NASSP recently recognized 25 outstanding National Honor Society members with scholarships for their dedication to the four pillars of NHS: Scholarship, Service, Leadership, and Character. As they embark on a bright future, we explore what essentials they carry with them every day, from textbooks to tech gadgets, and everything in between. Discover the unique personalities and passions of these remarkable scholars through a peek in their backpacks.

Reagan Koester
My bag includes my planner, ginormous pencil pouch, Chromebook for school, calculus essentials, and caffeinated water packets to stay energized.

Item spotlight:
Originally intended to be a makeup holder, my pencil pouch carries all my essential items for the day: gum to keep me fresh; a calculator for calculus and math bowl; colorful pens, pencils, and highlighters so I can color code my agenda with updates for the seven clubs of which I am president; my art sketchbook; and even some random items like a tiny U.S. Constitution and a Bath and Body Works brochure for a free gift! Let’s just say… Mary Poppins and I have a lot in common when it comes to our bag!

Sophie Kloppenburg
Hanging off the outside of my bag I have several key chains, including a stuffed giraffe, a mini white wooden dutch clog, an I❤️Madrid sign, and a purple rubber key. Inside, I have my headphones, a granola bar, a pack of gum, a purple highlighter, emergency tampons, Advil, extra pencils, a house key, my Chromebook, its charger, my 10-pound chemistry textbook, and a few notebooks.

Item spotlight:
My headphones are white, have the wires, and have certainly seen better days. Their cylindrical connector always has a dongle attached. They’re perfect for school since without the dongle I can plug them into my Chromebook, and with the dongle I can plug them into my phone. They’re crucial so I can watch assigned Edpuzzles, Khan Academy lessons, or Emma Chamberlain vlogs without disturbing anyone.

Kanghui Zhang
I have in my bag a water bottle plastered with stickers, an Amnesty International notebook, a copy of Six Records of a Floating Life by Shen Fu, a small bag of mixed nuts, a pen bag made by my best friend’s grandfather, and a pair of black Beats Solo3 headphones.

Item spotlight:
I can often be found scribbling in my notebook. Whether it’s writing ideas, poetry verses that pop up in my head, or notes I want to take, it helps me capture aspects of life that I find memorable, and I love reading through my notes once in a while to remind me of all the places, emotions, and situations I’ve experienced. Sometimes, the bits and pieces in my notebook end up becoming inspirations for short stories or songs!

Alexis Magnano
My bookbag tends to be overpacked and super heavy and it is clearly on its last legs! Inside, I always have:
My iPad which keeps me organized and enables me to play “Jet Pack Joy Ride” during school lockdown drills.

  • A phone charger, to make sure I can return all of my mother’s calls!
  • My scientific calculator so I can work on a few Calc problems in downtime.
  • Strange, but I always have one single earring stabbed into the eraser of a mechanical pencil – just in case I lose one!
  • Sunscreen. Living in Florida with pale skin is a drag and I’m a frequent flier in my dermatologist’s office!
  • My dog-eared copy of Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains. I have been trying to finish this book for a while!
  • Some colorful Sharpie markers so I can doodle something new to add to my refrigerator “art museum”.
  • My famous turkey, cheese, and lettuce sandwich. I always get compliments on how good my sandwich looks!

Item spotlight:
I love my quick dry pens because I am left-handed and they prevent me from getting covered in ink!

Katie Green
Inside my bag is my binder full of schoolwork, my English notebook, a book for school, a book for fun, my laptop and charger, current and old student IDs, extra tissues, pencils, hair ties, and hand sanitizer.

Item spotlight:
While I carry with me some extra items for others to use if they need to, my laptop charger is often what I lend out the most. I enjoy the small, helpful interactions this allows me to have with my peers.

You can meet all 25 scholarship winners and learn their stories here.

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