April 2012 Honor Society E-Newsletter
Spring is a time for renewal and evaluation. Two important annual events are now in full swing. First, the renewal forms for all active chapters have been mailed to principals for the 2012–13 school year. Second, the National Survey of Honor Society Advisers
is now online. In addition to reviewing the chapter activities and opportunities outlined below, please add these two important items to your spring to-do list. David Cordts
Associate Director, Honor Societies
Chapters Doing Great Things
As the weather warms up, chapters are turning to outdoor service projects and other activities to make a difference in their schools and communities. Here’s a sampling from last month’s news reports:
- Dress Down Day: NJHS members at Sleepy Hill Middle School in Lakeland, FL, hosted a dress-down event to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Students paid $2 to wear an outfit of their choice for a day, instead of the usual school uniform. More than $700 was raised.
- Coins for Cancer: NJHS members at the Charter School for Applied Technology in Buffalo, NY, wanted to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society chapter in their region. They participated in the Pennies for Patients program and students in grades K-8 collected spare change and competed for prizes. The chapter surpassed its goal and raised more than $6,000.
- Lucrative Lemons: Childhood cancer was also the fundraising focus of the NHS chapter at Bishop George Ahr High School in Edison, NJ. Through a lemonade stand, bake sale, and hot chocolate sale, members doubled their goal and raised more than $3,000 for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
- Bunny Baskets: To bring Easter greetings to the local assisted living facility, members of the Gladstone (MI) High School NHS chapter prepared and delivered 45 Easter baskets for the residents. Funds for the materials were donated by local community businesses making this a great school-to-community collaboration.
- A Good Spread: NHS members from Smithtown (NY) High School West took a day last month to make more than 800 sandwiches to distribute to the homeless in their metropolitan region. Donations of peanut butter, jelly, and bread were put together in a local church. The project was just one activity supporting the chapter’s mission to help the homeless.
- Service Night Conference: NHS members at La Joya Community High School in Avondale, AZ, pulled together speakers and organizational representatives from more than 15 groups in their area to present at a Service Night Conference, held from 3:30 to 8:30, on a Friday in March. The keynote speaker was Austin Gutwein from Hoops of Hope who has raised $2.5 million for children in Africa. The goal of the conference was to encourage students and community members to volunteer.
- Volunteer-a-Thon: In a similar project, chapter members from Colonial Heights (VA) High School helped organize a Saturday afternoon volunteer event, the brainchild of a coordinator at their school. More than 200 students gathered at the school to stuff backpacks with food for local students, prepare meals for the hungry overseas, raise money for water filters, and more. In the weeks leading up to the event, which is in its second year, NHS members collected more than $2,500 in donations to give to Stop Hunger Now—an amount that translates to 10,000 meals to those in need.
- Relay Rookies: NHS members from Manchester Valley (MD) High School organized their first Relay for Life to raise money for the American Cancer Society. It took three months of planning and work, with support from the school’s clubs and organizations, but together they reached their goal of raising more than $10,000.
- A Passion for Pets: When the NJHS chapter at Brentwood (TN) Middle School heard that the local animal control center was in need of a new washer and dryer, they devised a project called “My Pet and Me.” Students brought in a photo of themselves with their pets and for a minimum donation of $1, their pictures were displayed in the school cafeteria. The funds raised bought pet supplies and food—and someone donated a washer and dryer as well. After making their donation, chapter members walked and played with the dogs at the center.
- Volunteering Marathon: Finally, special congratulations to the NHS chapter at Bishop Stang High School in Dartmouth, MA. For their Rock-a-Thon Food Drive, blood drives, Beanie Baby drive, and support for improvements to the school’s chapel, the Sr. Teresa Trayers, SND Chapter received a Commended Chapter Award from their state association in late March.
Thanks to all of the chapters that submitted project descriptions over the last month. Many original news stories from the “Chapters Doing Great Things” entries are posted on our Facebook page. To share your chapter’s project, e-mail your activities or individual member accomplishments to us at email@example.com with “Chapters Doing Great Things” or just “CDGT” in the subject line.
Monthly Adviser Checkup: Recognition Within the Chapter
As the school year comes to a close, it is always helpful to recognize outstanding chapter members. The Honor Society is all about recognition—and setting the example within our chapters helps model this.
Chapter officers deserve recognition for the extra hours they put in. Committee chairpersons who organize your service projects are also important to honor. You can further recognize outstanding performance in the arts or even your chapter’s scholar athletes.
Some chapters also give lighthearted awards to members. Your chapter’s leadership team could have fun with the humorous awards—and every member could be recognized in some manner.
Look to the student programs catalog and online store for gift ideas to present to these chapter members.
The Principal’s Corner: Your Support Is Essential
The NHS and NJHS national constitutions speak to the role of the principal primarily in appointing the adviser and Faculty Council every year. While you are given the additional responsibilities of receiving a report on the results of the selection process and later hearing appeals for nonselection or chapter disciplinary action, there are many more opportunities for you to connect with your chapter.
Get to know your chapter officers. Request a copy of the chapter meeting minutes to acknowledge the importance you place on the work of your chapter. Ask to address the chapter at a meeting. Show up to help with the chapter’s service projects—or perhaps simply encourage teachers to show their support for these events.
Each year following the conclusion of the selection procedure, you may want to offer a few words of appreciation to the adviser and Faculty Council.
If problems arose this year, designate a time to review the selection process guidelines and/or the chapter bylaws to help prevent similar circumstances in the future.
You are also encouraged to schedule an end-of-year assessment with your chapter adviser. This will be a great opportunity to review the chapter year; assess the effectiveness of the Faculty Council; and set the stage for next year’s selection, induction, meetings, and major service projects. This assessment provides a great time to present the adviser with a letter or certificate of appreciation for his or her service. With teacher portfolios playing a greater role in overall assessment, a letter would be a welcomed addition to any portfolio.
Reminders for April and May
New Online Stores: Have you visited the new online stores yet? Launched on March 29, the NHS and NJHS stores provide many new features to help in your quest for chapter supplies and insignia. Advisers can now view all products and descriptions before placing orders. New page tabs make it easy to find the type of product you’re seeking.
To get to the store, go to www.nhs.us or www.njhs.us and click the relevant gold store tab for your chapter—either “NHS Store” or “NJHS Store.” The products and materials for each organization have been separated for your convenience. Please create a new bookmark in your system to access the proper site in the future. Also, please note that you will have to log in to make a purchase (your username is your e-mail address and your password is your last name).
PowerTalk 21: Sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, April 21 is the annual day to start talking about underage drinking using the Power of Parents handbook as the guide. NASSP encourages parents to visit www.madd.org/powerofparents for more information about this important project.
Annual Survey: All advisers are asked to complete our end-of-year online survey. We’ve renamed this instrument the National Survey of Honor Society Advisers as a way of bringing more attention to the information collected each year from chapter advisers. Please complete the survey before June 30.
Texas Advisers: The state principals association in Texas, TASSP, sponsors the Texas Association of Student Councils. TASSP is now reaching out to all Texas chapters of NHS and NJHS with new workshops for student leaders and advisers. The theme for its summer 2012 workshops is “Take Leadership to Infinity and Beyond.” Registration is now open. In addition, look for information coming soon about the September advisers’ conference in Austin.
Youth Service America: Our colleagues at Youth Service America (YSA), the nation’s leading service-learning organization, provide tons of resources in their weekly newsletter, The National Service Briefing. The newsletter includes information about opportunities for young people engaged in service, grants for projects, and even a song of the week that focuses on service activities. We think you’ll value learning more about all that YSA provides by visiting www.ysa.org.
Survey on Ethics of America’s Youth: Earlier this year, we shared an opportunity for schools to participate in the Survey on the Ethics of America’s Youth, sponsored by Character Counts! There is still time to participate in this nationwide survey conducted every two years. Interested schools are asked to complete the online registration and conduct the survey this spring. All Honor Society member schools are encouraged to join in this important data-gathering survey. A report on the results will be published in the fall.
Highlights: Leadership for Student Activities
April’s theme is “Summer Summits.” This edition is full of ideas and recommendations for making the most of summer for you and your student leaders. The Q&A this month focuses on tips for public relations coverage of your induction ceremony along with how to properly administer the use of cords or stoles at graduation. We also offer a few thoughts to guide your chapter in preparing for Memorial Day in May.
Discounts: Be sure to check out the ad on the inside front cover containing a promo code for a 10% discount on your next purchase from our online store. The discount ends April 30, so act now!
You can also access the magazine archives online.
Opportunities for Students and Parents
- Visit our Facebook fan page. We post stories from the news about service projects, along with links to other online resources. Encourage your officers to “like” us.
- Join the National Education Startup Challenge. Students have until May 1 to submit a business plan and video pitch for a start up that includes an innovative strategy, product, or service designed to address one of four education-related topics.
- From time to time, the national office passes along information about groups offering services to our members. These references do not represent endorsements, but merely the sharing of information that comes to us from trusted sources. Here are a few sites to help students find the right college:
Quotations of the Month
“Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”
“The future turns out to be something that you make instead of find. It isn’t waiting for your arrival, either with an arrest warrant or a band, nor is it any further away than the next sentence, the next best guess, the next sketch for the painting of a life portrait that might become a masterpiece. The future is an empty canvas or a blank sheet of paper, and if you have the courage of your own thought and your own observation, you can make of it what you will.”
Online Resources at NHS.us and NJHS.us
Look to www.nhs.us this month for new content for you and your chapter.
- New Online Stores: Click the new gold tabs on www.nhs.us and www.njhs.us to access the recently upgraded NHS and NJHS online stores. Obtaining insignia, apparel, and publications for your chapter has never been easier.
- New Bookmarks: We’ve prepared a set of free bookmarks that advisers can copy and distribute for chapter members and their parents. Just visit the Adviser Zone to access the PDF. Print them in color and laminate them for permanence. These bookmarks are a great gift to hand out at your upcoming induction ceremony or your next chapter meeting.
- Middle Level Resources: For our NJHS chapters, some special content can be found by using the “NJHS” link from the homepage.
- Search for Member Schools: Find the names of schools hosting NHS or NJHS chapters in your city or state by using this easy online tool.
- Photo Guide: Use the photography guide when taking photos of projects you are considering for submission to the national office—or just to help improve the overall quality of your chapter’s photography.
- National Staff Directory: Don’t forget that you can access the directory to all staff at the national office.
Project Ideas: District-wide Recognition
NHS and NJHS are the nation’s oldest, largest, and by all accounts most prestigious student recognition programs in the nation. For most chapters, the recognition provided through the school’s induction and end-of-year awards ceremonies is sufficient. But some community groups value additional public recognition of Honor Society members.
In upstate New York, the Jefferson-Lewis School Boards Association has been recognizing NHS members from all 14 of their local county schools for the last 30 years. This year, more than 350 students were recognized at a ceremony held at Watertown High School in March. Members were treated to an hors d’oeuvres reception and a speech from a successful NHS alumna who had recently completed her education at Dartmouth College and begun her career.
In Fort Smith, AR, the regional Chamber of Commerce annually recognizes students from three schools, both public and private, in their community. The event is known as the Honors Banquet and this year, they recognized 167 graduating seniors who worked diligently as chapter members.
This type of added recognition demonstrates community support for the chapters involved and expresses pride in the accomplishments of Honor Society members. School boards, central office, PTA’s, adult service organizations, and others are encouraged to consider this type of public recognition to help unify the youth of the district and express a common sense of appreciation for all that your outstanding student leaders are doing.
If you or your students are looking for new ideas for your chapter, check out our project database at www.nhs.us/ideas. Did your chapter participate in a project worth sharing? Use the submission form on the same page to share your ideas.
Is there something you’d like us to include in next month’s Honor Society News to help get you on the right track? E-mail your ideas or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.