Lindsey L. Ward: 2015-2016 Outstanding NEHS Advisor

Dave WendelinDave Wendelin
NEHS Director

The National English Honor Society (NEHS) is pleased to announce that the first recipient of the John L. Manear Outstanding Advisor Award is Lindsey L. Ward from The Woodlands College Park High School in Texas. This is the inaugural year for this award, named for John Manear who has been teaching high school English for fifty years (as of 2016) in Pittsburgh. Manear also has served on the NEHS Advisory Council since its inception and helped launch the Society in its earliest stages of development.

L Ward

Lindsey L. Ward, 2015-2016 Outstanding NEHS Advisor

Ward represents the very best of the NEHS Advisors who guide student members each day across the spectrum of our 850+ chapters. Educated at the University of Houston and Sam Houston State University, Lindsey has led her NEHS chapter since 2009. Her department chair notes, “[When she assumed the role of Advisor], Lindsey breathed new life into the program. Over the last six years, she has built the program and increased student membership by more than 20%.” The Cavalier Chapter at The Woodlands averages 150 members each year, all of whom are engaged in significant literacy efforts for the community. One of Lindsey’s colleagues shared, “She has a way of motivating the student members and faculty volunteers alike to work hard to achieve the [Society’s] goals.” From bake sales to picnics on National Reading Day, from collecting over 3,000 books for the Conroe Family Clinic to starting a free tutoring program at the high school, Ward has led her chapter to the “duty” aspect that comes with the “honor” of being a member of NEHS. Perhaps most significant, however, is the praise she received from a student who wrote in a nomination letter, “Ms. Ward understands what it is to be a student. She is kind, patient, always has a smile on her face, and never fails to make all members [of NEHS] leave meetings with smiles on their faces.”

Lindsey will receive a monetary award of $500 and a plaque to commemorate this recognition. Nominations for 2016-2017 will be accepted through April 1, 2017. Visit our website for more information about the award and the process of nomination.

Linganore High School’s Annual Spelling Bee

Natalie Ann Rebetsky
Chapter Advisor
Linganore High School Chapter
Linganore High School, Frederick, MD

“Bellomancy” is the ancient art of divination using arrows, and was just one of the winning words at Linganore High School‘s annual National English Honor Society (NEHS) spelling bee last year.

The Linganore High School Chapter‘s annual January/February project is our spelling bee. We host three teams—NEHS, Academic Team, and Staff—in a fight-to-the-finish spelling bee. Usually, we field 5-8 members from each group, rotating in and out of each three-person team, and we even borrow buzzers from the Academic Team, so the event looks more official.

NEHS Team

The first year, we provided lists of words to each team to practice in advance. The staff are the ones who took that most seriously, and they crushed the other teams. Now, there is no pre-game list. The Master of Ceremony, our Student Government Association advisor, Jeremy Brown, selects the words, usually the ones that give the “real” national spelling bee contestants difficulty. He varies the rules, but there is an open round where any team can buzz in, a 10-question round for each team, and then a lightning round. Our NEHS officer in charge of the event signs up the participants, advertises the event, helps to keep score, sets up, and cleans up.

The event is held in our media center and there usually is an audience of 50 or so NEHS members, teachers, and curious bystanders. We have held this contest three consecutive years and the interest continues to grow.

Room Picture

At the end, we award spelling bee medals. (I get these online, very inexpensive) and jars of “Spelling BEE” honey. The honey is a little odd, but people seem to like it.

The popularity of the event may be due in part to Mr. Brown. He has been a spelling bee junkie for many years and never misses the annual national spelling bee on television. He injects a great deal of humor into the event and likes to tease the contestants.

Mr. Brown said, “It’s exciting to see the students and faculty members get excited about the competition. They have so much energy to show off their spelling skills in a fun, but still competitive way. I also like being the official pronouncer. It’s fun to channel Dr. Jacques Bailly!” He added, “[The spelling bee] has lots of different parts of the planning, the preparation, and the execution of the event for NEHS members to use their various skills, including leadership, problem solving, organization, and speaking. AND it culminates in a great event that fosters interests in learning and in the NEHS.”

Current NEHS president and former competitor, Ryan Stark, said, “I enjoyed the friendly competition of it. Attempting to show off my English skills in a competition was very fulfilling, no matter what the final outcome came to be. It’s an entertaining way to promote English proficiency, I think. Spectators at the event seemed entertained by both comic misspellings and the rush of spelling difficult words correctly. Any enthusiasm for English at all is a good thing.”

Linganore hosted its fourth annual spelling bee on March 9, 2016. After a tie-breaking round between the Staff and Academic teams, the Staff once again were victorious! The Linganore Chapter’s students hope you are inspired to try a spelling bee of your own. Send your successes, ideas, or questions to Natalie.Rebetsky@fcps.org.

Winning Staff Team


More literary NEHS chapter event ideas can be found at  National English Honor Society Noteworthy Chapter Activities.

Junior Summer Study Stipend Results in Unforgettable Learning Experience

Elijah WaldonElijah Waldon
2015 Junior Summer Study Stipend Winner
Franklin Academy Patriots Chapter
Franklin Academy High School, Wake Forest, NC

At first, I expected the Young Writer’s Workshop at the University of North Carolina Wilmington to be just a chance to learn more about creative writing. However, what seemed like an exciting opportunity to spend five days at the sunny UNC Wilmington campus, a trip funded in part by the National English Honor Society (NEHS) Junior Summer Study Stipend, turned out to be an unforgettable learning experience in understanding myself as a creative writer.

University of North Carolina Wilmington signImagine being surrounded by 30 aspiring poets, novelists, and non-fiction enthusiasts for five whole days! It took me a while to become comfortable with my new surroundings, but after exchanging plot ideas over lunch with other campers, I quickly felt like I gained a new family. My assigned small group’s passions were even similar to my own: a love of poetry, mystic fantasy, young adult dystopia, and animation scripts. The most savory moments with my group were during our daily workshops with our leader, Eli. Having these individual discussions allowed me to appreciate my fellow peers’ work and to gain valuable feedback and criticism on my own poetry.

Wilmington BeachDay one consisted of getting settled into the dorm rooms and meeting other workshop participants. The second day began with timed writing prompts, testing my ability to spit out raw creativity in under 15 minutes. Those short moments revealed to me that I express my creativity primarily through poetic stanzas, whether the topic was a midnight in NYC, or the nostalgia of high school graduation. Afterward, two lectures quenched my thirst for poetry as well as fiction. Professor Mark Cox, founder of the Workshop, taught me how to build poetry, from representational to referential to associational concepts. On the other hand, Jason Mott, the creator of the idea behind ABC’s Resurrection, revealed the beyond-the-cover secrets of getting a story published and the basics of narration. Throughout the third day, I made more memories discussing dialogue in scene work, working on the anthology in the publishing lab, and (my personal favorite) learning the art of erasure poetry. The day culminated with a trolley trip to the beach, where I learned I’d rather watch the water than get in it! The fourth day caught me by surprise; I never imagined being randomly chosen as a character for author Dave Gill’s demonstration on how to craft young adult fiction. Later, I discovered an interest in starting my own blog from listening to Tim Bass’ lecture on nonfiction writing. However, the highlight of my entire stay at UNC Wilmington was the night of the writers’ readings. While listening to sophisticated spoken word and inventive novel excerpts, I realized how blessed I was to be amongst the next generation of literati.

I’ll never forget my experience at the Workshop. Thanks to the NEHS Junior Summer Study Stipend, I’ll never forget the invaluable lectures on poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, or the hour-long workshops spent reading young and talented works of literary art. Ultimately, I’ll treasure every authentic moment shared with such an exceptional and extraordinary group of writers who helped inspire the writer I am today, and hope to become.


2016 Junior Summer Study Program

The Junior Summer Study Stipend is presented to members of National English Honor Society (NEHS) who are high school juniors, rising to the senior class in the fall of 2016. This award is intended to support students who have been selected for or who will be attending a summer learning program that is related to English studies in a direct way. Up to two awards for $750 will be offered each year.

This award is competitive in nature; applications will be evaluated by members of the Advisory Council of NEHS.

Submit your application today.

Submissions are due by Monday, May 2, 2016, 11:59 p.m. CDT.