The Honor Societies are the best way for a student population of any size to learn how to connect with its community.
I was given the opportunity to take over the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) chapter at my school when the previous adviser had to go on maternity leave. That was 14 years ago, and I’m so glad I stepped into her shoes.
My members of NJHS are the cream of the crop; they are amazing. I feel so lucky to get to work with them and guide them in their leadership development. I try to promote good morals, and we focus on good communications skills and a sense of responsibility. Our chapter works to spread these values throughout the school.
We also have a steadfast focus on service, both to our school and our community. Whether it’s helping younger kids, veterans, or shelters, we incorporate all of the pillars of NJHS—scholarship, leadership, character, citizenship—into our projects. To be honest, I believe the students get more from these service projects than the community gets from us. They learn to see the good in everyone and to exercise compassion and empathy. One of our members went on to work in a hospital and attributed her high level of empathy to her time in the Honor Society.
NJHS is especially important in an area like ours. We are a small school in a farming district with only 283 students in our middle school, yet we have 46 members. Our popularity helps to encourage participation from students outside of NJHS in our activities as well. For example, we are hosting a car wash, and both members and nonmembers are helping out. It’s a great way for us to instill the values of NJHS beyond our immediate scope.
One of the most rewarding parts of being an adviser is watching these students take charge of their ideas and activities. Whether they succeed or fail, they take ownership and grow into well-rounded individuals.
As a smaller school in a rural area, NJHS is vital in providing opportunities for young students to develop leadership skills, connect with their community, and build a foundation for academic success. But no matter what size your school is, an Honor Society chapter will provide endless value for you, your administrative team, and most important, your students.
For more information, and to start a chapter at your middle school or high school, visit www.nhs.us/why or www.nhjs.us/why.