The Importance of Honoring Extraordinary Students

Written by Maggie D. | Posted in Academic Success

NHS banner

Sometimes all you need for a really great day are 24 students and 5 candles.

That sounds confusing. Let me start at the beginning.

A few weeks ago, I got a phone call asking if I wanted to be a part of starting a chapter of National Honor Society (NHS) at Whitmore School by becoming the advisor. I tried to play it cool, but I had already said “YES!” before Ellen and Jeannette (our principal and educational director, respectively) finished asking the question.

And so it began.

  • Writing by-laws.
  • Application for membership.
  • Acceptance email.
  • Building a faculty council.
  • Invitations to our very first group of students.
  • Planning the induction ceremony.
  • Testing out Zoom.
  • Meetings, phone calls, emails.

All of these things happened in less than a month to get us ready for June 10th at 9 AM EST.

And then the induction ceremony day arrived!  (I was so excited I couldn’t even finish my breakfast!) 24 students from FL, GA, IL, MA, MD, MI, NC, NY, SC, TX, WI, WV, Israel, Thailand and Uruguay,  logged into a Zoom meeting for their induction ceremony.

I saw the inductees, the faculty council, our principal, our educational director, and five candles.

I heard the voices of our principal welcoming students and honored guests and introducing members of the faculty council.

I heard our educational director tell of our maiden voyage with NHS and how this specific group of inductees was so dear to our hearts!

I heard the members of our faculty council—Alys, Clint, Derwin, Mary, and Stephanie—speak about the four pillars of NHS: Scholarship, Character, Leadership, and Service. The induction ceremony concluded with a challenge to our NHS members to vote on a global community service project that could be conducted locally and safely during Covid-19. Wow! This year’s project would be to spread cheer to neighbors who may feel isolated during Covid-19 and self-distancing. A simple gesture that will impact people around the world. Wow again!

I lit a 12-inch blue candle for each pillar, and a 10-inch gold candle in the center to represent the students as they rise to the challenge presented to them. (I’m an English teacher….everything is a metaphor!)

I even got to lead the inductees in their pledge to become NHS members and commit themselves to a lifelong endeavor of scholarship, leadership, service, and character.

And now, as the NHS advisor for Whitmore School, I have the honor and privilege of hearing their ideas for how they can continue spread cheer to their communities through service, seeing them give countless hours back to the places they call home, and hearing the joy in their writing as they reflect on these opportunities.

Now doesn’t that sound like a really great day?

When extraordinary teens are recognized, honored and challenged, they step up and accomplish extraordinary service to others.

Whitmore School, serving high school students around the world, is a private online school where students are empowered to take charge of their education. One of the first tasks for new students is to complete the New Student Orientation and set a schedule of “going to school”. Click here to read more about the Life of a Whitmore Student.

Written by:

Maggie D.
English Department Co-Chair and English Teacher

Maggie D.


June 23, 2020 in ,

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