NEHS prides itself on the breadth and depth of literacy-focused community service projects undertaken by its student members. Recent examples of high-quality service projects designed and led by NEHS student members include community comedy and open-mic nights, poetry slams, Seuss-a-brations, Read in the Weeds events, literary-themed notice boards, and sponsoring local book festivals.
As an organization, NEHS believes that social service allows students excelling in English not only to help improve literacy within their wider community, but also develop connections between them and other people that they may not normally have any interactions with. In our last NEHS Graduating Student Survey (2023), a large majority of respondents emphasized their community service projects as a highlight of their time as NEHS student members.
In response to the question “What was one highlight of your time as an NEHS member?” students wrote, “Working as a tutor in our writing center was an incredible experience,” “I really enjoyed helping donate hundreds of books to children that are in need in our community,” and “I helped set up a Book Nook where students can donate, take, and exchange books.”
That is why, in 2024, NEHS is encouraging student members to design and lead their own literacy-focused service projects. All projects should be focused on supporting the wider community, whether that be other students within the same school or people/groups/organizations working beyond the campus. It is key, though, that students highlight the literacy-based need within their community that they wish to work on and reduce. We encourage students to do this so that they are truly engaged and motivated to help their community rather than just participating because they have been told to do so.
NEHS understands that community service projects require dedication and, often, financial support. We have no doubt that you will find the dedication a project requires among your talented and motivated student members. NEHS provides Chapter Project Grants to students wishing to undertake literacy-focused service projects in the fall and spring of each year. Recently, we have been able to fund community poetry nights and poetry slam events, several Little Free Libraries, literary journals, a Bingo for Books night, and story writing programs aimed at middle and elementary school students.
We accept applications for funding in any of our four Chapter Spotlight categories: academic focus; community engagement; collaborative projects; and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Students at any active NEHS chapter are eligible to apply, through their Chapter Advisor, for funding to support their projects. The NEHS Advisory Council particularly enjoys funding innovative projects that have guaranteed positive impacts on literacy in the community.
Let’s make 2024 a year in which we all give something back to the people around us by donating our time and enthusiasm to improving literacy in our communities. As Pablo Picasso famously said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
National English Honor Society
The National English Honor Society (NEHS), founded and sponsored by Sigma Tau Delta, is the only international organization exclusively for secondary students and faculty who, in the field of English, merit special note for past and current accomplishments. Individual secondary schools are invited to petition for a local chapter, through which individuals may be inducted into Society membership. Immediate benefits of affiliation include academic recognition, scholarship and award eligibility, and opportunities for networking with others who share enthusiasm for, and accomplishment in, the language arts.
America’s first honor society was founded in 1776, but high school students didn’t have access to such organizations for another 150 years. Since then, high school honor societies have been developed in leadership, drama, journalism, French, Spanish, mathematics, the sciences, and in various other fields, but not in English. In 2005, National English Honor Society launched and has been growing steadily since, becoming one of the largest academic societies for secondary schools.
As Joyce Carol Oates writes, “This is the time for which we have been waiting.” Or perhaps it was Shakespeare: “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer . . .” we celebrate English studies through NEHS.
National English Honor Society accepts submissions to our blog, NEHS Museletter, from all membership categories (students, Advisors, and alumni). If you are interested in submitting a blog, please read the Suggested Guidelines on our website. Email any questions and all submissions to: email@example.com.