With more than 80 students representing Indian River High School in the National Honor Society (NHS), Monday’s induction ceremony proved that one school can never have too much perfection. In all, 38 new NHS members made their way across the stage in last Tuesday’s presentation to join the John M. Clayton Chapter of the society.
Principal Mark Steele addressed the new and existing members and parents in attendance following the color guard from the junior ROTC.
“I can assure you that every ship has an anchor and a rudder,” he said. “Today, just take a look around you. What you’re looking at are our rudder and our anchor of Indian River High School. Not only am I happy to look over at the 30-plus students who are being initiated in today, but I’m also sad to see our senior class honor society members leave. If someone approaches me over the next years, though, I do feel better, knowing that this community will be left in good hands.
“What does it take to be an honor society member? Some people believe it takes grades alone, and that’s not true. It takes community service. It takes leadership, and character. What these kids do in their lives extends much further than the classroom.”
Combined, the nearly 120 students in the NHS make up roughly 13 percent of the school’s entire population. To even be eligible for acceptance, students must generate a 97 weighted grade average, and maintain it at 95 once accepted. Three other qualities, consisting of character, service and leadership, are also weighed before a new student is approved for membership. Extracurricular activities and community service and participation are carefully analyzed.
“The earliest you can be inducted is the second half of your junior year,” noted NHS advisor Tony Wilson, “but the weighted GPA is something that starts as a freshman. They’ll perform a minimum of 10 hours in the [NHS]. Thirty-eight new members is a good number. I’m impressed each year at the talent and intelligence these students portray.”
Matt Keller, another NHS advisor, has been overwhelmed by the qualities these students represent.
“All of these kids are not only amazing scholars,” he observed, “but they’re active in the community. They’re student athletes. You hear about high school kids in the news when something goes wrong, but these kids are the ones making a difference in society today. Good news travels fast, but bad news travels faster. These are the kids that slip under the radar, and we don’t want that to happen. Not enough praise is awarded to these students, but what they’ve done and what they’re going to do is amazing.”
“It’s rigorous to get in,” Steele said later, reflecting on the talented youth at the school. “It’s not easy at all. Every day, when people ask me what I do, and I tell them I’m a school principal, they say, ‘I feel bad for you.’ I just smile at them, because I don’t. I can honestly tell you I come to this job every single day, and I love it. It’s a great place to be right now. It’s really been an incredible run for us.”