Teenagers have a natural tendency to view the National Honor Society (NHS) as something that only elite and privileged students do. Way too many students drift through high school thinking the organization is not for them. As the school year comes to an end, I want to share why teenagers should consider participating in NHS next year. So, if you’re a student reading this post, I am here to tell you why NHS is for YOU.

NHS is based on four pillars: scholarship, service, leadership, and character. Now, the thing that throws off most students is the academic excellence associated with this Honor Society. There’s this misconception that this program is designed to limit a student and define them based on academic achievement alone. Untrue.

NHS is for those students who have been performing well for a consistent period of time. One of the great things about the organization is that chapters don’t recruit students in their freshman year of high school; they wait until almost the end of sophomore year. As a result, students are given enough time to settle down, adjust, adapt, and take time to find resources, talk to guidance counselors, teachers, and other trustworthy people to help them navigate this thing called high school.

Once a student is a part of NHS, the majority of the work is done, and it’s just about riding the waves, and staying on top. But how does one do that? Most times it’s easier said than done, especially when exams are right around the corner. Again, it all comes back to reaching out to those teachers, peers, mentors, counselors, parents, and any and every person you know who is capable of helping you manage this important time in your life. They will be more than willing to help when they see a student making the effort to succeed in their classes.

What about the other pillars of leadership, service, and character? NHS isn’t looking for perfect members but for students who are interested in finding themselves by building their leadership skills and learning how to serve and assist their communities.

Good grades are certainly required for NHS membership, but they are not the focus. The focus is on being part of a community that is second only to home. NHS is for students who are trying to build a better and brighter future by working together to turn around and help those freshmen struggling with their classes, encouraging everyone to participate in the environmental club and to go green and recycle. It’s also for students interested in bringing mental health awareness events to their school community.

You see, NHS is not only a program but a platform, one that uplifts students so that they shine. Through an interconnected community, NHS allows you to take control over what is important to you and for you as a student. As Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said, “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” That’s exactly what NHS allows you to do—to advocate for yourself as a leader, to generate innovative and fresh ideas, and to serve your community so that your character is forged into something golden and unstoppable.

About the Author

Divya Adams is a junior and NHS member at the High School for Health Professions and Human Services in New York, NY.

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