additional three pillars: character, service and leadership.
Students who choose to seek membership, submit these completed membership forms for review by the Faculty Council. The Faculty Council is comprised of five student facing faculty and/or staff who ultimately look through each candidate and choose as a group to extend membership or if membership is not extended, explain how to improve or strengthen and encourage them to apply again the following year if they are still eligible.
After membership has been extended, students are inducted and become full members of chapter. The chapter is run by the NHS Executive Council which is comprised of the Chapter Advisors, the president, a current senior who does not lead another club or organization on campus, the vice president, a current senior who does not lead another club or organization on campus, the corresponding and recording secretary, the Parliamentarian and Historian, the Coordinator of Service and Projects, and two recently inducted juniors who show potential in leading NHS or Saint Mary’s in their future. With membership of course, there are benchmarks that need to be met to maintain a status of good standing. This includes service to both Saint Mary’s and the community, commitment to scholarship by maintaining a 3.7 unweighted GPA, continued leadership in the community and upholding their strong character values.
At graduation, students who are still in good status are given cords and a gold tassel to wear on the mortar to signify their membership in the Saint Mary’s Chapter of the National Honor Society. For even more information, please read our Chapter’s Bylaws, noting that these are updated each year and may not be the same for next year’s induction.
National Honor Society Advisor and Instructor of Science