By Adam Silvernail
On Jan. 31, Ellicottville Central School is having a National Honor Society (NHS) sponsored middle school dance. This school dance is probably fairly average, though maybe the NHS is looking for some bright minds to induct into their organization.
I’m far more interested in the NHS itself. I myself don’t know too much about it, so I figured that this would be a great opportunity to educate us all.
The National Honor Society is an organization that recognizes outstanding high school students for upholding the values of character, scholarship, leadership and service.
The closest thing to a representative the NHS has here at ECS is Mr. Blair Wood, a mathematics/physics teacher that also manages the local NHS details. I took some time to ask him a series of questions about the NHS. My first question was, “When did the NHS begin?
“National Honor Society began in 1921,” Mr. Wood answered. “Ellicottville Central School has had a chapter since long before I started teaching here.” Their 100-year anniversary is actually right around the corner. I wonder if they’ll do anything for it.
My next question was, “How does a student become a member of the NHS?”
“Students must have a minimum cumulative non-rounded average of 90 percent to meet the basic scholarship requirement,” he said. “Then, they need to fill out some paperwork where they indicate their commitment to character, leadership and service during their high school careers.
“They also need a recommendation letter from someone outside of the ECS community,” Wood continued. “A faculty committee approves their admittance into NHS based on the qualifications they see.” That application process seems lengthy, but it is probably more streamlined that it sounds.
My third question was “How often do students that apply actually get into the NHS?”
“The process of entrance into NHS has become fairly streamlined over the past several years,” Wood said. “If a student meets the scholarship, character, leadership and service requirements as set forth by the Ellicottville Central School chapter, they will become NHS members.
“On occasion, we have seen students who meet the initial scholarship requirement but don’t complete the rest of the process to present to the selection committee,” he continued. “I think we’ve missed out on some excellent prospective members of NHS in the past simply because they didn’t think they would get in and didn’t complete the necessary paperwork to state their cases. The old adage about missing 100 percent of the shots you don’t take comes to mind.”
My fourth question was “How many students at ECS are a part of the NHS?”
“ECS currently has 10 seniors who are members of NHS,” he said. “New juniors will be inducted soon.” So that number will probably double in a few months. The junior class is larger than the senior class though, so maybe that number will increase by more than double.
My final question was “What advantages does the NHS give its members?”
Mr. Wood said, “The main advantage is found in college applications. NHS may elevate a student’s status among other applicants to a given university. There are also some minor perks within ECS that come with NHS membership, including recognition at graduation.” That can be quite valuable, especially if you don’t haven’t taken many electives that would make you stand out in a crowd.
The National Honor Society is a great organization, and every junior with an average of 90 percent or above should consider applying. The advantages of being a member are very useful when trying to get into colleges or if you want to brag to your friends that didn’t get in.