St. Patrick National Honor Society Committed to Service
Every year right before spring break, St. Patrick School celebrates another prestigious event. This event is the St. Patrick School National Honor Society Induction ceremony. At this beautiful ceremony, we not only welcome our new members, but also celebrate our second- and third-year members. This year we inducted 14 new members and honored 25 returning members.
If one were to ask most people what the National Honor Society (NHS) is about, they would probably say NHS members are the students who wear the honor cords or stoles at graduation. They may mention an NHS member tutoring other students, or other service projects. While it is true that the National Honor Society is an organization that honors the best and brightest high school students, it is actually far more. The National Honor Society is built upon four core values: scholarship, leadership, character, and service.
To become a member of the NHS, students must meet high academic standards. The national minimum grade point average (GPA) is 3.0 and it is up to each chapter to decide whether they would like to require a higher GPA for induction. Here at St. Patrick High School, the minimum GPA to be considered for membership is 3.700. All students meeting the criteria, starting in the spring of their sophomore year, are invited to apply. Prospective members must pass a review by their teachers who evaluate characteristics such as trustworthiness, responsibility, and leadership by example. Candidates must also have a clean discipline record. You may be surprised that despite the rigorous college prep curriculum at our school, approximately 60% of sophomores, juniors and seniors at St. Patrick’s are NHS members.
Once a member of the National Honor Society, students are required to commit themselves to volunteer service and leadership roles. While many NHS chapters at other schools count hours of service, NHS at St. Patrick High School does something a bit different. Instead, our NHS members are expected to commit to taking on two ongoing service projects or volunteer roles over the course of the year. These projects have to be ongoing in nature, and in two out of three categories: school, church, or community. For instance, a student may be an altar server and a tutor. Or they may be a peer-to-peer mentor and volunteer at a food pantry on a regular basis. This year, we have NHS members serving and leading their school as class, student council, and NHS officers; mind over matter committee members; tutors; library aids; and teacher’s assistants. They also serve the church as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, altar servers, and greeters. In our broader community, for instance, we have had members who volunteered with a local cat sanctuary, Crop Walk, Positive Solutions Informed Choices, and doing lawn maintenance for elderly neighbors.
In addition to individual service, our chapter takes part in several projects together. Each year we host four blood drives with the American Red Cross. Last year, thanks to community support, we collected over 130 units of blood! Last spring, St. Patrick High School was the only school in mid Michigan that still hosted a blood drive after schools were shut down due to Covid-19. We also collect toys for Toys for Tots; this past year collecting over 200 toys for children in need in our county. This tradition continued in November despite all high schools across the state being closed due to the pandemic.
I have been blown away by how the culture of our NHS chapter is viewed by our students, parents, and the community. It is a joy to have the opportunity to see our students learn and grow by being servant leaders in our school, church and community.
This column was written with the assistance of Mr. Jordan Smith, the St. Patrick School advisor for our National Honor Society chapter.