NEHS offers new opportunities


Emma Bauer

Savannah Gallop, a senior and NEHS member, introduces new members to the program. NEHS focuses on literacy and writing

Ryan Bartholomew, spotlight editor

National English Honors Society (NEHS) is one of the many honor societies that have a chapter established on campus. The society is intended for those with higher performance in a certain area of their academics.
In America, the oldest academic society was Phi Beta Kappa, which was founded as a social and literary fraternity at the College of William and Mary. It later organized as a formal honor society.
NEHS was founded and sponsored by Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society, which is what college students join. NEHS is the only international organization exclusively for high school students and faculty who, in the field of English, have an impressive track record in their past and present accomplishments. Individual high schools are invited to petition for a local chapter, through which individuals may be inducted into Society membership.
“I joined because I love literature and enjoy community service work,” said Reece Toso, the vice president of NEHS.
Each chapter plans and directs a program of activities in order to develop a community of people who are interested in English. Participation in chapter activities is one of the most valuable benefits of NEHS membership, as these can include, but are not limited to, community service, which many put on a college application.
The society only started meeting in late September, with meetings during lunch aimed for Friday as the year goes on and club activities pick up more.
“Because it is an honor society, one of the main aspects that we focus on is volunteering. This year we upped the amount of hours required because we want the kind of people who can adjust and who value volunteering enough to stick with the club. Additionally, we are going to introduce activity specific leadership committees so that students are more involved and can hone their leadership skills while remaining under the umbrella of English Language Arts,” said Savannah Gallop, who was the acting president of the society at the start of the year.
All of these extracurriculars add up to assisting students with various scholarships members of the society may be given based on their academic performance within their chapter.
Members of a chapter can do anything from inviting in guest speakers to going on field trips. One thing the chapter on campus does is buddy reading days, where members go to read with the kids at Black Mountain Elementary.
NEHS at Cactus Shadows does service projects and tutors kids in English on campus. There is also a plan to possibly do a slam poetry night at Janey’s Coffeehouse, a popular choice among students.
“It promotes their continuing interest in English Language Arts. So I think it’s the idea of appreciating literary works, appreciating the written word, and participating in activities that promote literature,” said Julie Binnicker, the NEHS advisor, as well as AP Language and AP Literature teacher on campus.
Various opportunities for writing have been crafted since the founding of NEHS to encourage and reward members for putting their thoughts to paper or screen. The Intellectual Freedom Challenge asks members to argue for the inclusion or exclusion of texts that some might find objectionable, a debate that has plagued schools for years now.