In awarding the 2016-2017 NEHS Outstanding Chapter Award to the Best-Shirey-Little Chapter from Sullivan High School (SHS) in Sullivan, IL, an idea for a new blog series was born. Many new chapters simply name themselves after their school or mascot, yet some go above and beyond, choosing fun, creative, and meaningful names that will help their chapter stand out in the years to come. The SHS chapter certainly falls into this second category, which pushed NEHS Director Dave Wendelin to inquire about the story behind their chapter’s name. Cami Badman, Advisor for the SHS chapter, shared the following, which we present asthe first entry in the new What’s in a Name series.
The Best-Shirey-Little Chapter is named after four people.
“Best” honors Robert and Marion Best, who owned and edited the Sullivan News-Progress until their deaths. In support of journalism, they published The SHS Signal for many years free of charge and actually allowed us in the early days to do all of the layout at their business. They were very committed not only to journalism education but also to the schools in general. Their son and daughter continue to support all of the schools in Sullivan today. Our chapter contains their name to honor their support of journalistic writing through The SHS Signal and their support of our schools in the News-Progress.
The “Shirey” comes from honoring Dorman “Mush” Shirey, a graduate of SHS in the 1930s/40s. A World War II veteran, Mush was an SHS football player and a gifted poet. He was well known for reciting his own memorized poems to people throughout Sullivan, and they were very well written. He also collected sports cards and gave books of them to young men and jewelry boxes with jewelry in them, which he gave to young women. He came to school and shared his poetry and WWII experiences with students. Our chapter contains his name to honor his gift of writing and his support of writing and kids in Sullivan.
Finally, we honor Guy S. Little, Jr., who was a great supporter of theater arts through his Little Theater on the Square and through the high school. The son of an English teacher, Mr. Little was very supportive of students performing Shakespeare at his theater and supported countless actresses and actors from Sullivan and all over the US. He was instrumental in bringing live, professional theater to Central Illinois and his name is a part of our chapter name to honor him and his commitment to theater arts in Sullivan.
Best-Shirey-Little Chapter, Chapter Advisor
Sullivan High School, Sullivan, IL
What’s in a Name?
As this chapter demonstrates, so much as they honor individuals from their community. Does your chapter have a fun, creative, and meaningful name? Share your chapter name’s story with us to be featured in the new What’s in a Name blog series on NEHS Museletter! Please email Dave Wendelin to share your story.
This award is named for John Manear, whose career has now spanned fifty-two years in education, almost all of them as a classroom teacher at Seton-La Salle High School in Pittsburgh, PA. Manear, a founding member of NEHS, has served on the Advisory Council since the inception of the honor society in 2005. Manear’s inspirational story of service to the profession sets a standard of excellence that Bell certainly emulates.
Among the NEHS activities Bell has initiated are:
organizing after-school tutoring where NEHS members tutor students in need of help in their English classes;
organizing a yearly book drive in which over 800 books have been donated to community organizations and schools;
spear-heading a field trip for NEHS members to visit “Books for Africa,” where the students sorted donated books to be sent to schools in Africa;
encouraging her members to volunteer in local libraries and read to individuals unable to read themselves; and
involving her chapter in “Read Across America” at local elementary schools and leading the faculty at Woodland High School with its own Read Across America Day, promoting activities in every discipline in the school; all classes were involved in reading and writing activities, partnering with the Literacy Team (also led by Bell) to create lessons for the day.
These activities are just a few of the many in which Bell has modeled her love of literacy.
Woodland High School Principal Dr. Shannon Ellis shares the following statement from Bell’s colleagues: “Ms. Bell is not just an English teacher, she is a miracle worker. She often wears three to five hats at one time while maintaining a smile and positive attitude. Her classroom is always filled with students who need her help or who just want to sit and read in the wonderful learning environment she has created.” Finally, former student, Maddie Pascavage, says, “[Ms. Bell] uses every moment as an opportunity to teach, inspiring growth in her students as scholars and people. She is one of the most impactful teachers I have met in my entire career as a student.” On top of all of this, we understand Bell plays a mean saxophone!
NEHS celebrates the accomplishments of Cassaundra Bell as an outstanding representative of NEHS Advisors who dedicate themselves to excellence in English studies. Bell receives a $500 award and a plaque commemorating her service to NEHS.
National English Honor Society (NEHS) is on social media and we’re waiting for you! Over the past year NEHS social media has stepped up its game. In addition to our existing Facebook and Twitter accounts, we have joined forces with our sponsoring organization, Sigma Tau Delta, to create joint accounts under the name EnglishMatters across several new social media platforms, including Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest. Just find and follow us on the platforms you currently use for updates on society news. NEHS social media also posts about hot topics in the field of English such as STEAM, college admissions/college transition, EdTech, careers for English majors, pedagogy, grammar, and English humor. If you aren’t following NEHS social media yet, here is a sampling of some of the great content you have been missing:
What Can I Do with an English Major
“The story of the unemployable English major is both powerful and damaging, since students are more than ever concerned that their choice of degree will lead to successful employment—reasonably so considering the lingering effects of the recession and the high cost of postsecondary education in the US. Hence it behooves us to counter the belief that English majors can’t get a job.” Keep reading
The View from Hemingway’s Attic: Political Correctness in Novels
“I was reading Chad Harbach’s novel The Art of Fielding and cruising along and then I just stopped. I had tripped over a word and at first I thought it was a typo, something that slipped through the proof reader if there is such a person anymore. But then I realized the word was intentional and that the novel had fallen victim to the dictates of political correctness.” Keep reading
The Decline and Fall of the English Major
“In the past few years, I’ve taught nonfiction writing to undergraduates and graduate students at Harvard, Yale, Bard, Pomona, Sarah Lawrence and Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. Each semester I hope, and fear, that I will have nothing to teach my students because they already know how to write. And each semester I discover, again, that they don’t.” Keep reading
English Teacher’s Hip-Hop Curriculum Gets Students Writing
“With new academic standards ratcheting up literacy expectations, many teachers are looking for ways to engage students more deeply in writing and reading assignments.
Lauren Leigh Kelly, an English teacher at Half Hollow Hills High School West in Dix Hills, NY, and an adjunct English instructor at Teachers College, Columbia University, has found that incorporating rap and hip-hop culture into the literacy curriculum can help connect instruction to students’ individual backgrounds and foster their interest in writing.” Keep reading
Want to Write Better? Read Better Writing.
“Reading is a critical skill taught in elementary and secondary school. As children, we start with the ABCs and work up to classics such as Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and Zora Neale Hurston’s ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God.’ After graduation, however, many individuals stop thinking about the importance of what they read. Yet the quality of what one reads directly affects the complexity of his or her writing, according to a new study in the International Journal of Business Administration.” Keep reading
Study Finds Allowing Devices in Classrooms Hurts Academic Performance
“When faculty members at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point took away students’ computers and tablets in an introductory economics courses, their students’ grades jumped.” Keep reading
To Write Better Code, Read Virginia Woolf
“The humanities are kaput. Sorry, liberal arts cap-and-gowners. You blew it. In a software-run world, what’s wanted are more engineers. At least, so goes the argument in a rising number of states, which have embraced a funding model for higher education that uses tuition ‘bonuses’ to favor hard-skilled degrees like computer science over the humanities. The trend is backed by countless think pieces. ‘Macbeth does not make my priority list,’ wrote Vinod Khosla, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems and the author of a widely shared blog post titled ‘Is Majoring in Liberal Arts a Mistake for Students?’” Keep reading
I Would Rather do Anything Else Than Grade Your Final Papers
“Dear Students Who Have Just Completed My Class, I would rather do anything else than grade your Final Papers. I would rather base jump off of the parking garage next to the student activity center or eat that entire sketchy tray of taco meat leftover from last week’s student achievement luncheon that’s sitting in the department refrigerator or walk all the way from my house to the airport on my hands than grade your Final Papers.” Keep reading
STEAM: The “A” Stands for the Arts
“Last week I wrote a post about STEM . . . how the emphasis in public education is on science, technology, engineering, and math . . . as being the appropriate preparation for today’s jobs. I do not disagree that these fields are where the jobs are. I do, however, think that the ability to communicate clearly is still important, as is the role of the arts in a well-rounded education.” Keep reading
An E-Book UI That Lets You Flip Digital Pages, Just Like a Real Book
“If a book is good, you should be so immersed in it that you don’t care how far you’ve read or how much further there is to go. Does that sound like a good rationalization for the generally terrible navigation schemes that we put up with in our e-books? I love my Kindle, but using percentages instead of page numbers makes me feel like I’m reading a calculator instead of a book.” Keep reading
#Yodify your Grammar
“With the arrival of the anniversary of the initial release of the first Star Wars movie, we at Grammarly started to reflect on what makes the films so great. Being language lovers and word nerds at heart, we are particularly fascinated and charmed by the grammar of the great Jedi master, Yoda. To celebrate our love of Star Wars, we dissected a few classic Yoda-style quotes in order to better understand the patterns that #yodify the English language.” Keep reading