There are many awards and honors available to high school students, but one of the most recognized is membership in the National Honor Society. This organization is established in high schools in all 50 states of the US and is considered the “gold standard” of academic achievement.
The National Honor Society was founded in 1921 by the National Association of Secondary School Principals as a means of honoring academic achievement, good character and leadership potential. The organization seeks to inspire students to continue to excel academically, and also to render service in their communities.
Students in grades 10-12 are eligible for membership in the National Honor Society if their school has an active chapter. The students must maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average (or 85 percent) and should be of good character. School principals nominate students for the NHS, usually on the recommendation of the NHS faculty adviser for the school. When the student is accepted for membership, he or she and all the other candidates are formally inducted into the society.
National Honor Society chapters must complete a service project of some kind every academic year, in order to stay active within the national organization. Chapters also have regular meetings to conduct business and plan service projects. Like other clubs, they elect officers and raise funds for the organization. Students must maintain their grade point averages and pay their annual dues to remain active and members in good standing.
A major benefit of being a member of the NHS is the eligibility for college scholarships. Most scholarship selection committees see being a member of the NHS as a great asset for any student and will automatically consider this student for the scholarship. The NHS also offers its own scholarship to its members, if they are recommended by their chapter advisers. However, students applying for other scholarships, especially those based on academics and service, will find their road to acceptance made easier by membership in the NHS.
The National Honor Society sells jewelry, such as pendants and pins, that allow students to show their membership in the NHS, but the society also provides a way to recognize students at their graduation exercises. Seniors in good standing with the NHS can purchase a white satin stole with the NHS emblem to wear with their graduation robes. Many NHS students also wear a white tassel on their mortarboards, with the NHS emblem. This ensures the National Honor Society students are recognized for their achievements and hard work even as they receive their diplomas.