Students will assist in all stages of planning and executing an NHS induction ceremony.
Estimated Time Required
Minimum of five sessions, approximately 30 minutes each
Session #1: Begin by asking current NHS members to take a critical look at induction ceremonies from different NHS chapters. This provides a point of reference which facilitates discussions about what works and what doesn’t during the various ceremonies. After visiting as many induction ceremonies as possible without disrupting student schedules, ask your NHS members three critical questions: 1) What worked in the ceremonies we attended? 2) What did not work? 3) What changes would you implement to make the induction ceremony more successful and memorable?
Session #2: Ask students to break into small groups and review copies of the script for your chapter’s induction ceremony. Ask the same questions you did in Session #1, but this time ask them about your own induction ceremony. Follow this activity with an all-group brainstorming session. Encourage attendees to pose every possible idea to make the induction ceremony better. Even though it will be the chapter adviser’s responsibility to ultimately determine or approve the format, try to incorporate as many student suggestions as possible. Through this, students will recognize they must take ownership of the activity, and their commitment and involvement level skyrockets.
Session #3: Review the brainstormed ideas, and ask students which ones are practical and realistically possible to accomplish. This initiates an interesting discussion in which the students themselves determine what should and could be accomplished. Once students select an induction ceremony by consensus, they should work to put together the following:
- The format for the induction
- A list of required speakers to address the audience
- The guest list for the activity
- A breakdown of materials required (e.g., candles, badges, balloons, banners, bows for seats, signs, audiovisual and digital presentations, etc.)
- Any other elements pertaining to individual requirements for the induction
Session #4: Based on the information compiled so far, draft a new induction script. Students should then determine which members will be in charge of the different parts of the ceremony. The key to the success of our induction planning model is the selection of four students-preferably senior NHS members-who are committed to writing a brief essay on each one of the four pillars of NHS. These students would then share these writings as speeches during the ceremony. Tip: An NHS senior was assigned as musical director for our induction ceremony and performed the musical cues live. Every school has musically inclined students, and they do not necessarily have to be NHS members to perform this duty. This helps create an awareness of NHS throughout the student body.
Session #5 (and beyond): Students should now be committed to rehearsing and polishing their speeches. Solidify the logistics of your ceremony, such as the space, order of events, and date and time of the event. Our induction ceremonies are held after school hours, starting at 6:00 p.m. This is done to allow parents, friends, and relatives of our NHS members to attend. The average time allotted for our ceremony is about 50–60 minutes.
The adviser’s participation and leadership is crucial to the success of this activity. You must be the motivator who knows when to step back and allow the students’ true leadership skills to shine, while at the same time monitoring and steering the students’ energy and ideas.
José J. Ortiz-Carlo, MAE Ed. Comp., is the National Honor Society adviser for the Carmen A. Morales chapter at George O’ Robinson School in San Juan, Puerto Rico.