The National Honor Society is a well-known organization that recognizes high school students for their outstanding scholarship, service, citizenship and leadership. The corresponding organization for students in middle school is known as the Junior National Honor Society (sometimes referred to as the National Junior Honor Society). This organization recognizes the same qualities as the National Honor Society. Chapters of the National Junior Honor Society, commonly abbreviated as NJHS, exist all over the country. Entry into the organization is a great academic honor, but requires students to meet the NJHS requirements for entry set by their school and maintain the organization's standards of excellence. Doing so usually requires maintaining a high grade point average (GPA) and performing a certain amount of community service each year.

National Honor Society History

The National Association of Secondary School Principals established the National Junior Honor Society in 1929, eight years after the same organization founded the National Honor Society. The NJHS serves the same purpose as its parent organization, recognizing students for their noteworthy academic achievements and guiding them towards an interest in civil responsibility and service, in addition to academic success. Each chapter and each member of the organization must complete a certain amount of service hours as well. This community service component of Honor Society membership has existed since the beginning of the organization: the founders believed that connecting students to their communities was just as important as fostering an interest in academic performance.

School NJHS Chapters

Schools interested in starting a new chapter of the National Junior Honor Society must contact the national NJHS office and then complete and submit an application, along with a chartering fee. Approved chapters must then follow the rules and guidelines represented by the NJHS National Constitution. Individual chapters can elect their own faculty advisers and, of course, elect and induct new NJHS members. While many schools start new NJHS chapters to help recognize and support high-performing students, membership in the national organization gives schools access to exclusive training programs, conferences, and other resources that can benefit the entire school's student population alongside those students inducted into the NJHS.

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NJHS Requirements For Membership

All National Junior Honor Society chapters must follow the same basic criteria for electing new members. The four primary characteristics that NJHS emphasizes include scholarship, service, leadership, character and citizenship. To meet the scholarship requirement, students must have achieved a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a standard 4.0 scale. Individual schools can decide to elect members with a higher minimum grade point average. Individual schools can also set their own standards for measuring service, leadership, character and citizenship. These can range from filling out timesheets during volunteer service, requiring members to take part in clubs or other student organizations, or having students write essays or complete other assignments about local government or related topics.

Student Induction Ceremonies

Individual chapters are responsible for planning and organizing their own membership induction ceremonies. These ceremonies typically take place once per semester or academic year to induct recently elected members into the organization. The National Junior Honor Society induction ceremony is often a significant event on a school's academic calendar, where newly-elected members are welcomed at a formal gathering with speeches, certificates, and public recognition. Local chapters often give new members an NJHS pin during their induction ceremonies to be worn at graduation or during formal events. Pins can be ordered through the NHS catalog of products.

Contacting the National Honor Societies

The national offices for both the National Junior Honor Society and the National Honor society are now located in Reston, Virginia:

NHS and NJHS 1904 Association Dr. Reston, VA 20191 703-860-0200

About the Author

Lisa Porter began writing professionally in 2009. She writes for various websites and has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature.