National Honor Society inducts record-breaking 126 new members

photo credit: Amy May
New inductee \\ Junior Ryah Hill receives the delivery of her NHS medal as her online class watches through her chromebook. “It was a super unique experience,” Hill said.

**This story won 2nd place in the Lone Star Writing Contest!**

When students who are highly dedicated to their academics are asked about their clubs and extracurriculars, it often leads to the simple shrug of their shoulders, followed by something along the lines of, “I just don’t have time for things like that.” While grades can be a valid excuse not to commit to time-consuming things like athletics and performing arts, there is one club in particular that is aimed directly at academically excelling students. This club is the National Honor Society.

The smiles on the Inductees’ faces made the effort worth it. Everyone should have the chance to celebrate a great accomplishment that required hard work.”

— Mrs. Amy May, NHS sponsor

On Oct. 21, the admission to NHS was performed in the form of “tapping” for on-campus learners, and a personal medal delivery to online students. During a typical school year, NHS tapping would have taken a very literal form: a quick tap on the shoulder for those who had been chosen. However, due to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, “tapping” came in the form of an NHS leader standing in front of each classroom, and listing the names of those who were selected for induction.

Junior Madison Parkin was one of the students invited to the first round of inductions, solely based on her grades. She then submitted various forms of paperwork, including recommendation forms, parent agreements, and a student information packet. She was in her first period class when an NHS officer walked in with a list of names. Immediately, she realized this was the list of final inductees.

“I was really nervous if I’m being honest. I was basically having a panic attack,” junior Madison Parkin said, “At the beginning of the period they came in and were calling out names. It went in alphabetical order by last name, and mine is towards the end of the alphabet. So as he was calling out the multiple people before me, I could tell my nerves were building up. I was breathing and shaking a lot, but then I heard my name called out and I was so relieved.” 

Online learners had an entirely new and different approach to how they were “tapped.” NHS advisor Mrs. Amy May drove from house to house all day from first to seventh period. She then knocked on the door, placed the medal near the doormat, and stood a safe 10-20 feet away from the door with her mask on. The online students and parents then came to their door to find their medals and the smiling face of an NHS advisor, announcing they had been chosen as an official member of NHS. 

“When I was tapped, I was at home doing remote learning. I had been excited all day to see when Mrs. May would come to my house,” Junior Ryah Hill said. “When she did, Mrs. Gholson, who I was on a Google Meet with for my leadership class, made me take my chromebook with me and my classmates watched the whole thing happen. It was a super unique experience.”

While this new form of induction announcements was exciting for its new members and entirely unique, it didn’t come without hard work on Mrs. May and the other NHS advisors’ parts. The job of driving to every home of each new online member, was a tedious and time consuming task that took real dedication from every advisor.

“First of all, I want to say that this was a team effort; I could not have done this without the help of the other two Advisors, Mrs. Adams and Mrs. Carter,” Mrs. May said. “I divided the list into four chunks: two shorter lists of nine people each for each Mrs. Carter and Mrs. Adams to deliver during their conference periods, and I took the remaining 41 students in two chunks: morning and afternoon.”

Mapping out the most time efficient way to deliver 60 medals throughout the city in one day, was a real challenge. Luckily, Mrs. May found the tools she needed.

“I found a map tool online that would allow me to map more than 10 locations at once, since Google Maps does not allow that. I then input every remote and quarantined student’s address,” she said. “I then spent time zooming in and sorting the addresses into an order that would make sense so we could drive without backtracking.”

And of course, as a teacher, delivering during a school day meant that Mrs. May had to have a plan prepared on how she would teach her classes. Luckily, once again she found a way to use her remote resources and take care of her students.

“Due to my medical condition, I teach all of my classes remotely, so I was able to log on to the Meet at the beginning of class using my phone, take attendance, give my students their instructions for continuing the writing assignment they started the day before, and then make a few deliveries,” she said. “Before the beginning of each class, I would find a safe place to pull over and park my car, then I would answer student emails from my phone so anyone with questions could get answers quickly, and then start the next class. And then I delivered more medals.”

As for the challenges during deliveries, the most prominent became that many students would not answer the door when an advisor would knock or ring the bell.

“That meant some deliveries took 10 or more minutes to complete. I didn’t finish deliveries until 5:15 p.m. that day,” Mrs.May said. “Even then, we had 10 people who never answered the door that day and three quarantined students we didn’t know about, so we had to make those deliveries over the next two days during conference periods.”

Acceptance into the club is an honor that students and families celebrate each year.

“The smiles on the Inductees’ faces made the effort worth it. Everyone should have the chance to celebrate a great accomplishment that required hard work,” Mrs. May said.