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National Honor Society members serve community

Park Rapids NHS officers this year are, from left, Justine Rittgers, Calvin Bateman, Ryan DeLaHunt and Tyler McCollum.

BY Anna Erickson

Park Rapids Area High School’s National Honor Society members are eager to volunteer and spend time giving back to the community.

This year’s officers are seniors Ryan DeLaHunt, Tyler McCollum, Justine Rittgers and Calvin Bateman.

“The core values are service, leadership, scholarship and character,” said NHS adviser Vicki Schroeder.

They have spent time doing service projects such as bell ringing for the Salvation Army red kettle campaign, working in the concession booth and helping out at school rec nights.

On Halloween, students do a “Trick or Canning” event where they ask for donated items for the Hubbard County Food Shelf instead of candy.

National Honor Society (NHS) was established by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

NHS recognizes outstanding high school students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service and character. These characteristics have been associated with membership in the organization since its beginning in 1921.

In Park Rapids, 48 juniors and seniors are members of NHS. Students need a cumulative 3.5 GPA or higher and must apply to become a member.

“A committee of teachers and staff look at the applications and makes a decision,” Schroeder said. “It’s based on service and leadership.”

NHS has a goal to teach leadership skills. Students who are members must continue to set a good example.

They are required to put in 15 hours of service.

Other service projects throughout the year include Random Act of Kindness Day, handing out carnations and a staff appreciation day.

Many of the NHS members are also involved in their church youth groups and volunteer there as well.

“I joined because it was an honor to be part of an established organization,” Bateman said.

McCollum said he enjoys helping out others. De La Hunt said the Trick or Canning event was a lot of fun and people were surprised that kids would spend their Halloween doing a service project.

The officers also all agree that putting their NHS membership on their college applications and resumes will look good.

It is estimated that more than one million students participate in NHS activities nationwide. Chapter membership not only recognizes students for their accomplishments but challenges them to develop further through active involvement in school activities and community service.

Though many local and regional honor societies existed prior to 1921, no nationwide organization had been founded. Under the leadership of Dr. Edward Rynearson, principal of the Fifth Avenue High School in Pittsburgh, the organization grew from the original Alpha Chapter at the Fifth Avenue School to more than 1,000 chapters by 1930. Equipped with a constitution, an emblem and motto, and a group of dedicated principals as coordinators, the new NHS organization quickly developed into one of the country’s leading educational groups.

Four main purposes have guided chapters of NHS from the beginning: to create enthusiasm for scholarship; to stimulate a desire to render service; to promote leadership; and to develop character in the students of secondary schools. These purposes also translate into the criteria used for membership selection in each local chapter.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
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