Junior Summer Study Program Facilitates Immense Personal Growth

St. Paul Advanced Junior Summer Study ProgramI began my summer at the St. Paul’s Advanced Studies Program (ASP), Concord, NH, with one goal: to do something that challenged or scared me every day. I, like many of my peers, fall into routines. I tend to gravitate toward the same groups of people, sports, and clubs at my high school. This summer, I promised myself I would take advantage of every opportunity that came my way during this five-week-long junior summer study program, and to be bolder than I had ever been before.

No two days were alike at St. Paul’s. A typical day included breakfast at seven, a non-denominational chapel service at eight, and then classes from eight-thirty to one. Following class, we would attend lunch and then have some free time until recreation at three, and then we ended our night with study hours from seven to ten. Although that was the basic structure, the variety that took place within that structure is what made the experience truly unique. Chapel was thought-provoking and fun, with a different presenter and theme every day. The topics discussed ranged from self-improvement to broadening your world view to happiness, and every day I learned a valuable lesson. Class was broken into 3 blocks, each about an hour long. We alternated every other day between 3 blocks of our major course and 2 blocks of our major course with one block of Writing Workshop.

Junior Summer Junior Study CohortWriting Workshop was an interesting and beneficial experience. It gave me a great opportunity to receive feedback on my work from my peers, specifically on my college essay. We discussed writing tools and techniques that made essays successful, and had nightly reading assignments that supplemented in-class discussions.

My Forbidden Fictions course was unlike any classroom experience I have ever had. We read challenging texts and had very involved classroom discussions. Classes began with a reflection of discussion points we had thought of independently during our reading from the previous night, and these ideas were what fueled discussions on the text that could last three to four hours. The thought-provoking conversations I was immersed in were not exclusive to just a few members of the class—everyone had a say. For example, even during our heated debate in our Lolita unit about whether or not Humbert Humbert was capable of loving Dolores Haze, no one was disrespectful when they did not agree. We went back and forth for hours with textual evidence to support our opinions, and through this civil, in-depth debate everyone gained a deeper understanding of all of the components of the text. I took away from this class a newfound confidence in sharing my opinion, and our engaging conversations reminded me why I love literature so much.

Summer Study Program ActivitiesThis summer I was presented with at least one opportunity to try something new every day. Whether it was rowing for the first time, talking to a new peer, making a bold statement in a class discussion, or going to any number of various evening events, I was never bored. I tried talking to as many people as I could, and it did not take long to realize how amazingly diverse and accepting the community was. People from all different backgrounds chose to spend their summer at ASP for one purpose: to learn solely for the sake of learning.

The students who attended ASP were wildly passionate about everything they did, and many, like me, wanted to be completely invested in the experience. During a conversation in the dining hall one night, for example, the point was brought up that unlike our normal high schools, everyone at Saint Paul’s wanted to dive headfirst into every opportunity that came their way during their time here. You never had to ask if someone was going to a Diversity Alliance meeting, an Open Mic night, or the infamous student-alumni soccer game—the answer was always yes. The community at ASP is one that facilitates immense personal growth, and for me that meant stepping out of my comfort zone and challenging myself. I would not trade my phenomenal learning experience surrounded by so many fantastic peers, teachers, and interns for anything.

2017 Junior Summer Study Stipend

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 2017. 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.

Submissions will be accepted between Monday, April 3 and Monday, May 1, 2017, 11:59 p.m. CDT.

Submission Criteria and Details

Olivia Montine
2016 Junior Summer Study Stipend Recipient
Nashua High School South Chapter
Nashua High School South, Nashua, NH

NEHS Member Honored as 2016 National Student Poet

National English Honor Society (NEHS) was proud to learn of the national recognition Maya Eashwaran, a member of the Milton High School Chapter, received. Her blog details her wonderful accomplishment of being named a 2016 National Student Poet:

My name is Maya Eashwaran, and I am the 2016 National Student Poet for the Southeast! I am a senior at Milton High School in Milton, GA, and a member of my school’s chapter of NEHS.

The National Student Poets program is the nation’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work and is presented by three sponsors: the President’s Committee for the Arts and Humanities, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, and the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. As a 2016 National Student Poet, I have been honored with so many amazing opportunities, like meeting First Lady Michelle Obama, traveling to the Dodge Poetry Festival, and speaking at the National Writing Project plenary in Atlanta. I also have the honor of working with four other National Student Poet recipients from around the country and am constantly inspired by their work and their dedication to the arts.

Poetry, to me, is the most expressive and alive form of art. It provides me with the tools to speak freely about my heritage and my beliefs and gives me a platform for artistic expression. It allows me to construct worlds out of words and has taught me so much about the place of art and writing in society.

As a National Student Poet, I have the amazing opportunity to construct and implement a service project focusing on engaging new communities with poetry in my region. I’m so excited to reach out and spread my love of poetry with my community!

Please visit the National Student Poets program website to learn more. I highly recommend the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards to any high school student interested in the visual and literary arts! Applications for the 2018 Scholastic Awards will open in September.

Maya EashwaranMaya Eashwaran
2016 National Student Poet—Southeast
Milton High School Chapter
Milton High School, Milton, GA

Putting Our Motto into Action: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

The National English Honor Society (NEHS) motto, “Gelest Sceal Mid Are,” is Old English for “duty goes with honor.” Every year, chapters engage in outstanding projects that exemplify putting the motto into action. This year, NEHS has the opportunity to participate in a joint project with Sigma Tau Delta, the university-level English honor society, and with Sigma Kappa Delta, the honor society for Two-Year Colleges. The project will help raise funds for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which provides books to enhance the literacy of children in low-income communities.

Dolly Parton's Imagination LibraryDolly Parton’s Imagination Library

The Imagination Library fosters a love of reading among preschool children and their families by providing one specially-selected book each month from birth to the child’s fifth birthday. According to David Dotson, the president of The Dollywood Foundation, “Dolly started the Imagination Library as a gift to the children in her home county [in East Tennessee]. We never dreamed this effort would now span several countries and will soon attain an incredible milestone—gifting books to 1 million children per month.” The Imagination Library’s 2015 Annual Report highlighted some of the program’s achievements during its 20th anniversary year:

  • 2 million books donated in 2015
  • 9 million books donated since 1995
  • A new book is gifted every 3 seconds
  • Over 915,000 children received a book in December

The program has expanded far beyond America and now operates in Canada, the UK, and Australia, with additional efforts in Belize to discover the program’s potential effectiveness in emerging countries.

Fostering Literacy at the Chapter Level

Dolly Parton's Imagination LibraryNEHS has the opportunity to help the Imagination Library reach more students and gift books to over 1 million children in need. We challenge all chapters to sponsor ten children. That is only $250 to provide ten children with a year’s worth of books! This year, proceeds will be split among South Carolina, Arkansas, and Kentucky—three states greatly in need of our help—along with the company that produces books in Braille.

Chapters should mail a check for the money collected to the Central Office by June 1. Checks should be made out to National English Honor Society (NEHS), and the chapter and school name should be entered in the memo line.

NEHS Central Office
Attn: Imagination Library
Department of English
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115

All money raised will be presented to the Imagination Library in a single check. Please do not send money directly to the Imagination Library.