Cherokee’s NHS Induction Standards Could Be Too Inclusive


On November 17, 2016, the largest amount of students in Cherokee history was inducted into the National Honors Society.  This sparked the question among inductees and teachers: Are the NHS standards too low, and what does this extreme inclusivity mean for the program?

The purpose of National Honor Society is to “recognize outstanding high school students. More than just an honor roll, NHS serves to recognize those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, and character,” according to the official NHS website.  In light of recent discussions I’ve had with my peers, our school’s standard for “excellence” is too low.  As a junior inductee stated, “I think they’re [the NHS requirements] too easy because there is a very wide range of kids in NHS, as shown by the number of this year’s inductees.” The majority of inductees I spoke to didn’t have an issue with our school’s requirements for community service hours, leadership positions, or evaluation of character.  They had a problem with the GPA requirement, which is 3.25 unweighted. The inductees I spoke to are some of Cherokee’s most academically inclined and primarily take honors and AP classes. Inductees say that colleges won’t deem our participation in NHS as “honorable” if so many students are accepted. On the other hand, I agree with inductee Carly Strohl who says, “your GPA, rank, and transcript will tell the rest” with regard to what colleges will view on inductees’ transcripts.

What I found most interesting about speaking to inductees is their extremely competitive nature and desire to be the best. It seems that many inductees aren’t satisfied with their own accomplishments and want to further distinguish themselves from their peers. As an inductee myself, I don’t have an issue with the required GPA because it’s not the only factor taken into account for new inductees, just as GPA is not the only information colleges review while accepting students. There’s more to students than GPA and the National Honor Society seems to agree. Having straight A’s doesn’t make someone honorable.

When I first got to Cherokee, several upperclassmen advised me to participate in at least three clubs per year, do community service, and try to get a leadership position in order to be inducted into NHS. NHS creates a culture in which freshmen strive to significantly contribute to our community throughout their entire high school career. As inductee Aykys Salchak said, “I hear a lot of people talk about how they need to get more hours which shows that NHS does motivate students.”  Fostering motivated and goal-oriented students and recognizing them seems to be NHS’ goal, proving that NHS is effective in promoting positive change in Cherokee.  Although not all inductees see eye to eye on NHS’ standards, every single one of us has learned how to lead our peers, stay on a bright academic path, actively participate in our community and help others in need thanks to the National Honor Society.