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Keeping the honor in National Honor Society

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In recent months, juniors began turning in applications for National Honor Society, a volunteer based club that emphasizes leadership, academics, and character. The senior club, which has about 200 members, is popular among Central students.

However, a lot of requirements need to be completed for admission into NHS. Students who are invited have a GPA of 4.5 or higher and must complete 20 hours of community service. They also need to write a variety of essays explaining how they exemplify the pillars of NHS: scholarship, service, leadership, and character.

“There are a lot of hoops to jump through, and those hoops are just to apply. It’s not a matter of ‘if I do this I get in,’ it’s a matter of ‘if I do this, my application is complete.’ The applications must go before a faculty council that ends up making the final decision based on the information provided,” said Mrs. Julie May, science teacher and NHS sponsor.

Once in, members must work to achieve the “active member” status to graduate with an NHS tassel. This work includes putting in 35 hours of service, running a fundraiser, and being involved in large group projects such as the Turkey Bowl and Rock the Cash. Yet at many other schools, such as Hinsdale South, the requirements are not as strict.

“I’d say it’s pretty laid back. Once in the club there are no requirements to stay in, we just trust that everyone goes to every meeting they possibly can,” said Sean “Dogger” Miller, senior and member of Hinsdale South’s NHS executive board.

Mrs. Lisa Fernandez, science teacher and NHS sponsor, has noticed the inconsistency in different schools’ NHS guidelines and believes it goes against the purpose of NHS.

“For some schools, you just need to make the GPA. That actually goes against the bylaws of NHS. If students aren’t involved in the pillars of NHS, they are not living by the actual bylaws set by the national chapter of NHS. The components that we’ve added, and that we’ve had for years, are consistent with the national chapter of NHS,” Fernandez said.

Students also notice this discrepancy, and some consequently decide not to apply. They feel their efforts won’t be properly recognized even though NHS is considered an elite organization.

“I didn’t want to apply to NHS because the institution is solely created to pad one’s application and doesn’t signify any real achievement. At our school, NHS seems to do a lot of volunteer work, but at other schools, that is not the case. So, colleges won’t even recognize the hard work you do,” said Annie Cappetta, junior.

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Keeping the honor in National Honor Society