May 2012 Honor Society E-Newsletter
May is a time for many traditional celebrations in schools and communities. It is also a time to finalize your plans for the next school year. We hope you’ll find a few ideas to assist with your planning in this month’s edition of Honor Society News. David Cordts Associate Director, Honor Societies
Chapters Doing Great Things
The school year is winding down and many chapters are busy selecting and inducting new members or electing new chapter officers. In the midst of all of this, chapters still find time to provide service to their schools and communities. Here are some recent samples from the news:
- Shoe Business: NHS members at Gaithersburg (MD) High School collected more than 100 pairs of shoes in their “Walk in My Shoes” drive, April 10-13. The shoes are being distributed to children in developing countries by an organization from Washington, DC.
- Community Recognition: The NHS chapter at South Lakes High School in Reston, VA, was recently recognized by the Reston Association as the 2012 Youth Volunteer Group of the Year. The award cited the chapter’s involvement in a large number of activities which generated more than 1,000 hours of service in the past year.
- Wreaths of Remembrance: The NJHS chapter at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Alexandria, VA, participated last December in “Wreaths Across America” and placed wreaths on the headstones of fallen soldiers at the National Cemetery in Arlington, VA. Other chapters can look into helping out with a similar project for Memorial Day at the end of the month. Local VFW or American Legion groups are good resources.
- Helping in China: Teda International School in Tianjin, China, has only 300 students, but their small size didn’t stop students from being generous when the NHS chapter asked for contributions to a clothing drive in April. Dozens of bags of clothes were donated and will be given to local disaster organizations and orphanages. This story also appeared on www.facebook.com/nhsandnjhs in late April.
- Active in Arkport: The NHS chapter at Arkport (NY) Central High School raised $212 for UNICEF in October, hosted a dinner for local VFW veterans in November, wrapped gift donations for the American Red Cross in December, sold shamrocks for MDA and raised $252 in February and March, and then collected 51 pints of blood during their April blood drive. In addition, at the monthly PTSO meetings, members provided daycare. Coming next: A well-deserved break for the summer.
- Caring in Clovis: NJHS members at Marshall Middle School in Clovis, NM, helped their peers and community all year long. They collected 13 boxes full of snacks and supplies for military personnel overseas, raised money to help a local family whose apartment was burned, and sponsored a dance to raise $321 as a gift to a family whose son (a student at the school) was killed in an accident in December. In April they held a rummage sale to raise money for their Relay for Life team as well.
- Collecting Stuffed Animals: The NHS chapter at Hilliard Darby High School in Darby, OH, organized collections of stuffed animals in 16 schools in their district. They sorted and cleaned the animals and then delivered them to local social service agencies. More than 1,000 animals were collected in this effort. The chapter used guidelines from SAFE.
- Clothes Closet in Colorado: Students at Alameda (CO) High School realized that their peers and other community members could use some help obtaining clothes. More than 80% of the students qualify for free and reduced-price meals. The school’s NHS members and several IB students created a clothes closet where students can donate clothes and anyone can pick up items for free. The chapter also created a logo for the site, distributed creative flyers at community events, and even translated announcements into Spanish and Vietnamese to respond to the needs of those populations.
- Variety Yields Success: Two NHS members at Lewis Central High School in Council Bluffs, IA, carried out a variety of fundraising projects to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society when they found out that their former principal’s daughter had leukemia. Teachers agreed to shave their heads if students donated to their collection pots. A gaudily-painted toilet was used to raise money when people paid to have it removed or placed in the yard of a friend. Teachers pitched in and paid $5 to wear jeans on a specified day. The two NHS members succeeded in raising $1,200 through these events.
- Schoolwide Support: The NHS chapter at Red Bank (NJ) Regional High School, with the support of their adviser, launched a schoolwide food drive for the Salvation Army lasting four months. The drive featured a competition between the four classes, and a grand total of 11,500 food items were collected. The donation to the Salvation Army even exceeded the Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving collection and prevented the group from having to purchase food from the local food bank. Great job!
Thanks to all of the chapters that submitted project summaries over the last month. Many of these new stories have been posted on our Facebook page along with photos. We look forward to hearing from your chapter about the meaningful service activities your members are involved in. 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: Student Evaluations
As the school year comes to a close, consider evaluating your members—both outgoing and returning. You can take five minutes during one of your last chapter meetings to hand out index cards and ask the members to grade the chapter and its activities for the year or you can just evaluate your chapter officers. Regardless of who you survey, there are several instruments available to use, including Survey Monkey.
After collecting the surveys, take the time to review and summarize the results for next year’s officers and the principal. The effective use of a chapter evaluation sets a great example for the members and other student organizations at your school. It also provides useful content with which to improve the overall work of the chapter.
The Principal’s Corner: Include Student Leaders
As the leader of the school, you are charged with setting schoolwide goals. In some cases, this means simply implementing the goals determined by the superintendent or board of education; but in other cases, you establish the tone and the pace for school improvement by setting the goals for students, faculty, and staff.
Either way, remember to include student leaders in the goal-setting process and make student leadership development part of the school’s goals for the year. Valuing student leaders’ input creates a sense of student ownership and pride. Students involved in the Honor Society; student council; and other clubs, teams, and groups can all contribute ideas and help support the school’s goals.
As the old adage goes, “People tend to support that which they create.” We believe you will find much value in applying this adage in the goal-setting functions of your work as principal.
Reminders for May, June, and the Summer
New Online Stores: Have you visited the new online stores yet? 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.” 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).
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.
LEAD Conferences 2012-13: Looking for leadership development experiences for your chapter officers and a professional development opportunity for you? Consider participating in a LEAD Conference next year. The dates, locations, and registration information are available on www.leadconferences.org. A special Honor Society track is presented by the national policy staff at each LEAD Conference, along with workshops, speakers, and ample opportunities for networking with peers from around the nation. We hope to see you at a LEAD Conference next year.
National Student Leadership Week: Thanks to the many chapters that recognized and appreciated student leaders during National Student Leadership Week (NSLW) 2012. We hope you found the resources available on www.nhs.us/nslw to be helpful and we look forward to learning about your celebrations in the weeks to come. The theme and dates for NSLW 2013 will be announced in early fall and we hope you’ll join us for this special national celebration again next year.
Highlights: Leadership for Student Activities
May’s theme is “Activities for All.” Learn about involving parents, alumni, senior citizens, and other groups in your chapter projects. The Q&A for advisers focuses on increasing member participation and closing out the year.
You can also access the magazine archives online.
Opportunities for Students and Parents
- Visit our Facebook page. We post stories from the news about service projects, along with links to other online resources. Encourage your officers to “like” us.
- 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
“I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.”
—Frank Lloyd Wright, architect
“One of the most difficult things everyone has to learn is that for your entire life you must keep fighting and adjusting if you hope to survive. No matter who you are or what your position is, you must keep fighting for whatever it is you desire to achieve.”
—George Allen, football coach
Online Resources at NHS.us and NJHS.us
Look to www.nhs.us this month for new content for you and your chapter.
- Chapter Profiles: Find out what our youngest Honor Society members are doing through the chapter profiles on the National Elementary Honor Society website.
- New Online Stores: Click the gold tabs on www.nhs.us and www.njhs.us to access the recently upgraded NHS and NJHS online stores.
- 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.
- Photo Guide: Use the photography guide when taking photos of projects 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 Idea: World Food Day
Consider participating in an event in support of World Food Day on October 16, 2012. Organized by World Food Program USA, a campaign known as “Coins 4 Kids” has been established to raise awareness and funds for feeding students in Kenya. By serving food at school, student hunger is alleviated and students stay in school longer thus providing an important key to a better future—an education. It only takes 25 cents to provide a cup of food for these needy students. Setting up a fundraising event through your chapter can help make a difference.
If you or your students are looking for new ideas for your chapter, check out our project database at www.nhs.us/ideas.
Is there something you’d like us to include in next year’s Honor Society News? E-mail your ideas or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.