Selection to the Elizabeth Seton Chapter of the National Honor Society is a cherished goal of many students and a high point in their high school careers. With the honor comes the responsibility of maintaining the organization’s high standards. Students do not “apply” for membership nor are they “selected” to the society.
Membership in the Society is a privilege, not a right; it is based on four criteria: character, scholarship, service and leadership. Membership is open to students from grades ten, eleven and twelve. The processes of selection, nomination and induction are governed by the Constitution of the Society whose requirements, restrictions and guidelines our chapter must follow. The first test of eligibility is academic: students must have a cumulative average of eighty-five or more. Further evaluation and certification then progress.
All students who are eligible based on academics are required to fill out an information sheet, which outlines their activities and commitments to service, both in school and the community. These forms must be substantiated and signed by their supervisors/sponsors. All high school faculty members are asked to complete point-system evaluation forms for all those eligible students with whom they are acquainted. The society’s moderator convenes a committee of five faculty members, known as the Faculty Council, who have been nominated by the principal, to review all completed documents and to make the final selection by a majority vote. Each eligible student is given extensive consideration by the Faculty Council in accordance with the Society’s Constitution and guidelines. According to the constitution, there are no quotas or restrictions on the number of students selected or on the grade level from which they are drawn. All students are required to meet the same standards of character, leadership and service as well as meeting the academic standard. Prior to notification of any candidates, the chapter advisor reviews with the principal the results of the Faculty Council’s deliberations.
As a member of the Character Counts Coalition, the NHS recommends their six-faceted definition of character, “the Six Pillars of Character”: respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, fairness, caring and citizenship. Service involves actions undertaken which are done for or on behalf of the community without direct financial or material compensation. Service to the school, to the church and to the community are considered. Attitude, dependability, co-operation, willingness, cheerfulness, enthusiasm, and courtesy are all aspects of service. The requirement for selection into the Elizabeth Seton Chapter of the NHS is a minimum of forty hours of service in the past twelve months. These can be service projects done with a group or as an individual, outside of the official school hours. Acceptable service activities are those that benefit community organizations for which no compensation (monetary or otherwise) has been given. The service cannot be for the benefit of an individual or for the personal gain of an individual, unless it is in respect of a charity event function organized by a community group. For example, private babysitting for free does not qualify as community service. Service done as part of the MSA Religion course in Grade 12 does count toward the required service hours provided that it meets the above requirements. Leadership entails roles both in school and the community. Election to offices in school and community organizations is one criterion which is considered highly important; but demonstrating resourcefulness, taking the initiative, expressing positive attitudes, exercising positive influence and peer pressure, and showing dependability and loyalty also serve as strong indicators of leadership.
The Elizabeth Seton Chapter of the National Honor Society seeks in granting membership to acknowledge a high standard of excellence in achievement and performance among the students of Mount Saint Agnes Academy in character, scholarship, leadership and service. It seeks as mandated by the Society to maintain as undiminished all that the Society entails and represents in its on-going tradition. It seeks to provide motivation and incentive for students to aspire to exceptional levels of personal development and accomplishment in the context of school and community, therefore, strengthening, improving and enhancing their lives and their world.