Newark High School recently inducted 26 students into its National Honor Society chapter during a ceremony in the Auditorium.
The students were juniors Natalie Aquista, Abigail Belliveau, Jasmine Bueso, Nichelle Camp, Liam Childs, Emma Correia, Anabel Darling, Madison Dillon, Jacqueline Furfaro, Hannah Herman, Timothy Huber, Elizabeth Lang, Joseph Malach, Bailey McCormick, Katherine Paddock, Connor Robbins, Anisha Stallworth, William VanDusen, Alexandra Ventura, Mallory Williams and Dylan Wong; and seniors Hannah Bates, Emily Burgess, Logan Moynihan, Nathaniel Payag and Lilie Tang.
Each student came forward and shook hands with Principal Tom Roote as their name was called by NHS Spanish teacher Ariel Denny, Newark NHS chapter adviser.
The new inductees were selected by a faculty council on the basis of scholarship, character, leadership and service.
“All candidates must have a scholastic average of at least 88 to be accepted by the National Council,’’ Denney said. “In addition to the scholastic average, the local application process includes a resume, essay, sponsorship from five high school teachers and a character questionnaire. This, along with leadership in the classroom, the ability to place service above self, demonstration of high standards toward honesty, reliability, fairness and tolerance constitute the criteria which has led to each one’s selection.”
Denney addressed students during the induction ceremony.
“Your achievements in these areas — scholarship, leadership, service and character — are being honored tonight by your induction,” she said. “This is a wonderful way for the school and community to recognize and celebrate the choices, and sometimes the sacrifices you have made.”
Denney said acceptance of new NHS members “should be considered the beginning of an obligation, not merely the culmination of an effort to achieve recognition and honor.”
Once inducted, new members will assist the chapter by helping to create enthusiasm for scholarship, stimulate a desire to render service, promote worthy leadership and encourage the development of character in all NHS students.
“You have worked hard to earn this, and tonight is an opportunity to reflect on your successes, and feel proud of yourselves and your accomplishments,” Denny said during the ceremony.
NHS officers Grace Kreuser, president; Michael Hutteman, vice president; Emma Semmler, secretary; and Megan Rodriguez, treasurer, explained membership criteria before Roote spoke to the inductees.
“Welcome guests, congratulations inductees and thank you for this opportunity to speak,” he said. “My process for preparing a few words for tonight started with me typing into the search bar on my computer ‘NHS speech 2016.’
“Immediately after hitting enter, I realized my search was not going to pull up last year’s speech, for I had searched everywhere and not just my computer. As a result, the search engine produced a series of essays submitted by National Honor Society candidates across the country. I think the website was called megaessays.com.
“This leads me to ask the question, do you feel like you need to write a lot of essays to be considered competent? On behalf of all the past, present and future essay prompts you will respond to, I am going to apologize. Rest assured, your essay-writing requirements will slow as you get older for I have not written an essay in years. Sorry for that digression.”
Roote then shared some passages from the essays that caught his attention — “I hope to prove myself to be a good example and mentor for those who seek help. My leadership in my temple played a large role in my life.”; “As a tradition since I was little, every year my family and I take a trip to various hospitals around the county during holidays, leaving patients with flowers, gifts, and just spending quality time.”; “In order for this to happen, I would have to get distinguished honors four out of five of the years to come. It was a lot of sleepless nights, staying up to study to ace the test in the morning.”; “Even though I may not be the most outspoken person, I believed that I have helped, and led in some cases, my basketball and volleyball teams to many of the victories we were notorious for.”
Roote said he felt he wasn’t getting to know the writer as he read through the essays, because each story was stopping just short of sharing that key detail that would inform the reader that “I am unique, I am my own person and I am proud of that.”
“While my approach here, highlighting each essay, is meant to be a bit tongue in cheek, I will share that I am absolutely serious when I say that you need to share details, provide a meaty response,” he said. “We want to get to know your unique qualifications. Be humble, but also remember to engage your audience, give them a reason to read more, hear more, etc.
“Stephen Covey, the inspiration behind Newark’s Wednesday SELF work, encourages us to consider our paradigm. A paradigm is the way we see something, our point of view, frame of reference or belief. Sometimes paradigms can be accurate, incomplete, wrong or completely off the mark. For example, consider these quotes that highlight some off the mark paradigms. Here are a few.
“‘Airplanes are interesting toys, but of no military value.’ — Marshal Ferdinand Foch, a French military strategist and future World War I commander in 1911. ‘Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.’ — Darryl F. Zanuck, head of 20th Century Fox in 1947. ‘We don’t like their sound. Groups of guitars are on the way out.’ — Decca Records rejecting The Beatles in 1962. ‘For the majority of people, the use of tobacco has a beneficial effect.’ — Dr. Ian G. MacDonald, Los Angeles surgeon as quoted in Newsweek, Nov. 18, 1969.
“I asked you to consider how you are unique, and I encouraged you to celebrate your uniqueness by spending time recognized for all that it is. Your uniqueness is one principle that shapes your paradigm. Here are some other principals that can shape your paradigm.
The next time you look in the mirror, say something positive about yourself. Show appreciation for someone’s point of view today. Say something like, ‘Hey, that’s a cool idea.’ Think of a limiting paradigm you might have of yourself, such as ‘I’m not outgoing.’ Now, do something today that totally contradicts that paradigm. Listen carefully to the lyrics of the music you listen to most frequently. Evaluate if they are in harmony with the principles you believe. The Golden Rule rules. Begin today to treat others as you would want them to treat you. Don’t be impatient, complain about leftovers or bad-mouth someone unless you want the same treatment. The next time you’re in a tough situation and don’t know what to do, ask yourself, ‘What principle should I apply — honesty, love loyalty, hard work, patience?’ Now, follow the principle and don’t look back.
“I will leave you with this thought. It is never too late to recognize that you can shift your paradigm. You can always cut a new pathway through the jungle of life ahead of you. Go forth and make your dreams come true. Be inspired, be creative, be an original thinker.”
After the ceremony, a reception was held in the school foyer for new inductees and their guests.