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National Honor Society Inducts 52 New Members In Moving Ceremony

by Rebecca Raub

Every year, the National Honor Society holds an induction ceremony to celebrate both new and old recruits and their achievement of having a 3.5 GPA or higher, and having no major disciplinary misconduct on their record. Only juniors and seniors can be in NHS, and students can be accepted both years, or just senior year.

All students meeting these requirements will receive an invitation to which they must fill out a packet to prove their qualification. They must have adequate service hours, leadership opportunities, and academic awards, along with essays about their character. If you are deemed fit for NHS, you will receive a letter stating your acceptance, and an invitation to the induction ceremony.

Members all gathered along with family, friends, and loved ones to celebrate the accomplishments of these dedicated students on Tuesday, November 28th. The ceremony began at 7 PM, with students expected to arrive 30 minutes early to get into the lines in which they would go up on stage.

The ceremony began with a welcome from NHS president senior Michael Tauriello. He began his speech by saying, “Inductees, I was sitting where you are right now one year ago… This is one of the greatest, most rewarding opportunities you can be offered to enhance your overall status in high school.”

Tauriello continued to inspire everyone in the audience by saying, “Scholarship is just the foundation of the other three pillars, the National Honor Society is based on- character, service, and leadership,” and ”Leonardo da Vinci once said, ‘It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.’ I think this quote really exhibits how these students got here tonight.”

His speech ended by saying, “I would like to congratulate all of the inductees tonight on their achievements, and I would like to welcome you all into the Walkersville High School chapter of the National Honor Society.”

Next up was WHS principal Tracey Kibler, who provided opening remarks. She talked about the FCPS initiative for civility awareness, and how NHS members show civil character. She also introduced senior Keren Ott, who will representing WHS next week in front of the esteemed Dr. Forni. Kibler handpicked Ott as someone who truly embeds the characteristics of civility.

NHS advisor Jamie Skena gave an introduction to the audience and both old and new members. She began her speech by saying, “Tonight we formally recognize 52 outstanding juniors and seniors who have been selected by the faculty members.”

Some highlights of her speech included, “Our chapter is proud to have been inducting new members since 1988. Every member who has come through Walkersville High School has signed the book that you see on the desk in front of you and all of our new members will add their names to a piece of history tonight,” and “Our chapter members are leaders in many student organizations and we serve our school and community through many activities.”

Each of the four student leaders gave a personal speech about their position and one of the four key pillars of the National Honor Society. They shared their personal commitment to leadership that got them where they are today, and how the pillar they spoke of deeply related to their personal experiences. Parliamentarian Jonathan Rushbrook spoke of scholarship, while Vice President Susanna Chen spoke about character, followed by treasurer Julie Yang’s discussion of service, and finally secretary Sofia Bower’s take on leadership. We are very lucky to have such amazing and well spoken people represent WHS and what it means to be an honorable student.

Guest speaker, our beloved English teacher Diana Sung, gave a speech about what NHS is truly about. “I am so lucky because every day I get to come in here and teach these students and others like them… you guys are amazing. I am awed by your accomplishments and your maturity.” Sung went on to share a touching anecdote about her teenage years, and shared a quote from Einstein, “It is a miracle curiosity survives formal education.”

Sung touched every audience member’s hearts in this beautiful speech by saying, “I admire all of you for having the guts to try, to really try. Today we honor your success; we aren’t just honoring your grades though, remember that. Scholarship, academic learning, it’s about more than grades… I am so very very grateful that I get to work with young people every day… I see students fail and rise, and fail and rise again.” She concluded by sharing the idea, that we should “never forget learning is a miracle.”

After the speeches from the talented student leaders of NHS and our hardworking WHS staff, inductees lined up on stage where they walked one at a time as Rushbrook and Chen called their name, and signed the famous book. After signing, they received their pins and shook hands with Kibler, Sung, and the rest of the student leaders.

Students who were inducted returned to their seats, where both old and new members, as well as any audience members who wished to join said the National Honor Society Pledge, repeating after Tauriello. Everyone was dismissed from the auditorium to enjoy ice cream sundaes in the commons, take pictures, and bond with family and friends. The ceremony went extremely smoothly, and every student in attendance deserves full recognition and praise. If you see one of your peers dressed up and wearing the signature NHS pin, be sure to congratulate them!

Junior Allie Hope shared her thoughts about how it felt to be an inductee, “It went well, all of the speeches were really good. It was kind of nerve-wracking walking across the stage, but no one tripped. It’s really cool to be inducted and I’m excited for what we’re going to do this year.”

Senior and returning member Melissa Netzer said, “It was cool to see all the inductees in the same place we were last year. I understood the pain of being nervous about tripping or dropping the pen. I thought the speeches were very good this year.”

If you are a sophomore or junior, be sure to work hard to try and become a member next year. However, this year there was only a 57% acceptance rate from all that applied, so it definitely is a challenge to get in. Even if you didn’t this year or don’t in the future, do not be discouraged because this does not mean you are not a hardworking and deserving student.

Photos by Tracey Kibler