by Riley Corbin
PROMISING DEDICATION: New members of West Broward’s National Honor Society pledge to uphold the duties of a member in this prestigious organization. Throughout the past two years, these members have shown their qualities of leadership, as well as a love of service for their community. Photo by Hector Collazo
Every year, Americans are the cause of roughly 14 billion pounds of trash polluting the ocean. When animals get a hold of this garbage, they can choke from or become entangled in it. Ocean pollution causes death and injury to nearly one million animals annually. For this reason, West Broward’s National Honor Society (NHS) participated in a beach clean-up event last year. The 25 members that attended gathered over 10 pounds of trash that threatened the ocean and its inhabitants.
NHS is an organization dedicated to community service. Its clubs can be found in thousands of high schools worldwide, including West Broward. The club focuses on the idea of giving back to the community while also serving the people in it.
On Wednesday, March 20, roughly 90 new members were inducted into West Broward’s NHS for the 2019-20 chapter. Membership for this club required students to have a 3.0 unweighted GPA, as well as having no disciplinary infractions or financial obligations to the school. With their application, students needed two letters of recommendation describing the qualities of leadership they possess. Upon acceptance, the inductees were required to attend two rehearsals on the Monday and Tuesday before the ceremony to prepare them for this prestigious right of passage.
“The National Honor Society is a community service club built on the four pillars of Character, Scholarship, Leadership, and Service,” said NHS Vice President junior Justus Simmons. “It is available to academically exceptional, well-rounded students looking to make a positive difference in society.”
The induction of the new members was a candle-lit ceremony, In the center of the stage was a table with five candles, or “torches,” set on it, a tradition at West Broward. The torch in the center remained lit throughout the entire ceremony as it represented the organization as a whole. The four torches surrounding the one in the center symbolized each of the four pillars of NHS. One at a time, members of the 2018-19 officer board lit these candles from the one in the center while presenting a brief description of what it means to possess the qualities that each torch represented. At the end of the ceremony, each inductee lit their own candle from candles carried by the 2018-19 officers. This symbolized the current members sharing the pillars of NHS with the new members.
“The induction ceremony meant very much to me,” said new member, sophomore Liliana Pita. “I felt honored and important to be in a formal ceremony to be inducted into the club.”
This year, one of the largest difficulties the club faced was member motivation. Without members attending meetings, volunteering in service events after school, or donating items to various collections, it was difficult for them to have a successful chapter. Though they were able to end the 2018-19 chapter with several accomplishments, the current officer board hopes that next school year, the newly-inducted members will provide a fresh start and bring a new energy to the club.
“I feel that new members can provide their input and suggest new ideas and projects for us to have, so it can be something they enjoy and care about,” said NHS Treasurer junior Samantha Strauss.
The new members have already participated in three service projects demonstrating their commitment to the club. The inductees were asked to make a donation to the NHS food drive while at the induction ceremony. Suggested donations included boxed cereal, peanut butter, or jelly. The members were also given the opportunity to assist in assembling materials on the mornings of the FSA Writing tests, April 3 and April 4. Lastly, NHS members volunteered at Silver Trail Middle School’s math tutoring sessions on various Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout April. On these days, the club’s members worked one-on-one with middle school students to help prepare them for the math FSA they are required to take in May.
“It felt good to participate in the setup of the FSA because the teachers were trying to get ready for the test,” said new member sophomore Morgan Cavanagh. “The least we could do was help set up the computers while the teachers got all the papers and instructions ready.”
As each student walked across the stage and obtained their membership certificate, they signed their name in West Broward’s membership book to demonstrate their commitment to the club. Membership in this club is a privilege and an honor that should not be taken lightly; the students involved in NHS are expected to lead their fellow classmates in doing good for others.
“I truly believe that one person can be the difference that creates a domino effect of positive change,” Vazquez said. “I know that if the 91 inductees have the initiative and boldness to create a worthwhile change, our school, environment, and society will be a better place because of their actions.”