What is the National Honor Society?
The National Honor Society (NHS) is the nation's premier organization established to recognize outstanding high school students. More than just an honor roll, NHS serves to honor those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, and character. These characteristics have been associated with membership in the organization since its beginning in 1921. It is important to understand that chapter membership not only recognizes students for their past accomplishments, but challenges them to develop further through active involvement in school activities and community service.
Membership is awarded by a vote of a faculty council, appointed by the principal, representing the faculty as a whole. Membership is "an honor bestowed upon a select group of students by the faculty council...' in accordance with the National Honor Society Constitution, and is not a right accorded the academically eligible student. Membership in the National Honor Society is an award from the Bellbrook High School faculty and, as any award, is a privilege and not a right of any student.
History of the National Honor Society
In 1921, the National Association of Secondary School Principals officially established the National Honor Society. Though many local and regional honor societies existed prior to 1921, no nationwide organization had been founded. Under the leadership of Dr. Edward Ryerson, principal of the Fifth Avenue High School, Pittsburgh, Pa., the organization grew from the original Alpha Chapter at the fifth avenue school to more than 1000 chapters by 1930. Equipped with a constitution, an emblem and motto, and a group of dedicated principals as coordinators, the new NHS organization quickly developed into one of the country's leading educational groups.
One principal of the National Honor Society has guided its existence since its inception, and continues as its mission today: “To create enthusiasm for scholarship, to stimulate a desire to render service, to promote leadership, and to develop character in students of secondary schools.” (from the NHS constitution) These purposes also translate in the criteria used for membership selection in each local chapter.
Bellbrook High School Selection Process
The Bellbrook High School chapter of the National Honor Society has developed its selection procedure to comply with national standards and guidelines. However, the selection procedure used at Bellbrook High School may vary slightly from that of other schools, as national guidelines allow each chapter to modify its selection process to meet local needs. NHS is more than just an honor roll. The Bellbrook National Honor Society chapter establishes rules for selection for membership that are based upon a student's outstanding performance in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership, and character. These criteria for selection form the foundation upon which the organization and its activities are built. “Once selected, members have the responsibility to continue to demonstrate these qualities”
Who is Eligible?
Juniors and seniors who are enrolled as full-time students at Bellbrook High School are eligible for consideration as members. In order to be academically eligible, a student must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher. Grade point averages are figured based on the student's performance from the start of the freshman year through the end of the sophomore year for junior candidates and through the end of the junior year for senior candidates. Grade point averages are not rounded up. In order to be eligible, the student must have attended Bellbrook High School for a minimum of one semester.
Steps in the Selection Process
In the fall of each school year, the chapter adviser confirms grade point averages with the guidance office and compiles a list of those students who meet or exceed the grade point average requirement. The guidance office and administration confirm the eligibility list.
Academically eligible students in good standing will be given an NHS packet which includes information for those students who wish to continue the selection process. Included in the packet are a letter with details about the steps to be taken, information meeting details, a Student Activity Information sheet, Student Activity Information sheet, essay, and signature sheet deadlines, selection process details, the By-Laws, and selection criteria. For further consideration in the selection process, eligible students must attend an information meeting and return the Student Activity Information Sheet, Essay, and signature page by the given deadline. Receiving the NHS Packet is in no way an indication or guarantee of future selection
A faculty survey is conducted and each potential member is evaluated in the areas of leadership, service, and character. Faculty members will rate the students according to the following scale. If the faculty member is unable to rate a student in a particular category, this will be indicated by N/A.
(4) Indicates that the student is outstanding in that category and to be definitely considered
(3) Indicates that the student is average in that category and to be considered
(2) Indicates that the student is lacking in that category and to be considered w/reservation
(1) Indicates that the student is lacking in that category and not to be considered.
Candidates are compared with the entire student body, not with other candidates on the list.
A minimum of three different service projects, (preferably more), must be completed before being inducted and these must have been performed after entering high school.
According to national guidelines, students are selected for membership based on four criteria: scholarship, leadership, service, and character. Selection takes into account a candidates' grade point average, involvement in school and community activities, leadership positions held, and evaluations from the entire high school faculty. Decisions and actions made during freshman and sophomore year will influence consideration for membership as a junior. Again, selection for membership in the National Honor Society is an award from the faculty and is similar to any other scholarship or award in that it is a privilege and not a right of any student.
Students must have a cumulative academic average of at least a 3.50 with no rounding.
Leadership: The student who exercises leadership:
1. Is resourceful in proposing new problems, applying principles, and asking questions
2. Demonstrates initiative in promoting activities
3. Exercises influence on peers in upholding school ideas
4. Contributes ideas that improve the civic life of the school
5. Is able to delegate responsibilities
6. Exemplifies positive attitudes
7. Inspires positive behavior in others
8. Demonstrates academic initiative
9. Successfully holds offices or positions of responsibility, conducting business effectively and efficiently, and without prodding, demonstrates reliability and dependability
10. Is a forerunner in the classroom, at work, and in school or community activities
11. Is thoroughly dependable in any responsibility accepted.
Service: The student who serves:
1. Is willing to uphold scholarship and maintain a loyal school attitude
2. Participates in some outside activity: Girl Scouts; Boy Scouts; church groups; volunteer services for the aged, poor, or disadvantaged; family duties
3. Volunteers dependable and well-organized assistance, is gladly available, and is willing to sacrifice to offer assistance
4. Works well with others and is willing to take on difficult or inconspicuous responsibilities
5. Cheerfully and enthusiastically renders any requested service to the school
6. Is willing to represent the class or school in inter‑class and interscholastic competition
7. Does committee and staff work without complaint
8. Show courtesy by assisting visitors, teachers, and students.
Character: The student of character:
1. Takes criticism willingly and accepts recommendations graciously
2. Consistently exemplifies desirable qualities of behavior (cheerfulness, friendliness, poise, stability)
3. Upholds principles of morality and ethics
4. Cooperates by complying with school regulations concerning property, programs, office, halls, etc.
5. Demonstrates the highest standards of honesty and reliability
6. Shows courtesy, concern, and respect for others
7. Observes instructions and rules, punctuality, and faithfulness both inside and outside the classroom
8. Has powers of concentration and sustained attention as shown by perseverance and application to studies
9. Manifests truthfulness in acknowledging obedience to rules, avoiding cheating in written work, and showing unwillingness to profit by the mistakes of others
10. Actively helps rid the school of bad influences or environment.
National guidelines prohibit any type of quota system for selection. There is no set number or percent of students who will be selected each year. Final decisions as to selection and non-selection are the determination of the NHS Faculty Council (with input from the information gathered from each candidate as well as input from the high school faculty). A majority vote of the Faculty Council is necessary for selection. The adviser and principal have no vote. Decisions of the Faculty Council are final, as per the National Constitution.
According to national guidelines, “Chapters are not legally or constitutionally obligated to share with parents and students information concerning specific students not selected for membership in the Society.” It is the practice of the Bellbrook High School chapter that all information used by the advisers and Faculty Council during the selection process will remain confidential. However, the advisor will give general information to the parents and student concerning the reason(s) for selection or non-selection.
Those students who are selected for membership will be “tapped” during the school day and parents are notified by mail of their selection with an invitation to the induction ceremony. Non-selection students are also notified. Those students who are selected for membership are required to attend an informational meeting that provides them with information about the induction ceremony and obligations that accompany membership. Attendance at the induction ceremony is required to become a member.
Bellbrook High School Faculty Council
The NHS Faculty Council shall consist of five voting faculty members appointed annually by the high school principal. Faculty Council members may serve more than one term. The chapter adviser(s) shall be ex-officio, non-voting member(s) of the Faculty Council, will provide information from the prospective members and faculty, and strive to keep the process fair and consistent. No principal or assistant principal shall serve as a member of the Faculty Council or attend the selection meeting as per the National Constitution. Decisions of the Faculty Council are final. The National Constitution has no appeal for non-selection.
The Faculty Council is charged with final decisions regarding selection and non-selection of students for membership into the National Honor Society. Additionally, the Faculty Council determines the grade point average needed for selection, and reviews the policies and procedures of the chapter each school year. The NHS Faculty Council will review, make changes as needed, and vote to accept the By- Laws of the Bellbrook Chapter each year.
The names of Faculty Council members will remain anonymous and will not be shared with any staff or faculty member, student, or parent. In addition, in order to maintain its anonymity, the Faculty Council has appointed the chapter advisers to represent it in matters of discipline of members.
The Chapter Advisers in the Selection Process
It is important for all prospective members, current members, and their parents to know that the chapter adviser does not determine membership in the chapter. Advisers do not have a vote in the meeting at which members are selected. The role of the advisers during the selection process is solely to collect and assemble information to be presented to the Faculty Council and to ensure a fair and consistent process. The chapter advisers can, however, participate in the process by completing Faculty Recommendation Forms and evaluating candidates with the remainder of the faculty. The adviser also acts as liaison between faculty, administration, members, and community. The chapter advisor shall regularly review each member for compliance with NHS standards and obligations.
Obligations of National Honor Society Members
One of the main purposes of the National Honor Society is to render service to the school and community. The society seeks students who are willing to give their time for the benefit of others as active members. National Honor Society is more than an academic honor roll; all four criteria for selection are considered equally. Members are carefully chosen because of their proven track record in all four membership criteria. Once selected, members are required to maintain the criteria that warranted their selection and, in fact, assume additional responsibilities in order to uphold the honor that comes with being a member. National Honor Society members are expected to be leaders in the school and community. Students who wish to be members of the National Honor Society simply because of the “title” that accompanies membership should seriously reconsider their intentions.
Bellbrook High School National Honor Society members are responsible for the following requirements in order to maintain good standing:
· Maintain a GPA of 3.5
· Make good decisions in and out of school to support an outstanding character and leadership
· Take on leadership roles, when possible
· Regularly attend monthly chapter meetings.
· A member entering NHS as a junior must fulfill four units (8 hours) of adult documented community service before May 1 of their senior year for full membership benefits. Any member completing only three by May 1 will not wear the NHS sash at graduation. Members negligent of having completed and turned in information regarding three units of service before the end of the first semester of the senior year will receive a letter of warning 2 weeks prior to the end of the semester. Any member fulfilling less than three by the end of the first semester of the senior year will relinquish membership.
· Seniors entering NHS must fulfill two units of service by May 1 to wear the NHS sash at graduation
NHS Member Resignation
A member who resigns from NHS will never again be eligible for membership or its benefits. Resignation from the Honor Society should involve the submission of a written statement by the resigning member that is dated and signed by both the student and his or her parent(s). Verbal resignations are generally insufficient to end membership. Students contemplating resignation should be informed of the ramifications of their resignation.
Transfer of Membership
Note: The NHS constitution states: “A National Honor Society member who transfers to another school and brings a letter from the principal or adviser shall automatically be accepted as a member of the new school's chapter. Transfer members must meet the new chapter's standards within one semester in order to retain membership.” (Article VIII, section 6) Junior members who transfer to Bellbrook High School and fail to meet the chapter's standards by the end of one semester may be eligible to be considered for membership as a senior, but must complete the selection process as any student would have to.
Prospective Members : Planning Ahead
Students who anticipate being eligible for membership in the National Honor Society in their junior or senior years are encouraged to begin planning for the process early in their high school careers. It is recommended that students who think they might be eligible should begin keeping records and recording information at the start of their freshman year at Bellbrook High School.
Interested students should:
· Be careful to maintain good grades. A cumulative grade point average of 3.5 (with no rounding) is required in order to be considered for membership.
· Keep track of extra-curricular school-related activities and out-of-school activities in the community that they are involved in since the beginning of the freshman year.
· Document community service activities in which they participate in both the school and the community since the beginning of the freshman year. A minimum of three community service projects is required (more is better) to be considered for membership.
· Maintain good character in and out of the school, making prudent decisions that demonstrate the student's commitment to a responsible, outstanding character. Decisions and actions made during freshman and sophomore year will influence consideration for membership as a junior. Violations of school rules do not automatically disqualify a candidate from NHS membership, but the information is closely considered by the NHS Faculty Council in the selection process. If you have violated school rules, be prepared to address the circumstances in the required essay and include what you have learned from the experience.
· Assume leadership roles in extracurricular activities. Run for office in activities or clubs, become team captain and assume as many leadership roles as the student can successfully manage.
· Act and serve as a leader in the classroom and the school. Leadership not only includes leadership positions, but acting like a leader as well.
· Contact the chapter adviser at the high school with any questions or concerns.
Annual Chapter Activities
Throughout the school year, the National Honor Society participates in a number of activities in an effort to fulfill its primary mission of service and leadership in the school and community. Following is a list of the activities the society regularly participates in. However, the list may change from year to year depending on the needs of the chapter, school, and community.
Induction Ceremony Old and new members are required to participate. The ceremony is usually the end of November or beginning of December. Selected candidates cannot become members without being inducted.
Tutoring Members provide tutoring to peers and younger students.
Market Day We help with the monthly PTO Market Days which raises money for the school district.
Spirited Affair NHS members help with the children's activities during this fundraiser for the Bellbrook Sugarcreek Education Foundation.
Halloween in the Park NHS members help with the children's activities during this Park District activity
Secret Santa Shoppe NHS members help children shop for their family and friends
Sugar Maple Festival NHS members help with the children's activities and tree packing
Habitat for Humanity
Link Crew, Study Buddies, Lunch Buddies, Academic Progress are a few of the school groups NHS supports
During the end of the Junior year, the members will nominate and vote for the President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer of the chapter. Nominees are members who must be in good standing. Officers are elected by a majority vote with at least two-thirds of the members present.
The following is a list of officer's duties. Duties may slightly change, as directed by the adviser.
· coordinate with other officers
· serve as community contact for service project requests
· coordinate induction/speech
· determine necessary meeting dates, activity dates
· meet with NHS adviser and administration on NHS projects
· post and publish all meetings
· keep file of all service projects
· assist president in making community contacts
· assist with induction/speech
· head tutoring program and coordination
· organize and type agenda for all meetings
· keep minutes for all meetings
· distribute materials to those who miss meetings
· assist with induction/speech
· type inductees biographies
· maintain member files
· collect dues
· keep receipts for all cash transactions, dues, etc.
· assist with induction/speech
· receive and count money for any fund raisers, etc.
· assist with tutoring program
**At least one officer attends each service activity
1. Reasons for dismissal:
a. If a member's GPA drops below a 3.50 cumulative average, the student will be placed on probation and will have one semester to bring his/her grades up to Society standards or face dismissal.
b. A member entering NHS as a junior must complete three units (6 hours) of community service by the end of the first semester of the senior year or be dismissed. Members negligent of having completed and turned in information regarding three units of service before the end of the first semester of the senior year will receive a letter of warning 2 weeks before the end of the semester to correct the lack of service units.
c. A member whose actions show poor character or leadership can be placed upon probation, with a second violation resulting in dismissal.
d. In the case of flagrant violation of school rules or civil laws, a member will be dismissed without necessarily being warned.
4. Following due process by the school administration, if dismissal is warranted, the member will be notified in writing of the violation and then dismissed. The NHS Faculty Council appoints the advisor to represent it in matters of discipline of members.
5. If a member is dismissed, written notice of the decision will be sent to the member, his or her parents, and the principal. A report will also be sent to the National office.
6. A dismissed member must surrender the NHS emblem, membership card, and the membership pin to the chapter advisor. If a member is unwilling to do this, the matter is treated as a school disciplinary matter.
7. A student who is dismissed or resigns will never again become a member of the National Honor Society.
8. An automatic dismissal occurs if an NHS member is arrested and convicted or caught by a school or public official abusing drugs or alcohol or being under the influence of either.