Each year, National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) awards Outstanding Achievement Awards to 500 outstanding middle level students. This prestigious award comes with $500 to be placed in a college savings account. Below, we hear from AnnMarie Wolfley, a freshman at Snake River High School in Blackfoot, ID, about her experience winning the award.
I joined NJHS in 7th grade at Snake River Junior High School. Education has always been a big part of my life. Both of my parents went to college; my mom has a master’s degree, and my dad has a PhD. They’ve always instilled in me a love of education and encouraged me to plan for college. I’m also a bit of a perfectionist and getting good grades is important to me. So, when I heard about the NJHS chapter at my middle school, I decided to apply. It was really fun to be a part of it for two years. We got to plan dances and hold a canned food drive for our local food pantry. And over Christmas, we helped the school raise money for people in need. I hope to join NHS next year as a sophomore once I am eligible to apply.
When the announcement came out for the Outstanding Achievement Award, I hadn’t even thought of applying, but then my teacher, Bryn Katseanes, nominated me. Filling out the application made me really pay attention to all the things I had done in the past with NJHS, and it gave me a new outlook on myself. I didn’t even realize how much I valued service until I wrote that application.
After I applied, I didn’t think much of it, but then one night I was getting ready for bed, and my parents called me upstairs because they had received an email from my teacher. For a moment, I thought I was in trouble, but I couldn’t even figure out why I would be in trouble. Then they told me that I had won. We were all so happy!
I’m planning to use the money for college. My hope is to go to Utah State University, which is where my grandfather went. He’s told me so many great things about that school. Then I want to attend law school. I know that it’s a huge dream, but I would love to go to Harvard Law School.
I realized just recently that I want to be a lawyer. I’ve always loved to write. As a little kid I wrote so many stories. I was shy and writing was a way for me to be heard and get out of my shell. When I was 7, I published my first article in The Friend magazine. It was translated into 48 languages and distributed around the world! I want to continue to write. I have so many story ideas that I’ve covered a wall in my bedroom with character descriptions to use. But recently, I realized that I also really love speaking. I joined the debate team this year, and we just had our first tournament. It was so fun. So, it seems like becoming a lawyer would be a great way to combine my love of writing, public speaking, and my commitment to service and helping people.
I’m grateful that I received this award to help me achieve my goals, and I’m hoping that being a part of NHS continues to be a stepping stone to future opportunities.