National Honor Society

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A lot is going on in the world of National Honor Society. National Honor Society, or NHS for short, is an academic club at Greater Latrobe High School committed to bettering the community through service projects. Current members of the club must maintain a GPA of 3.5 or higher. New members in years to come will have to maintain a GPA of 3.7 or higher to be a member.  At the first meeting of the year the officers, Danielle Shojaie, President; Mari Haffner, Vice President; Kim McDonagh, Secretary; and Ryan Aiello, Treasurer; presented topics of discussion including the annual trip, fundraisers, and service project ideas.

One of the key parts of being a part of NHS is to complete service hours throughout the school year. Each member is required to complete twenty hours and could have completed up to five hours over the summer. This year the club officers had many programs, new and old, as options for club members for service opportunities. The four club mottos include character, leadership, community service, and academics.

 “As a whole this year, NHS is putting more a focus on service projects. We [the officers] understand that everyone is busy with sports, activities, and of course academics. But, we want kids to look outside their own bubble and toward the community. This year, we have a very dedicated group of students that is doing that,” said Shojaie.

One of the main long term service projects offered to NHS members is the Study Buddy program. This requires students taking an hour once a week to go to Latrobe Elementary School, Baggaley Elementary School, or Mountain View Elementary School to tutor students on spelling words or read them short stories. Seventeen high school students will offer their time from the end of October until April. At the meeting, club advisor, Mrs. Pompelia, emphasized the importance of consistency in the students interested in signing up for the program.

“The little kids really rely on the students when they start to come every week. They really do look up to them so it is important that the students are committed to this project,” said Pompelia.

Members that sign up to tutor must be able to show their dedication to the project, so that the elementary kids can count on them to be there every week for tutoring.

“I signed up for the Study Buddy program because I like little kids and I think it would be fun to help them with the homework,” said senior Rachel Gribbin who volunteered to tutor at Mountain View Elementary.

Another service project going on right now is the Harvest Book Drive, which represents the values of National Honor Society, promoting reading and learning. Until November 10, 2010, books will be collected to give to the Pittsburgh Food Bank. The Food Bank wants the books so they can be distributed to children during the holiday season when food is being given to each family. Books will be collected in history and English classes.

“We’re looking for old or new picture books you may have, like Dr. Seuss books; books that little kids will want to read,” said Shojaie.

Those who complete their twenty service hours, the members of NHS take a group trip to a location chosen by the members of the club at the end of the school year. For the past few years, the group has gone to Chicago, Illinois.

“Kids in the past have enjoyed going to Chicago. One of the main things I’ve heard people talk about is seeing Navy Pier,” commented McDonagh. “We plan on seeing something theater related this year,” she added.

NHS member, DJ Rossi expressed his excitement for the trip. “I’ve never been to Chicago so I’m going to sell as many wreaths as I can to have more money for extra activities.”

In order to go on the trip all eighty-seven members can help pay their way through a fundraiser. The club plans to begin selling holiday wreaths.

“The wreaths are all live and there are many different types as well. We even have the option to send a wreath anywhere in the U.S. so I think that this fundraiser will be really successful,” expressed Justin Klimchak, who is chairing the wreath fundraiser.

If plans would be cancelled for the end of the year trip, the money made from the wreaths will end up going to a charity of some kind.

With several service projects and an end of the year trip in the works, students are putting a lot of their own time into helping out the community.