by Caitlin Glenn | Staff Writer
Johnson High School is a place known for the opportunities it provides for its students, not the least of which is it’s long list of national honor societies. Beyond the general National Honor Society, Johnson also hosts chapters for Spanish, French, science, and art. So it was only a logical question when junior Taylor Cantu asked why there wasn’t a National English Honor Society on campus.
“In English class, we were talking about the different national honor societies for various languages when it occurred to me that there was not an English National Honor Society,” Cantu said. “I asked Mr. Oviedo why we didn’t have one and expressed interest in creating one.”
“After doing some research, he came back to me and said that there actually is an organization of what we were looking for and that we could start one at Johnson if we were serious about it. I was really excited to start something new at Johnson to give students an opportunity to branch out in their extracurriculars and to recognize an exemplary English student. Applying and being accepted to colleges is progressively becoming more and more difficult, and having another organization on our resumes will be incredibly beneficial to us,” Cantu said.
The question now raised, the task researching the possibility of a National English Honor Society chapter at Johnson fell to Mr. Oviedo, a freshman and junior English teacher.
“I went online and I found out that there is an organization that sponsors high school level English National Honor Society. It was a University honor society for English majors, and so we just started asking questions,” Oviedo said, “and since everybody was on board we are attempting to establish a chapter here.”
Naturally, question that followed confirmation of NEHS at Johnson was what the requirements for membership would be.
“It’s still in its planning stages, nothing has been finalized, but what we’re looking for is to make it inclusive to as many students as possible,” Oviedo said. “So it will include any type of student, except by your final semester average. That’s what it’s based on; it’s an honor society, which is academic in nature, so it’s based on nothing but your final semester average- it doesn’t involve extra curricular service hours or positions in other clubs. If you’re interested in joining, you have to meet the gap requirement per semester, and we’re planning on setting that at a 90. So as long as a student has an A for the semester, they’re eligible for admittance. It’s not an application, but the potential to be accepted.”
And when they say “inclusive,” they mean it.
“So it doesn’t matter if you’re in a regular classroom, or G/T classroom, or an AP classroom. If you’re a junior or senior, and meet the grade point requirement, then you will be accepted into the society,” Oviedo said. “Since we need to plan everything, the induction will always be at the beginning of the year, not the end of the year, so because of that, we’re focusing on juniors this year because they will be inducted as seniors next year, and of course seniors aren’t going to be around next year, so they will be unable to apply.”
Beyond the prestige of another honor society to add to the resume, a National English Honor Society will provide the perfect environment for the celebration of literature and the English language among Johnson students.
“I think that this is a great opportunity for kids with similar interests in English and literature to come together,” said Mrs. Belden, a freshman and sophomore English teacher. “And to be in a productive environment and meet other people that share their values.”
“High school affords a lot of different opportunities, and a lot of times the extracurriculars, because they’re so time intensive and skill intensive, get a lot of recognition, like sports, fine arts, art, stuff like that,” said Oviedo. “And there’s not a lot of nationally recognized academic programs, or recognitions that students are aware of, and so I think it’s good to focus on the academic recognition as well as the extracurricular recognition, and I think this is one way we could do that. And while on one hand I know that many are going to be in the society because it looks good on college applications, many others are going to be interested in interesting literature and in doing different projects to help expand reading of all levels, so I am excited because I want to know the ideas that the students have.”
For more information, visit the website of the National English Honor Society.