An honor to be part of NHS

Education Notes

Avica Burrill is president of the National Honor Society at Port Aransas High School.

Avica Burrill is president of the National Honor Society at Port Aransas High School.

Port Aransas High School held elections for National Honor Society officers shortly before the end of school last year. It was a brief event, somewhat eclipsed by the emotions surrounding senior graduation and everyone’s excitement for summer, but it was meaningful to me nonetheless. I had been elected National Honor Society President of the Port Aransas Chapter, and I was determined to make my time leading this group impactful.

Over the long, stretching summer months, I had plenty of time to think about what senior year meant to me, and what I wanted to achieve in that time. I began to make a plan, combing through archives of NHS service projects from across the country and researching local charities. I organized this vast data into a simplified printed hand-out and presented my goals at our first meeting with our newest group of National Honor Society members.

My leadership plan involved the delegation of projects to different groups of five to six people. This ensured the participation of everyone in NHS, while also expanding the number of projects we could accomplish and growing students’ individual leadership skills. These Task Teams collaborated on their chosen projects, working with a loose set of guidelines while adding in their own unique ideas and perspectives to enhance their results. They enacted a fundraising Car Wash, a First Responder Appreciation Luncheon, a Canned Food Drive, and a Freshman Study Help Lunch Week, accomplishing their goals with impressive follow-through and pride in their work. They also took turns promoting Blood Drives at the high school and we had unprecedented success in donor turnout.

In addition to our Task Team projects, NHS voted on seasonal projects in which our whole Chapter would participate and contribute. Our winter project, which we dubbed Project Rudolph, involved efforts from all three school campuses in PAISD. NHS members facilitated the transfer of information and materials from our meetings to the participating classrooms in the elementary, middle, and high school. Then, we put together the final products which were packages consisting of a letter and handmade ornament inside a student-decorated bag. These packages wishing Christmas cheer were then delivered to different nursing homes in Corpus Christi.

This spring, NHS is working on a Soup Bowl project to fundraise for selected charities. This project was proposed by our NHS Teacher Sponsor and Advisor, Mrs. Dana Hawkins. Mrs. Hawkins has been the head of the Port Aransas Chapter of NHS for the past four years, and her support, experience, organization, and implementation skills are invaluable assets. I’m appreciative of her efforts to keep NHS members focused and driven. I’m also grateful to everyone in NHS for their hard work and dedication to getting their jobs done right. Not only do NHS members complete their Marlins in Action hours required for graduation honors, but they are responsible for logging an additional 20 hours of service every year, creating a dedicated and selfless group of remarkable individuals whom I have been proud to work with.

National Honor Society holds a special place in my heart. This program provides a space where students can use their creativity to design projects that give back to the community, and the change I’ve contributed to fills me with pride and fulfillment. This year has been a wonderful experience. I’ve loved collaborating with my peers to create real, service-based change in the community around me, and I know that the work we’ve done and precedents we’ve set will continue to make an impact for years to come.

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