National Honor Society fits with Keystone’s values
“NHS was really the culmination of many things for me. It represents leadership, grades, outside involvement, and volunteer work, all intertwined.”
–Antoine, 12th grade
Last week we celebrated the return of a deeply meaningful on-campus tradition, inducting new members of Keystone’s National Honor Society. As each of the 40 nominees stepped forward on the stage in the theater, a senior or junior NHS member read a short introductory bio. The ceremony is moving in any year; as the first fully in-person program since the pandemic commenced, it took on a special meaning.
Being accepted into NHS represents an extraordinary achievement, and our participants should be proud. According to Sean Lindsay, the faculty sponsor for the Keystone chapter, “Students must maintain a grade point average of 87 and submit an application and resume where they describe their service and leadership experience. Faculty are encouraged to provide feedback on the applicants in regards to their conduct in the classroom and school organizations. A council of rotating faculty members meets to review the applicants and make admission decisions. This year’s class was the largest inducted in recent memory, with 40 total students from grades 10, 11, and 12 joining our ranks.”
The National NHS website states, “The National Honor Society (NHS) elevates a school’s commitment to the values of scholarship, service, leadership, and character.” Perhaps the reason that NHS meshes so well with Keystone is the resemblance of their four pillars to Keystone’s core values of academic excellence, ethical growth, community involvement, and responsible leadership.
Mr. Lindsay added, “While the initial consideration of NHS is scholarship, the primary focus of our chapter of National Honor Society is service. Students in NHS get the opportunity to design, coordinate and lead efforts to serve our community. We encourage all members to share ideas for service events and our executive staff make them happen. Our students develop community partnerships that expand our footprint of service in the greater San Antonio area. Our outgoing president Antoine has set a new standard for student leadership. The volunteer program he created with SA Youth shows how our organization can help harness collected effort to create positive change.”
That our Cobras work hard seems to be a given. Spend any time on campus, and you can see them studying individually or in groups, creating stirring pieces of art, or practicing music or athletics. They exemplify dedication and devotion in all they do, and their determination inspires us.
Similarly, they excel in in their desire to help others. NHS requires students to accrue hours of service, and Keystone students discover a variety of ways to help their fellow humans. This became more challenging during the pandemic as social service organizations shuttered their doors and opportunities became more sparse.
Not to be deterred, NHS president Antoine, Class of 2022, devised a way to aid youngsters who were hit particularly hard by the closure of schools and afterschool programs. Partnering with San Antonio Youth, Antoine led his classmates in developing an online tutoring program for underserved children to offset the learning losses that happened when schools went to distance learning. This initial effort has blossomed into a wonderful partnership between Keystone’s NHS chapter and SA Youth.
To learn more about NHS and the work it does, I spoke with Antoine, and he explained that students’ high caliber academic work, combined with their commitment to service, enables them to be accepted into the honor society. However, the most enjoyable element of NHS comes through the service they perform whether it’s cleaning up park trails or packing boxes and handing out food for the San Antonio Food Bank.
Regarding the online tutoring program, Antoine explained that “when COVID hit at the beginning, many schools had hardships. Keystone had some also but not like others. Students at Keystone could get help, but this was less true for children in low income schools. NHS students could provide support to those children, and let them know they are cared about. Having responsible teenagers help younger children is great. Having our students serve as mentors is not only volunteering and is not only helpful intellectually, but shows the impact older students can have as role models and as mentors.”
As he prepares to graduate and head to Rice University in the fall, Antoine has advice for current NHS scholars: “If you have an idea, let people know,” he says. “Bring it up with the leaders. Don’t be shy to create new ideas.”
Although Antoine has left big shoes to fill, literally and figuratively, incoming President junior Talia is more than up to the task. She’s particularly enthusiastic to build on the SA Youth Online Tutoring program. Talia explained, “As NHS accepts its new inductees and begins to turn over a new year, it is important to reflect upon the work of last year’s officers and the significant impact of the SA Youth organization on our Keystone community. Participation in SA Youth’s reading buddy program during the course of the pandemic has helped redefine the meaning of volunteer work by increasing its accessibility and uniting a community that felt especially divided. Although I have only been participating in the program for about two months since becoming NHS president, interacting with the children of various schools around San Antonio has helped me cultivate a deeper connection with my community, and continue to develop my love for service.
Being able to see the direct impact on these communities and the graciousness of these young children has been fulfilling and echoed from all members of NHS how influential this program has been on both our student body and the children themselves. The opportunity to take a break from rigorous academic life whilst helping communities in need allows the Keystone student body to demonstrate leadership skills and become directly involved in their San Antonio community.”
Like other students at Keystone, the members of NHS make us proud and inspire all of us to be better students and better people. We congratulate them and wish them the very best.