Community Service, Character, and the NHS


Gabriel Davidson, Editor

An NHS member tutors a student after school.

NHS, or the National Honor Society, which celebrated its 100-year anniversary just two years ago, is active in nearly every American high school, with Sahuaro being no exception. The two pillars of the Honor Society, says sponsor Mr. Rutherford, are scholarship and service. Additionally, Rutherford considers leadership an important aspect of membership. “A third [pillar] might be leadership, but you can lead by example, and the example to set is as a scholar who serves…”

To be in NHS, you need at least a 3.5 GPA and have the qualities of a “good, quality student.” To get your Honor Society tassel, you need to participate in after-school tutoring, as well as 15 hours of community service, including an essay on how community service affected you, as well as helping run the school blood drive. As Rutherford put it, “Honor cultures, and what is honorable is doing what you know to be right.” Fostering civic virtue is key to the NHS, though that goal seems to have become muddied by those joining for the wrong reasons.

“The issue I’ve had with NHS in the past is people sign up exclusively as a résumé booster, [that] cannot be the main reason… If the only reason you sign up is to make yourself look good, I think that’s a problem.” But, Covid took its toll on the NHS. It was hard to manage a club focused on external activities, our best example being found in sports programs and their struggle during the pandemic. So, as part of rebuilding the honor society, Rutherford has struggled with gaining members no matter what, hoping that through the journey those who’ve joined for self-serving reasons will find a new appreciation of service.

Additionally, there are plans in place for the club to begin hosting more regular meetings, as this aspect, too, suffered during the pandemic. “The last time we scheduled a meeting, I had, like, six students come to me beforehand to say they couldn’t be there.” NHS desperately needs more members in order to really get together on an organizational basis. Honor students are already busy as it is, they often have other extracurriculars to take care of in addition to schoolwork, which makes getting together hard. Rutherford acknowledges this, so club meetings are a secondary priority, whereas taking care of your responsibilities, making time for others (in the form of community service and tutoring), and maintaining your GPA come first.

Those interested in membership should meet with Rutherford. The NHS Remind link is @3aaa769.