I knew the importance of NHS from my days as a student, and participating as an adviser is even more rewarding.

When I first came to my high school, I was asked to be a National Honor Society (NHS) adviser. I jumped at the chance, as I remembered being an NHS member myself and how it connected me to the community. I knew I wanted to make an impact with our chapter and put us on the map in our school—many of the students didn’t know what NHS was, let alone want to join. Now, 12 years later, we’re ingrained in our school’s culture, and younger students aspire to become members.

Students at our school join NHS because they strive for more—both academically and socially—and it helps them achieve those goals. We are very community-minded with a focus on outreach and public interaction, which develops better social skills that improve their citizenship. Our chapter understands that community service is one of the most important aspects of NHS, and the students come up with the project ideas on their own. I love watching the lightbulb go off as they brainstorm how to help those around them.

Our service projects work to benefit our local community, and the people in it are very aware that we want to help. Each year, we volunteer to serve Thanksgiving Day breakfast to the homeless and raise money to provide them with clean socks. During the holiday season, we offer babysitting services so parents can go shopping. We give back to our school through beautification projects and clean up our local highways by picking up trash four times per year. We once had a schoolwide drive to collect coloring books and crayons, and we were able to give almost 200 books each to the children’s wards of hospitals in our area.

NHS is expanding the horizons of my students and opening the door to new opportunities. They use what they learn about themselves and about community service to stand out within their individual interests, whether it’s in athletics or science or fine arts. One of our chapter members even won a $2,500 scholarship. These are the students who go on to become hospital administrators, lawyers, doctors, teachers, and nurses, like many of mine have done. These are the students who are changing the world.

An NHS chapter can only enhance your school environment when done well, and it’s up to us as advisers to lead the charge. Of course, it may not happen overnight, but there are many things we can do to continually improve our processes. Remember to follow national guidelines and bylaws, and be sure to establish a faculty council. Not only are you guiding the students, but you’re also the bridge between them and their administration, so open communication is key.

Being an adviser indeed requires patience, but nothing is better than watching your students grow into mature adults who care about those around them.

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.

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