National Honor Society Open to Online Students
National Honor Society (NHS), self-proclaimed as the “oldest and most respected student organization in the United States,” accepts members from online high schools across the country, including K12 schools.
Established in 1921, NHS is about achievement, extolling the virtues of scholarship, leadership, character, and service, and is designed to distinguish students committed to those pursuits.
Although scholastic achievement in the form of high grades is a prerequisite for membership, participating schools establish their own criteria for membership, including a minimum number of community service or student leadership hours. Students, considered at the beginning of the second semester of their junior years, must also maintain GPA standards to retain membership.
National Honor Society is designed to enable students to network with other student, community, and business leaders, as well as faculty, to serve their community, attain their educational goals, and promote personal growth.
As in traditional schools, online students from participating schools must qualify for NHS membership. Those seeking to join the National Honor Society must submit an eligibility form. Candidates are accepted or rejected for NHS membership at the local level, where school officials also consider citizenship and participation in school activities as criteria, as well as grades. Therefore, each National Honor Society chapter may be represented by a different number of students each year.
Currently, the majority of larger K12 online high schools have NHS chapters and some have National Junior High School (NJHS) chapters as well.
“Our students have become very excited in providing service outside and inside of the school,” says Samantha Crowell, NJHS adviser at Ohio Virtual Academy (OHVA). “One way in which students serve within the school is by tutoring their peers in math and reading. One student said: ‘I enjoying helping others with their schoolwork. It not only advances their knowledge, but I am learning in the process as well.’ ”
Ohio Virtual Academy, which launched its NJHS for middle school students in 2008, had 49 members working on service and peer tutoring projects at the middle school level and 59 NHS high school members, each maintaining a GPA of 3.8 or higher, this year. OHVA will be welcoming more than 100 new members for the 2015–2016 school year.
In addition to peer mentoring, OHVA students annually raise funds by hosting a Red Cross blood drive and collect contributions for local food banks and humane societies with multiple statewide drives. Just this month, OHVA NHS students hosted an interactive fair to acquire books for inner-city youth in the Columbus, Ohio, area and walked in support of the First Candle Foundation to fight Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID). Like most chapters, OHVA holds annual elections for NHS officers and an induction ceremonies for incoming members.
Featured Image via National Honor Society
Seth Livingstone is a veteran writer and editor who has spent much of his career in sports journalism covering multiple Olympic Games, Super Bowls, World Series, and Daytona 500s. He covered the Boston Red Sox throughout the 1980s and 1990s before joining USA Today and Baseball Weekly in 1999. He maintains his membership in the Baseball Writers Association of America and is a Hall of Fame voter. Seth holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University and has also worked as a substitute teacher (all grades and subjects). He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and has two grown children.