Whitefield Academy Blog
Measuring Success: The Inaugural Year of NHS
Amidst the trickle of Friday folders, flyers, emails, parent alerts, newsletters, and school communications that endlessly drip into a parent’s daily routine, there came a unique envelope in the mail last month. Our eldest daughter, a junior, had been invited to apply to the National Honor Society, the oldest society of its kind in the country.
Because this is the inaugural year of Whitefield Academy’s National Honor Society (NHS), we were eager to learn more about this invitation. After a quick perusal of the NHS website, we found the purpose of the society was more than an organization that promoted good grades. After all, scholarship alone does not make one truly successful.
There are four pillars of membership as articulated by the NHS:
- Scholarship: Per national guidelines, at a minimum, students must have a cumulative GPA of 85, B, 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, or equivalent standard of excellence. (Each school chapter is allowed to require a higher cumulative GPA.)
- Service: This involves voluntary contributions made by a student to the school or community, done without compensation.
- Leadership: Student leaders are those who are resourceful, good problem solvers, and idea contributors. Leadership experiences can be drawn from school or community activities while working with or for others.
- Character: The student of good character is cooperative; demonstrates high standards of honesty and reliability; shows courtesy, concern, and respect for others; and generally maintains a clean disciplinary record.
Katie Theiss, Whitefield faculty member and NHS adviser, saw NHS as a natural fit with Whitefield’s vision. She communicated that, “Our community has been asking for an NHS chapter for a few years now. As I looked into the organization, it’s history, impact, and what it stands for, I saw how our values at Whitefield worked with the National Honor Society. I liked the idea of NHS for Whitefield because it allows us to celebrate and honor our school’s natural focus on academics and service.”
After being invited to apply, each student’s application was reviewed by five faculty advisers who voted whether or not the student should be invited to then join NHS. Based on these votes, eight students received invitations to be included in Whitefield Academy’s National Honor Society chapter in its inaugural year.
As we sit down in the auditorium to honor the inductees, the ceremony is serious yet enjoyable, a celebration and a call. The students are reminded that our primary calling is to live out our Christian faith in all of life’s arenas. If all our scholarship, leading, serving, and character-building is for self, it is empty indeed. At Whitefield gatherings we often hear Milton’s call, “The end then of learning is to repair the ruins of our first parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, to be like him…” Dr. Johnston, the school’s headmaster, reminded us once again of this purpose in all our achievements.
While placing the new NHS pin on my daughter’s sweater, I mused about the timeline of her life, one that is ablaze with the oncoming of her future. I remembered her graduation from preschool, complete with caps and gowns and the “Rainbow Connection.” I remembered her first prayers, her first bike ride without training wheels, her first soccer game, and her first broken arm. Her dad wanted to give her a kiss on the cheek after pinning her pin, and I couldn’t help but think of another kiss he would perhaps give her at another ceremony in the future.
It is not in our students’ hands that they will build their best lives or find their highest happiness, but it is in the hands of their creator, who will lead them to Himself, the most excellent way. The NHS pledge may not be expressly Christian, but the academic who is seeking after glorifying the Lord finds herself already prepared to fulfill it, thanks be to God.
“I pledge to uphold the high purposes of the National Honor Society
to which I have been selected;
I will be true to the principles for which is stands;
And will maintain and encourage the high standards
Of scholarship, leadership, service, and character.”