2014 Winner


Rebecca Duda
Lakeview Junior High School
Dracut, MA

NASSP (the National Association of Secondary School Principals) is proud to announce the 2014 winner of the Rynearson Award recognizing the NHS and NJHS Adviser of the Year. This year’s winner is Rebecca Duda, NJHS adviser and teacher at Lakeview Junior High School in Dracut, MA.

“Everything that is the National Junior Honor Society at Lakeview is because of Ms. Duda.” So says student Mark Deveau, president of the NJHS chapter at Lakeview as he concluded his recommendation for his adviser. “She is the one who plans everything that is going on with the Honor Society. This includes all of our group community service opportunities, having a booth for us at the town’s annual Old Home Day, and communicating opportunities at other schools.”

Don’t be deceived by Mark’s comment—there’s a lot to becoming a well-respected adviser at LJHS. Ms. Duda strongly believes that, “working with students to teach them how to organize community service projects, how to budget their time for service, and then seeing them continue in high school with giving back to the community is extremely rewarding as an NJHS adviser.” Between the value of service completed through the chapter and the recognition of hard work and achievement in the classroom, Ms. Duda is a firm believer in the value that NJHS brings to schools.

Over the last four years, the NJHS chapter, under Ms. Duda’s leadership, has collected food, donated to the Salvation Army, sponsored a volleyball tournament, and perhaps most proudly, earned national recognition for their Harvest Ball/Senior Citizen Support Project when it was identified as an Outstanding Service Project by NJHS in 2011. No stranger to personal recognition, among her awards Ms. Duda received a Milken Award in 2009, was identified as the Outstanding Middle School Social Studies Teacher by the Massachusetts Council for Social Studies in 2006, and received the Youth Impact Award by Dracut Access TV in 2010. Her principal, Robert Fitzgerald, describes her as a “shining star on our faculty. She is what I call a ‘two percenter,’ meaning I feel that she is totally committed to her role as an educator and falls into a category where only the elite are placed.”

Dr. Fitzgerald also commented on Ms. Duda’s work as NJHS adviser by noting that, “she works year round to ensure the Lakeview chapter of NJHS is a robust program for our members.” From the list of projects completed under her leadership and the impact she is making both in the classroom and through activities of the school, it is easy to see why the NHS & NJHS National Council selected Rebecca Duda as this year’s winner of the Rynearson Award.

The Rynearson Award, named for the founder of NHS, Edward Rynearson, principal of the Fifth Avenue School in Pittsburgh, PA, annually recognizes an outstanding adviser in honor of the individual’s service and dedication to the Honor Society, and for exemplifying the commitment and perseverance of the founder.