How to Serve Books With Cookies

How to Serve Books with CookiesFor our annual Holiday Literacy Celebration this year, Saint Mary’s Hall‘s National English Honor Society chapter, the Charles Dickens Chapter, hosted the Boys and Girls Club for a night of cookie decorating and reading. From the moment they spilled out of their school bus, the children had smiles stretched across their faces, enthusiastic about their new adventure. Stacking their plates with pizza slices, our guests eagerly inquired about our plans for the night. I spent most of my time with two brothers, Marquel and Marquo, chatting about baseball, sugar, and mushrooms.

Holiday Literacy CelebrationAfter munching down their dinner, the children were split up by gender, the gals decorating sugar cookies with Christmas trees and flowers, while the boys visited our guest reader, Miss Anastasia. Enthralled by her animated character voices and facial expressions, the children giggled and gasped at just the right times during the plots of Bad Kitty and Poor Puppy. When one member appeared in a Bad Kitty costume, the kids absolutely exploded with excitement, hugging and running around with their new favorite character. The girls spent some time in the world of Bad Kitty next, while the boys turned their cookies into sprinkle cakes and famous basketball jerseys.

Holiday Literacy CelebrationAfter bagging up extra cookies for the ride home, each of the children chose their own book, which we purchased with our chapter’s bake sale profits. As the children loaded onto the bus, they held their new books to their chests, arguing about who loves Bad Kitty more—and believe it or not, their smiles had even grown a little bit wider.

How does your chapter promote literacy and engage with your community?

Emery Wright
Charles Dickens Chapter, President
Saint Mary’s Hall, San Antonio, TX

Changes to NEHS Scholarships

NEHS ScholarshipsDear NEHS Advisors, Students, Parents/Guardians, and Colleagues,

We send greetings to you from the Central Office of National English Honor Society. As the semester winds to a close, we want to thank you for your leadership, membership, and interest in NEHS. The growth of our organization continues to amaze everyone; proudly, we now stand at 1,043 chartered chapters! With growth, however, comes the need to accommodate for the sheer volume of members we have. The needed changes include new submission requirements for the scholarship processes.

As the scholarship application window opens for NEHS seniors, we want to alert you to changes in the process of submission for both the Merit Scholarships and the Need-Based Scholarships. Because this new process will require candidates to respond to additional questions, giving reviewers further information about each candidate, it is important for all of you to become aware of the changes; in the past, many candidates have uploaded their essays at the last moment. Procrastinating to the end of the scholarship “window” will prove problematic this year.

Applications for both categories of scholarships will utilize the AwardSpring submission system. Directions have been added to the scholarship pages on our website,, for reference. Candidates should follow the step-by-step procedures as they complete the requirements and ultimately upload all materials by the deadline of January 16, 2018, at 12:00 noon, CST.

Merit Scholarships

Candidates for Merit Scholarships must respond to one of the essay prompts provided for the Common Reader, On Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry. In addition, the candidates will find three other short answer questions within the AwardSpring system that must be answered before the scholarship process is complete. These additional questions will help reviewers gain insight into the candidates; responses will be evaluated and points will be awarded for each as part of the scoring process.

Need-Based Scholarships

Candidates for Need-Based Scholarships must submit narrative essays outlining their unique circumstances leading to the need for financial assistance. Students should read the content requirements for the narrative carefully to ensure the writing includes all details as outlined. Candidates will be evaluated on the quality of writing as well as content. Additionally, a letter of recommendation from the NEHS Chapter Advisor must be uploaded along with a letter of confirmation from a school official confirming the need-based status of the applicant. Each of the letters will be reviewed and points will be awarded as part of the evaluation process. Incomplete scholarship packets will not be evaluated. Candidates for this category of scholarship will also respond to the same three questions as the Merit Scholarship candidates; however, points will not be awarded to these responses in the initial phases of review. Rather, the NEHS Advisory Council will take these responses into consideration before final decisions are made about awards.

Please direct any questions concerning these new procedures to

Dave WendelinDave Wendelin
NEHS Director

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.