EDITORIAL: What it really takes to get into National Honor Society

by Taylor Burns

The small difference between what it takes to get into National Honor Society (NHS) versus what it takes to get recognized as Student of the Month (SOTM) has perplexed me.

NHS requires students to be in the sophomore, junior or senior class and to have been enrolled in at least one semester at PCM High School. They also must have a minimum GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale. And the requirement that really differs from each student is their community service, leadership and character.

The NHS members are selected by a council of five facility members who are appointed by guidance counselor and chapter advisor Brittni Horstman and approved by high school principal Scott Bridges. They try to rotate the voting council each year, but the council stays anonymous. 

Now the requirements are a little different, but if you have the requirements for NHS, you’re more than likely going to have the requirements for SOTM, but not vice versa.

The requirements for SOTM are based on students in the classroom, but only offered to seniors. They don’t have to have a certain GPA, but they have to have good character and how they act in the classroom. They cannot cause problems.

At the beginning of the school year, Bridges asks if any teachers want to serve on the SOTM committee. Normally, 5-8 people volunteer, and again, they are anonymous. Kiwanis honors the SOTM by putting on a breakfast for the students.

It was brought to the attention of the staff that a student was honored as SOTM this year, but applied all three years to NHS and never got in. Wouldn’t she think if she qualified for SOTM, she also would for NHS based on the requirements you now know? She has a 3.8 GPA and has participated in volleyball, basketball, softball, the fall play and youth groups around the area.

“I respect the process and those who determine the applicants of NHS and people chosen for Student of the Month. I’m sure it is a difficult decision when there are numerous candidates, however at times there is doubt and skepticism. In my years at PCM, I feel like there are many students that are more than qualified to be a member of NHS and were never chosen, but received Student of the Month and other honors,” a student at PCM said.

If a student has all of the requirements for NHS, but doesn’t get in, and is later selected for SOTM, it should be asked if the committee choosing for NHS knew the student at all. And, if there had been a different committee choosing candidates that year, would the student have gotten in?

“It is possible that those making the decisions know some, but not at all, students on a more personal level to recommend them for these honors. I don’t know all the rules behind selecting the candidates, but at this point, that is how I feel,” the student said.

To the administration: Something needs to be changed about the selection process for both honors. Students should not feel that it is a biased selection process, and everyone who has the requirements of both NHS and SOTM should be honored. It should not be just the students with teachers who favor them. Teachers should try to remove their bias regarding their favorite students
While I am graduating soon, I seriously hope there is change that comes.