Some high school experiences are so meaningful that they become precious lifelong memories. For many students, these unforgettable moments include carefully crafted ceremonies that mark induction into esteemed student organizations.
National Honor Society, or NHS, is a national organization for high school students that seeks to honor students who demonstrate excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service and character. Students are eligible for induction into National Honor Society in 10th through 12th grade, which is done through a formal induction ceremony in the spring held by respective school chapters. The National NHS Council requires that induction ceremonies be appropriate and impressive.
During the ceremony, candles can be lit to highlight the four core values of National Honor Society. As each candle is lit, a current member of the school's chapter can read a definition of one of the values. Candles can be in different colors to represent each of the values or in school colors. Students can also light candles to represent the school and the national NHS council. Current NHS advisers can order special candle sets for this purpose from the NHS store. If the induction is being held in a school where open flame is not allowed, LED candles can be used.
Pin New Members
National Honor Society Chapters can purchase pins for students that bear the NHS torch logo. As new members are called to be inducted into the society, a current member can place the pin on their shirt, making them an official member of the society and providing them with a keepsake.
Recitation of Pledge
All new inductees of National Honor Society should recite the NHS pledge before being formally inducted into the school's chapter. The suggested pledge reads: "I (state name), being aware of the honor, which is being bestowed upon me by my selection for membership in the National Honor Society, do hereby pledge loyalty to this organization. It shall be my earnest purpose to give unsparingly of my time and energy toward the promotion of all school activities. I will strive to be at all times a model student, and will never knowingly bring reproach upon my school. I pledge myself to uphold the high purpose of this society for which I have been selected striving in every way by word and deed to make its ideals the ideals of my school and of my life." The pledge can be modified by the school chapter.
Gift to Parents
During the induction ceremony, take time to recognize the parents/guardians and other family members of the students with a small token of appreciation. The official flower of National Honor Society is a yellow rose which could be given to each of the families in attendance. Families could also be given a candle in blue or gold, the official colors of National Honor Society.
Poetry is always a good option for bringing a potent message and sense of solemnity to an induction ceremony. To make this component even more meaningful, a current National Honor Society member can write an original poem or read a poem that promotes the society's values. Some compelling poems to consider include "If" by Rudyard Kipling and "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost.
Inviting a guest to deliver a speech that reflects the focus of National Honor Society is a powerful way to reinforce the values of the student organization while bringing attention to important people and organizations from the community. This could be a government official or the head of a local service organization. Listening to a guest speaker can encourage inductees as they see NHS values reflected in the real world and also inspire future service projects. At the end of the ceremony, donations could be taken to support the cause the speaker represents.
Presenting a slide show of pictures of the chapter's activities and service projects is an excellent way to build excitement among new inductees and honor the work the chapter has already completed. The slide show could also build community in the organization by highlighting current members and introducing new members with their photo and some background information such as current grade, interests, and aspirations.
Stacy Zeiger began writing in 2000 for "Suburban News Publication" in Ohio and has expanded to teaching writing as an eighth grade English teacher. Zeiger completed creative writing course work at Miami University and holds a B.A. in English and a M.Ed. in secondary education from Ohio State.