Editor of Production
This spring, National Honor Society will induct its largest class of students since its founding at Jamesville-DeWitt High School. One hundred and thirty seniors will receive NHS distinction out of about 244 students in the Class of 2017. “That really speaks to the high level of academic success here at J-D,” says senior Julia Vasquez.
There are four basic tenets of NHS: Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Character. To be considered for NHS distinction, students must fulfill the requirements for all four aspects. In the Class of 2017, members must have earned a weighted average of 90 or above. For service, members are required to participate in volunteer work, and, to judge their character, a letter of recommendation is written by a teacher about each student. “NHS is a club students care about. They’re putting a lot of their time and effort into it,” says senior Jake Harron.
However, others feel that the large number of NHS inductees diminishes the distinction’s overall honor. “Over half of our grade is in the club. The majority of them have only taken one or two APs, if any. Having so many people eliminates any feelings of accomplishment for being in NHS,” says senior Raj Sharma.
“It defeats the purpose if the club isn’t relatively exclusive. If the majority is in NHS, there isn’t a point to it being an honor,” says senior Julia Dettor. But others argue that that the large portion of students in NHS reflects the high degree of academic motivation here at J-DHS. “For over half of our senior class to be earning a weighted average of an A or better is really remarkable,” says Vasquez.
Dettor claims that reaching the weighted average threshold of a 90 isn’t necessarily indicative of the diligent students expected to be in NHS. “I feel like it’s very easy to get a 90 weighted average, especially with the support system and grade inflation we have here at J-D,” she says. “To leave the minimum weighted GPA requirement at a 90 just isn’t an incentive to motivate people to get into NHS,” says Dettor. With a highly exceptional high school like J-DHS, “we should always be trying to raise the bar to the next level,” says Dettor.
The Faculty Council responsible for reviewing NHS applicants is currently looking to do just that. The group is considering increasing the required GPA for acceptance into NHS, says club adviser and guidance counselor Diane Ennis. “They have recognized that the GPA may be an issue, and they’re looking at creating a proposal for down the road that would not affect this year’s juniors,” says Mrs. Ennis.
While most students are very vocal about raising the required GPA for acceptance into NHS, Mrs. Ennis is more ambivalent about the issue. “I’m really torn. I think it is a high number of students in NHS, and I truly don’t know if it takes away from NHS being an honor. On the flip side, I read seniors’ essays, and they talk about NHS being one of their proudest moments, and how could we take that away from them,” says Mrs. Ennis.
The Faculty Council will be debating this issue over the coming months, and it isn’t clear yet when a decision will be made about raising the required GPA. As long as this year’s juniors are concerned, the possibility of a higher requirement will not impact their acceptance into NHS.