The National Honor Society (NHS) and National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) are two arms of an organization dedicated to recognizing excellence in middle and high school students. The groups honor students who have excelled in scholarship, leadership, service and character. More than 1 million students participate in NHS and NJHS programs and activities as of 2010. Participating students are recognized for their work and challenged to develop their character through civil service.
Four purposes have guided NHS and NJHS since its inception: to create excitement for academia; to stimulate a desire for citizen service; to build leadership skills; and to develop character in students. NHS and NJHS chapters are found in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and Canada.
Students must exhibit exemplary performance in four categories: scholarship, service, leadership and character to be considered for membership.
To be considered for membership admittance, a student must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0, or a B average. Once a student has met this requirement, he can be considered based on the other three qualifications.
This characteristic is defined through a student's activities. This requirement examines a candidate's citizen or community service experience. Some students help at soup kitchens or read to the elderly. Candidates must prove that they've done a certain amount of community service, showing compassion, positivity and courteousness to the people they help.
Student leaders are good problem-solvers, involved in school activities such as student government or sports, and are resourceful and inventive. They contribute to class and school discussions and genuinely care about the welfare of their classmates. They work well with others and respect their elders.
A student's character is assessed by how she responds to adversity and challenge, always taking the high moral ground and displaying appropriate behavior. Students with good character are responsible, honest and courteous. These students also live relatively good and clean lifestyles, they do not use illegal drugs or use profane language.
The NHS provides members with many life-changing opportunities. The organization has several scholarship programs that send underprivileged students to college each year. There are many opportunities to earn awards within the association; students win them for working in their communities or inventing things that aid the community. For instance, each year, NHS gives out five Outstanding Service Project awards to chapters that make significant contributions to their communities in the form of construction or beautification projects.
- honors graduate image by Leticia Wilson from Fotolia.com