National Honor Society is a group that only the best and brightest in the nation are invited to join. Students are required to exemplify scholarship, leadership, service, and character to attain admittance into this highly selective club. But, accepted students can be put on probation or even expelled from the organization if they no longer meet the academic standards and service requirements. Each school participating in National Honor Society is considered a chapter, and there are thousands of chapters across the United States, and almost one million students across the country participate.
Students in Walpole that are part of National Honor Society, founded in 1921 by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, are supposed to volunteer individually for a minimum of 20 hours, attend group service projects, organize monthly meetings, figure out means of financial support for the group, and hold a 3.65 grade point average. Only about 30 students from the class of 2011 were admitted into the group, and some students are feeling the effects of the demanding requirements of National Honor Society. Some kids put forth the effort to apply for National Honor Society because it looks impressive on their college applications; however, the workload of the society may outweigh the name.
The main goal of the National Honor Society is to organize and attend community outreach events to benefit the community. Nevertheless, National Honor Society members are required to work Parent-Teacher Conferences, Open House, and 8th-grade Tour Night, to serve the school’s needs, instead of the community’s. The countless hours the National Honor Society group members spend in after school events do not count toward their volunteer hour requirements. The school should not always depend on National Honor Society kids to step up and lead Walpole High’s after school events. Other groups such as Student Council and other school groups should help with running school events. Teachers have even suggested creating a volunteer club specifically geared towards helping with after school gatherings. Other groups should be called upon to help the administration with open houses and conferences.
National Honor Society students’ main goal is to help the community; therefore, their time and effort should not be wasted solely on school events. The students are required to fulfill 20 hours of independent community service, but as a group the National Honor Society does not do much to help the community. The club should get together as a whole to help the community rather than the schools.
The requirements for National Honor Society differ from state to state, and even town to town. In Medfield, students can be members of the organization if they are in the 10th, 11th, or 12th grade, but in Walpole only seniors are allowed to participate in National Honor Society. Candidates for the group in Walpole have to obtain a 3.65 grade point average; while, in Medfield candidates only have to reach 3.33 grade point average to be considered for the club. In Brockton, students need a 3.55 grade point average, and juniors and seniors can participate in the club. Walpole’s 3.65 required GPA came about when the school switched from the GPI to the GPA grading system. The 3.65 was derived from taking the average 3.80 GPA of an honors class with an unweighted 3.40 GPA of a college prep class. The 3.65 was also determined by looking at tech and non-tech schools from the surrounding area and their GPA requirements to get into National Honor Society. But the GPA should be lowered a small amount to allow more students to get into the organization. If there are more students in the club, then more service can be done to help the community. The sheer number of National Honor Society students also come into play when comparing other chapters in the area to Walpole. Almost 7% of Foxboro students and 5% of Wellesley students participate in National Honor Society; however, Walpole has only 2% of its total student population in National Honor Society. The differences in qualifications bring up the question: Are the separate National Honor Society chapters being consistent and fair with the national standards?
Group coordinators are willing to notify students in 10th grade about the qualifications for National Honor Society, and most teachers would like more students to become part of National Honor Society. Students should be notified at an earlier age as to what the National Honor Society requirements are so that they can work to attain the 3.65 grade point average.
National Honor Society prides itself on the character and leadership it brings into the community; however, the Walpole National Honor Society is more focused on putting on school events rather than helping the community as a whole. The Walpole National Honor Society should be more on par with other towns’ qualifications and allow more students to participate in the organization as well.