ST. MARYS — A group of juniors and seniors joined their peers in officially becoming members of a national scholarship group.
Fifteen juniors and one senior joined the 17 members of Memorial High School’s National Honor Society through the induction ceremony held Sunday night.
During the ceremony, NHS President Anthony Tenney welcomed those in attendance for the ceremony.
“This evening, we welcome and celebrate the entrance of new members into our society, an honor which was earned by each of these new members,” Tenney said. “Entrance to National Honor Society is an honor and privilege, which few receive and which remains with you through your entire life. Please join me today in a celebration of this great achievement.”
Tenney noted the five candles placed on the table on the stage in the auditorium — asking those in attendance to look at the middle candle, which he lit first.
“It represents the eternal light and knowledge,” he said, noting the four candles flanking it represent the qualities of a National Honor Society member — scholarship, leadership, character and service.
Tenney also lit the next candle — scholarship — and explained the elements of scholarship. After Tenney, NHS Vice President Sarah Wilker lit the next candle — leadership — and explained the elements of leadership. Next, Secretary Jessica Jeffries lit the next candle — character — and explained the elements of character. Lastly, Treasurer Molly Hertenstein lit the final candle and explained the elements of service.
“All of these students have exhibited these characteristics and have been found worthy of membership in the St. Marys Chapter of the National Honor Society,” Tenney said.
Next, each current NHS member introduced the 16 new members: juniors Cole Brooks, Emily Brown, Katlyn Brown, Kevin Dammeyer, Jason Freewalt, Kelly Heitkamp, Brooke Hertenstein, Colleen Magee, Neil Perry, Logan Simons, Ambika Sivagnanam, Sarika Sivagnanam, Mitch Slemmons, Jaclyn Smith, Holly Sudhoff and senior Austin Riggs.
After each new inductee was seated on the stage, Tenney lead them in the recitation of the NHS Pledge before Molly Hertenstein introduced the guest speaker — MHS Assistant Principal Brian Pohl, who thanked those who invited him and also congratulated the students and their parents on their achievements.
“I, like many of you, was inducted as a member to the NHS the fall of my senior year of high school, and boy did my parents breathe a sigh of relief,” he said. “According to them, you would think I had finally made it, I had arrived — little did I know it was just the beginning. I’ve come to learn life is full of things that I never would have expected, some good, some bad, but that is the true joy in the art of living, getting to experience those blissful and tormenting moments you never could have expected.”
Pohl noted the children’s books he has been reading to his kids and the lessons he has learned from them. An example, he noted, was an excerpt from “The Velveteen Rabbit,” when the rabbit learns about becoming real.
“So here’s my advice — which is two-fold,” he said. “First of all, read. Students and parents, read for yourself and read for each other. Second of all, understand your relationships and the conversations you have about what it means to be real in your life together.”
Goal-setting, he also noted, is important.
“Remember this, a goal without a plan is a wish,” Pohl said. “So if there’s something you want to do, or be or become or hope for, write it down and look at a picture of it that you can see every day — if you write it down and look at a picture of it every day, it tends to happen.”
He also noted the students and parents should be an example for the children they someday have by starting today.
“How do you give back to the place you call home, let’s talk about the questions how and why, first,” Pohl said, noting three men who were laying bricks and who were asked what they were doing — one said, “earning a living,” one said, “building a wall” and the last said, “building a cathedral.” “Each day, it really does not matter so much what we do, your line of work has little to do with it, what really does matter is how and why you do it.”
Pohl quoted Aristotle and Howard Thurman before closing.
“My hope is you will listen to the dreams in your heart and have the courage to follow them wherever they may take you, that along the way you see the joy and rapture one can experience in a life spent trying to make the world a little bit better place by your past, so that someday the children who inherit it will be able to do the same,” he told the students. “Please continue to do what you are doing to keep the force of ignorance and brutality at bay, continue to work at the vision of what you see yourself becoming with the goal of being real and remember that in these humble beginnings lies the best opportunity for young men and women to aspire to greatness.”
Jeffries then took a moment to thank the parents, after which Wilker also thanked Superintendent Jerry Skiver, Principal Dave Lewis, Pohl and the members of the St. Marys Board of Education, as well as NHS adviser Sue Cheslock and the new inductees.
“Being a member of an NHS chapter is an extremely prestigious honor, and you were chosen to be a member of NHS by your peers and teachers to be a part of a group of students who excel in and out of the classroom academically, as well as a leader and a professional role model to those around you,” Wilker said. “People may try to tell you that NHS is not a big deal, but I want to remind you it is a big deal. You all have worked extremely hard to get where you are, and you should be very proud of all your accomplishments.”