By Nika Chin
Everyone has been given the advice “hard work pays off,” but when exactly is credit given where it’s due? Last month 70 juniors received an invitation in the mail regarding their nomination into National Honor Society (NHS). These individuals were chosen out of 400 of their peers because they have shown the ability to push to be greater, representing FC greatly in the classroom and when school is out of session.
Math teacher Melissa Neal, NHS chapter adviser, said her title is leader of the organization.
“I do the planning, organization and paperwork, I have no say in who is selected for membership. I am not allowed to be apart of that decision,” said Neal. “It is only my second year of involvement, but my first year solo. Prior to this year, I worked as a co-adviser with former math teacher Heather Bryan.”
Thus far, NHS has only begun with induction but the organization runs a blood drive and other civic-minded activities throughout the year.
Neal said NHS participated in Miles for Merry Miracles (M4MM) and the Salvation Army kettle drive last year and would like to continue that tradition in the involvement of community service next year as well as helping out at school events.
“A few students will be set up to do the bell ringing at certain stores,” said Neal. “School events such as open house will have students working as well as class day, class night and graduation. We also provide free tutoring to FC students. Each member is expected to be available for tutoring at least one student.”
Junior Gretchen Garrett said NHS is an organization that acknowledges high school students who strive in scholarship, character, service and leadership.
“To me, it means that after putting in hard work after all these years, we’re finally getting the recognition for it,” said Garrett. “It’s a great way to be honored for excelling beyond expectations.”
Junior Lydia Kotowski, NHS president, said she is the second generation of her family to be accepted in the program.
“I’m very excited to be a part of such an amazing organization. It’s a family thing,” said Kotowski. “Everyone in my family, has been in NHS.”
There is a misleading stigma that claims NHS to be nothing but a group of smart individuals, but students involved in the program disagree.
Junior Trevor Swearingen said he felt the program was only intended for the brightest students until he got invited and learned more about it.
“I don’t think other people grasp the magnitude of the NHS; they just think it’s only for smart kids, but this is not true. NHS is an organization of students who represent the essence of what FC is, an institution of higher learning and character building,” said Swearingen.
Junior Olivia Nguyen said it takes more than brains to get in; It also involves a lot of volunteer work and commitment.
“I sacrifice a lot of my own personal free time with my volunteer work. Over the summer, I spent my time at shelters and ESL classes teaching two or three days a week,” said Nguyen. “It’s hard to put in this much time and get no tangible reward, but in the end it has really paid off.”
“NHS is an opportunity to serve the school and better the community. It takes strong academics, leadership, willingness to serve and character,” said Kotowski.
In order to be considered for a spot in NHS, students must standout amongst their peers.
Junior Aidan Flanigan said he took advantage of the opportunity and wanted to show all that he has done for the community.
“When I received the invitation, I created a community service portfolio and returned my application,” said Flanigan. “I work around the clock for my church’s youth basketball league, organized a canned food drive and I play bass at my church.”
Kotowski got involved in the Interact Club at FC and in other different areas of the community.
“The Interact Club supports the elimination of polio and we also raise money and awareness for other charities,” said Kotowski. “I also volunteer at a child care center and I have paged at the State House in Indianapolis working for Senator Ron Grooms.”
Neal said students that are involved in any act deemed below NHS standards will have their memberships revoked. Members of the NHS are expected to live up to higher expectations in order to represent FC and stand as a role model for their peers.
“Acts such as, but aren’t limited to cheating or dishonesty of any sort, plagiarism, violating school rules or expectations on or off campus, illegal acts or disrespectful acts towards staff and student may result in a member getting kicked out of the program,” said Neal.
Junior Alivia Harbison said when joining NHS, she made a commitment to the club that she will not misbehave in any manner and uphold her grades.
“All of the those apart of NHS should not be seen at a party doing anything inappropriate or being apart of an inappropriate activity. Also it takes a GPA of 3.8 or higher to stay in the program,” said Harbison.
“You’ve got to keep your grades on track as well as continue to volunteer,” said Garrett. “It takes lots of time and dedication to be a good role model for others.”
Swearingen said his family was overjoyed when he got accepted into NHS because a lot of his relatives have not achieved nearly as much success in education.
“I feel grateful to be recognized for what I have done. I have always lived with the standards of the NHS as moral values so I feel grateful to finally be recognized for it,” said Swearingen.
According to Nguyen, there are not very many real benefits to the program besides the overwhelming pride she has now that her hard work has been acknowledged.
“My parents were elated I was in NHS because it meant all three of their children were accepted into this program,” said Nguyen. “This program gives me a lot of self-confidence because I’ve always tried to be a good person all my life but I’ve never actually been recognized.”
Kotowski said NHS not only looks good on college applications, but gives you other opportunities.
“The club is a chance to get to know people in your class and work as a team to serve the community. It makes you a better leader and servant,” said Kotowski.
Although grades are very important for students to maintain, members of the committee must not forget about leadership volunteer work.
“My advice for anyone who is wanting to get into NHS is to keep pushing yourself and strive to achieve goals you set for yourself. Eventually someone will notice them and reward you for all your hard work and that is the moment you understand why you have been working so hard,” said Harbison. “It just gives you the extra boost to not stop trying.”