Gavin Arneson of Clear Creek High School in Evergreen, CO, wins prestigious National Honor Society scholarship

Reston, VA–Gavin Arneson, a senior at Clear Creek High School in Evergreen, CO, is the national winner of the National Honor Society (NHS) Scholarship. The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the parent organization of NHS.

Described by teacher Veronica Mauro as “one of the rare students that is not pleased with mediocrity,” valedictorian Arneson is an excellent embodiment of the four pillars of NHS—scholarship, service, leadership, and character. Among his accomplishments is founding the first-ever Colorado high school chapter of She’s the First, a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships to girls in low-income countries so that they can attend school.

As president of his school’s NHS chapter, he increased the service requirements for members; increased the frequency of meetings; and created a digital archive of notes, agendas, and resources for future NHS chapter members. He also presided over the student council, where he worked to overcome a lack of school pride among the students and the community. He expanded the council’s mission to promote unity in the student body and create a positive school culture.

Arneson’s remarkable achievements came in the face of personal tragedy and adversity. Twice homeless, Arneson experienced the unexpected death of his father in December 2016. He describes having to make a choice between continuing his studies or dropping out to survive. Ultimately, he persevered—working nights and weekends to make ends meet, while maintaining his status, ranking first in his class and winning awards for community service, citizenship, and academic achievement.

Arneson plans to attend New York University in fall 2017, where he will study nursing.

“For his leadership and commitment to serving others in his school, immediate community, and the world, we are proud to honor Gavin as the national winner of the NHS Scholarship,” remarked JoAnn Bartoletti, NASSP executive director. “Students like Gavin remind us how important student voice is not just in school improvement efforts, but also in building the future they will eventually lead.”

For nearly 100 years, NHS members have been making a difference in their schools and communities and the NHS Scholarship is NASSP’s way of recognizing the most exceptional of these students. Any senior NHS member in good standing is eligible to apply. Recipients are chosen based on their demonstrated work to support the four pillars of NHS membership: scholarship, service, leadership, and character. In the 2016-17 application year, 375 national semifinalists have been chosen to receive a $2,325 scholarship, 24 national finalists will be awarded a $4,500 scholarship, and one national recipient receives the top award of $20,125.

The NHS Scholarship has provided over $14 million to 16,000 outstanding NHS members since its inception in 1946. The scholarship program is intended to increase college access and student success by providing an important resource in the face of rising costs of higher education. To expand the impact of and grow the scholarship program, NASSP recently created the NHS Scholarship Fund. More information about the fund can be found at


The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for principals, assistant principals, and school leaders from across the United States. The association connects and engages school leaders through advocacy, research, education, and student programs. NASSP advocates on behalf of all school leaders to ensure the success of each student and strengthens school leadership practices through the design and delivery of high-quality professional learning experiences. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor SocietyNational Junior Honor SocietyNational Elementary Honor Society, and National Association of Student Councils.