Honor societies prepare for the upcoming year

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photo by Sarah Hinnant

Rho Kappa sponsor Erin Foley oversees the most recent meeting where they organized their Women’s History Month event.

Known for buffing up college applications and shiny cords on graduation day, honor society inductions are a time for rising juniors deciding their extracurriculars for the next year. 

Along with submitting a completed class registration form, students wait for honor society invites and applications to be available in the spring. With COVID, applications are now found mostly online on Ecampus and the Hagerty homepage. For Connect students unable to go to campus, they are allowed to fill out online forms.

There are numerous honors societies for students to join, based on their interest in subjects like history, math and science. The societies provide a community for students to make connections with the community and with each other. Despite the social distance, there are still virtual gatherings through WebEx, and students must keep up with announcements on Ecampus and Instagram for links.

 Each honor society has their own time frame for new member applications, with most ranging from February to May. However, some have already closed their application window. The application window to join the National Honor Society, has already closed. Their deadline is considerably earlier than the rest; forms were due March 1, making time for a possible spring ceremony to welcome new people

“We have students complete applications so early because we have a staff council that has to reveal all their applications before the induction ceremony we hope to have this spring,” NHS president Mansur said.

Other societies like the National English Honor Society and Rho Kappa are accepting applications for new members and officers currently. They can both be found online; NEHS applications are due March 22 and Rho Kappa’s are due March 12.

The process to be a member varies across different societies, as each have a different set of expectations. A council of five anonymous teachers review applicants for NHS; applicants must receive signatures from teachers, include a volunteer hour log, and explain their other activity with the school. 

National Art Honor Society president Rose Kiriazes describes their new officer procedure as “very relaxed.” Usually, there is no competition for officer spots, so there is no ceremony or election. Members do prepare a speech if they want a position.

NHS held mostly in-person interviews for officer roles, despite COVID,  with the exception of one meeting. Conducted between the current officers and prospective applicants, everyone was required to socially distance and wear a mask.

“We really pushed for in-person interviews because it is the most professional. Nearly everyone was able to make that happen,” NHS secretary Luke Skillington said.

Some honors societies opted to hold their officer elections online. Following the same format as last year, current members interested in becoming Rho Kappa officers can apply through discussion boards for each position, writing a paragraph about why they should be elected.  The rest of their members will vote on a Google survey. 

There is also the question of service hours; honor societies usually require a certain number of volunteer hours for their club alone. The National English Honor Society has been struggling to find opportunities, and has shifted away from  in-person activities, such as church volunteering. They now primarily focus on virtual tutoring and writing letters to veterans.

“This year [we have met] on Google Meets; next year, however, we would go back to face to face meetings and hopefully have more activities,” sponsor Lisaan Gendreau said. “Many organizations are reluctant to take volunteers right now so finding service hours is a challenge.”                                                                                                                                      

Looking towards the next year, clubs are hopeful that there will be more activities and involvement for members, besides virtual meetings. Science National Honor Society sponsor Yvette Pigotte hopes to introduce more guest speakers and NAHS has tentative plans to participate in next year’s annual chalk art festival in Altamonte Springs. Club sponsor Jose Otero has high hopes for next year.

“We were supposed to do the chalk festival this year but it was cancelled. I want the club to be big and do as much as possible,” Otero said.

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