What’s in a Name: Best-Shirey-Little Chapter

Best-Shirey-LittleIn 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 as the 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.

CBadmanCami Badman
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.

Sports Writer Buck Harvey Shares Writing Tips with Students

Buck Harvey

Buck Harvey

Each March, the Charles Dickens Chapter of Saint Mary’s Hall in San Antonio, TX, hosts its Annual Speaker Tea, featuring esteemed novelists, journalists, bloggers, and presidential speech writers. Each of these individuals attended Saint Mary’s Hall or has some connection to the school, either through a spouse or child. To mark the Tea’s fifth anniversary, the Charles Dickens Chapter invited critically acclaimed journalist Buck Harvey, who officially retired from his role as a sports writer this year.

A local Texan, Harvey grew up in Dallas and attended the University of Texas at Austin to pursue an undergraduate degree in journalism. As a student, he was the editor of the university newspaper, eventually working with the Boston Herald and the Dallas Times Herald. After moving to San Antonio in 1982, he began working at the San Antonio Light and his daughter, Robin, started school at Saint Mary’s Hall a few years later. During his career, Harvey has covered the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Texas Longhorns, and Texas A&M Aggies, along with other Texas collegiate teams. In his thirty-four years of impressive journalism, he also has covered the Masters, the Olympics, multiple Final Fours, and numerous Super Bowl Championships. According to our discussions with him, his favorite stories that he covered were the expansive careers of Tim Duncan and David Robinson (not to forget the five Spurs NBA championships he reported!).

Buck Harvey

Harvey, Lena Brysacz, and NEHS Chapter Vice-President Prerna Pamar

It was truly an honor to have Harvey present at our Tea. His interesting perspective on the importance of writing has led many students to consider majoring in journalism in college. He also gave interesting insight on the new prevalence of fake news and the effects of technology on his career. We wish Buck Harvey the best in retirement and thank him for his wonderful career in San Antonio.

Lena Brysacz
Charles Dickens Chapter, Chapter President
Saint Mary’s Hall, San Antonio, TX

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.