More Than an Honor Society

NHS Members Share How Organization Has Impacted Them

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Photo by Jack Polishook

Welcoming NHS members at their monthly meeting, seniors Jackson Woods and Ashley Chikkala help provide a welcoming community for the school through service projects. “To me, NHS is a lot about the service opportunities that you are able to get from it,” Chikkala said. “Because it’s not that difficult to have a super high GPA, if you just take the right classes and do the right things. But it’s difficult to make sure that you are getting those grades, along with still being involved in extracurriculars and helping your community and working and just generally being a good person.”

Jack Polishook, Reporter

NHS is more than just a simple honor society. To the various members and teachers, National Honor Society is a way for members to connect with student life and learn valuable skills through their community. 

“I think it is the best opportunity for accomplished kids in high school to get together and just better their community,” NHS President and senior Jackson Woods said. “Whether it’s bettering themselves with the advice and help of others who are doing community service, I think what we’re doing is just really important work.” 

One aspect of the honor society is participating in community service. Members must complete eight hours of community service per semester.  

“NHS is an organization that will allow academically successful students to give back to the community through service projects,” NHS sponsor and science teacher Allison Trueblood said.

Whether it’s through serving a food bank, cleaning up a park or socializing with cats at Texas Humane Heroes, generosity and giving back is a huge element to the community, according to NHS Vice President Ashley Chikkala, who visits the humane society frequently.

 “It’s genuinely a very fulfilling experience,” Chikkala said. “I enjoy going and helping out animals. I’m petting some cats, or I’m walking a dog and they get so much joy from it.”

Senior officers also have the task of picking and setting up their own volunteer opportunities, as well as participating with other members. 

“My fondest memory is starting my own school supply drive last year,”  Woods said. We had a lot of great donations, and I was able to get supplies to kids who can’t afford them during the school year and several families around Austin. So that was really exciting, just to watch something I created, like actually working out.”

 NHS isn’t just about bringing people together through service projects, but also bringing the school’s community and the NHS members together, according to Woods.

“Everyone gets along at meetings, and it’s a big group, so there’s always new people for you to meet,” Woods said. 

NHS meetings are held every month, usually in the library, and are a way for members to not only learn about upcoming events and opportunities to volunteer, but also a way of socializing with other members.

 “If you’re invited to NHS and join, you’re literally with a bunch of kids that are doing just what you’re doing,” Woods said. “So the more people you can relate to, I think the better high school is.” 

Applications start next year in the fall for upcoming juniors and seniors that are interested in applying. The application is based on a point merit system in which students fill out based on previous service experience, participation in athletics,electives and awards they have earned throughout high school.

”The application looks scarier than it actually is,” Chikkala said. “You will look at it and you’re like, ‘oh my God, I need so many points.’ It’s genuinely not that bad. If you’ve been in any extracurriculars. If there’s stuff you’ve participated in throughout high school, whether there is a job over the summer during the school year, or you just volunteered somewhere for fun, all of it still matters. Anything that you’ve done as a person will probably matter towards your application. So I promise you it’s not as bad as the initial application looks.”

NHS is a huge community of students built around helping others and bringing people together, and it’s clear to members like Chikkala that the work they are providing is extremely impactful to their personal lives.

“Even if you’re volunteering in places like soup kitchens, or donating things, watching the joy that people receive from small acts of kindness,” Chikkala said.  “Even if they don’t mean that much to you, It’s very, very impactful.”