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.


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.


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

Winning Staff Team

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