The Search For Prestige

Reverence, prestige, recognition and an upgraded college application – these are all obtainable through acceptance into the National Honor Society. Waukee has its own branch of this renowned organization, and it has recently begun its selection process for 2014.

“National Honor Society is a merit and honor organization that recognizes students who are successful and high achievers in the areas of character, scholarship, service and leadership,” stated Waukee teacher Adam Werley. Mr. Werley leads the selection process for the Waukee chapter and has shared insight as to how students become members. According to Werley, the NHS application is open to juniors and seniors who have received, by mail, an invitation to apply.

The formal invitation reaches all students who have maintained a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher. Werley mentioned some schools have a 3.0 GPA requirement, but Waukee is able to hold a higher standard. Once invited, students applying for admittance must fill out a packet, listing all service and leadership experience they may have earned throughout their high school career.

Requirements for admittance into NHS rely on the organization’s four pillars: scholarship, leadership, service and character. The GPA-based invitation and the aforementioned application packet account for the first three. Werley explained how the selection committee ensures the accepted members measure up character-wise, “I get in touch with the faculty to find out a bit more about any character issues or outstanding character traits students might have.”

Werley revealed that, on average, about 125 students apply for the Waukee chapter of NHS. Though this is only around 50% of the invited pool, it remains an impressive number of eager applicants. Werley suggested the main reasons students do not submit an application: either the kids invited simply possess no interest in the opportunity or they believe they cannot meet the criteria. For those who do apply, however, plenty of hope exists. Werley described the advantage the NHS applicants have over those for other, similar organizations, “Unlike things like NCYL, where we are limited to 16, we don’t have any rules in our local bylaws that limit us to a set number of students. So the group can be as big or as small as the applicant pool determines.”

Once students emerge into the world of NHS, certain expectations exist for them. As Werley reported, “Part of the requirement is that you do at least two service projects with the group. One of the things we try to focus on is being available to other groups at the high school that might need some extra manpower.” Some examples of the group’s commitment to this goal include its involvement with RAK, stadium cleanup, Meals from the Heartland, the food pantry, Reggie’s sleep out and more.

Aside from the service opportunities, admittance into NHS brings numerous advantages and benefits. Werley explained what he believes is the most important thing that can be earned through this organization, “We emphasize a continued appreciation of what it means to work hard and be a leader and give back to the group. It’s not just a ‘Congratulations! Here you are. You made it.’ We try to talk about continuing to build those attributes upon which students are selected.”

Junior applicant Bri Young offered her reasoning for wanting to be a part of NHS, “NHS is a big honor, and not many people get into it, which made me want to pursue it.” She continued, “I hope that I can continue to improve on my leadership abilities.” Young involves