The Story of the National Honor Society


by Frank Wind




The National Honor Society (NHS) is like the VIP club of high schools across the U.S. It's a place where students who are crushing it in their studies, showing they're born leaders, proving they're good people, and giving back to their community, get the credit they deserve.

Here's why students should care about it being in the NHS is like a gold star on your report card. It tells everyone you're not just smart, but you work hard too. You need decent grades to get in, so it's a cool way to show off your brainpower.

The NHS isn't just about acing exams. It's about helping out and making your community a better place. As a member, you'll get to be involved in lots of cool projects that make a real difference. It also helps you flex your leadership muscles. Whether it's leading a project or being a chapter officer, you'll learn how to motivate people, solve problems, and maybe even make the world a little bit better.

It's a badge of honor that comes with a commitment to maintaining academic excellence. It's about balancing school work, leadership roles, and community service. And let's be real, juggling all these things can be challenging. That's where resources like GradesFixer can be a game-changer. This site is packed with free examples of essays on a whole bunch of topics. It's like having a library of ideas and inspiration at your fingertips.

Anyways, let’s dig deeper into the history of American National Honor Society.

The Birth of an Idea

The National Honor Society (NHS), a household name in American high schools, was born in 1921. The brainchild of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the NHS aimed to reward academic excellence and promote values of scholarship, leadership, service, and character. However, it took more than a year of careful planning, a keen sense of purpose, and a firm belief in student potential to turn the dream into reality.

A Slow Start, But a Steady Ascent


Though the NHS was established in 1921, it initially struggled to gain traction. Fun fact: the first-ever chapter was set up at Fifth Avenue High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but growth was sluggish in the early years. It wasn't until the 1930s that the concept began to resonate across the nation, leading to the creation of new chapters in high schools far and wide.

An Emblem with a Story

Unknown to many, the NHS emblem, a keystone and flaming torch, holds deep symbolism. The keystone bears the letters "CSLSC" at its corners, representing Character, Scholarship, Leadership, and Service— the four pillars of the Society. The flaming torch signifies the eternal light of knowledge. Next time you spot the emblem, you'll know the story behind it!

The Introduction of the NJHS

In 1929, NHS expanded its horizons to include younger students with the establishment of the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS). This move aimed to recognize middle-level students and encourage them to aspire for the NHS in their high school years. The NJHS carries the same ideals as its older sibling, but tailored to a younger audience.

Expansion Beyond the U.S. Borders

While the 'National' in National Honor Society may suggest it's exclusive to the U.S., it's far from the truth. The NHS made its way beyond American borders in the late 20th century, with the first international chapter established in Panama in the 1970s. Today, it boasts of thousands of chapters across the globe, including numerous international schools and American schools abroad.

NHS Today: A Continuing Legacy

Fast forward to the present day, the NHS continues to thrive, upholding its century-old legacy. It has shaped countless students, pushing them towards greater academic achievements, nurturing leaders, and instilling a spirit of service. Its influence is seen in the many NHS alumni who've made significant contributions in various fields, serving as an inspiration for generations to come.

Becoming a Part of the American National Honor Society

Joining the ranks of the National Honor Society (NHS) is an impressive milestone. If you're looking to be a part of this prestigious organization and add your own chapter to its storied history, you'll need to meet specific criteria.

First, it's all about academic excellence. You'll need to hit and maintain a certain GPA, which may vary depending on your school's standards. The NHS is all about scholarship, after all!

But, the NHS isn't just for the academically gifted; it's also for leaders who make a positive impact. You'll need to demonstrate qualities of leadership, either through school or community activities. So, if you've been leading a club, a team, or been part of community projects, it could count in your favor.

You also need to show that you've been involved in service activities. This could be volunteer work, community service, or any actions that show you care about making a positive change in your community.

Finally, being a part of the NHS means being of strong character. Honesty, respect, responsibility, and trustworthiness are all traits that the NHS holds in high regard. Your teachers and peers will likely need to vouch for your character as part of the application process.

Final Thoughts

The National Honor Society has come a long way since its inception. Its history is a testament to the transformative power of recognizing and nurturing student potential. Through its emphasis on scholarship, leadership, service, and character, the NHS has shaped, and continues to shape, the fabric of American high schools, influencing millions of students on their path to success.

So, while joining the NHS does require hard work and commitment, the rewards - from the respect of your peers and teachers to recognition from colleges and future employers - are well worth the effort.