Chapter Advisors Chapter Awards

2024 Outstanding Advisor: Justin Hitchcock

This year’s winner of the John L. Manear Outstanding Advisor Award is Justin Hitchcock, Chapter Advisor for the Danbury Hatters NEHS chapter at Danbury High School in Danbury, CT. The John L. Manear Outstanding Advisor Award is the highest honor bestowed by the National English Honor Society. The award is given in memory of John Manear, a teacher at Seton La Salle Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, PA, and one of the original team of educators who founded the National English Honor Society in 2005. The Advisory Council takes applications for the award very seriously and only gives out the award when it feels a candidate has truly epitomized the NEHS motto, “Duty goes with Honor.”

Justin Hitchcock was nominated for the award by NEHS student member, and President of the Danbury Hatters Chapter, Pearl Chia, and Danbury’s Associate Principal, Dr. Meghan Martins.

Chia writes that she has “never had an advisor and teacher as invested and genuine as Mr. Hitchcock.” His dedication to his work as an NEHS Chapter Advisor has meant that the Danbury Hatters Chapter now organizes six community service opportunities at elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as the local library and at a local bookstore. Chia says that “without [Hitchcock’s] guidance, and his unwavering support, none of this would have been established.” She speaks for her fellow NEHS student members when she notes that without Mr. Hitchcock’s guidance and support they “would not have been able to contribute to the community in Danbury” through such high-impact projects.

Hitchcock’s support for his community has not only benefited people across Danbury but has also had a tangible influence on teachers and students at the school, too. Dr. Martins commended Hitchcock for creating the Culture, Family, and Diversity Mobile Library which is used by teachers across the school to provide differentiated opportunities for students to read texts representing as many different cultures and human experiences as possible. This project has grown to the point where, this year, rather than sharing a library, Mr. Hitchcock is going to be able to present new teachers with their own libraries. She wrote that Hitchcock is “building our internal capacity for supporting our students through a culturally responsive lens.”

Hitchcock says that he “likes finding problems and proposing solutions,” but that his real joy comes from “teaching students to find problems and propose solutions.” Under his guidance, NEHS student members have devised a program to support Multilingual Learners at the school in understanding the options available to them post-high school. Martins says that Hitchcock “has cultivated an environment where students are eager to sustain these projects.” This sentiment is echoed by Chia who notes that “without the authentic and welcoming environment fostered by Mr. Hitchcock, these opportunities would not have been created and seized upon by students.”

Chia says that Mr. Hitchcock shuns the limelight and believes his students deserve all the praise for excelling, but he is happy to know that he “might have made a small difference” in the lives of his “wonderful students.” He says that he is incredibly proud of all they have done. Chia and Martins say that what he describes as a small difference has “led NEHS to a full 360-degree level of success,” and the “forging of strong relationships” between the school and the wider Danbury community.

The Advisory Council was thrilled to be able to give the 2024 John L. Manear Outstanding Advisor Award to Justin Hitchcock who, as Chia writes, has used his leadership of the Danbury NEHS Chapter to provide “a space and platform [for students and community members] to grow and share their love of the written word.”

Justin Hitchcock is the Chapter Advisor for the Danbury Hatters Chapter at Danbury High School in Danbury, CT. He is currently a high school English and AP Literature teacher, and the leader of the Culture, Family, and Diversity Mobile Library program at the school.

Justin Hitchcock
John L. Manear Outstanding Advisor Award Recipient, 2024
Danbury Hatters Chapter, Chapter Advisor
Danbury High School, Danbury, CT


John L. Manear Outstanding Advisor Award

The John L. Manear Outstanding Advisor Award, presented annually to one Advisor who has given generously of their time, talent, creativity, and leadership to a local NEHS chapter, recognizes Advisors who foster the spirit of academic excellence and community service in their work with chapter members.

The award is named in memory of John L. Manear, a former English teacher at Seton-LaSalle High School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mr. Manear was an English Coordinator for the Diocese of Pittsburgh; he was also a member of the original team of educators who envisioned the creation of National English Honor Society. Mr. Manear was a member of the NEHS Advisory Council and taught for more than fifty (50) years, dedicating his life to academic excellence in English studies.

The recipient of the John L. Manear Outstanding Advisor Award will receive a $500 check from National English Honor Society and a plaque. Additional awards of $250 will be available to recognize the contributions of other nominees.

Submission Deadline

The 2025 submission deadline will be announced this fall.