Why do I so enjoy this ceremony each May when we induct the new “batch” of National Honor Society members into our El Camino Academy chapter? Maybe it is because each of the 11th and 12th graders who participate in this ceremony have been able to embody, in their own unique ways, the heart of the ECA vision and the student outcomes that describe what we aim for our students to reflect. Maybe the personal flavor of the teacher introductions of the new members is what is so special or the attentive, proud parents and family members who attend. Or maybe it is the sense of celebration and joy that permeates the solemn, scripted ceremony, with its flowers, candles and speeches…but whatever it is, I know that the NHS induction is one of my favorite ECA events each year!
This year, we inducted 12 students, six from 11th grade and six from 12th grade. The incoming 12th graders joined four current 12th grade NHS members, who were inducted last spring. This was the largest incoming group yet, and what a special group it was. It’s fun to see one 12th grader welcoming his 11th It’s grade brother! These students will wear a different color stole at graduation to indicate their NHS membership, but membership is not just for the end of high school. It’s for a lifetime. These ECA student NHS members are joining 18 current ECA staff members, who were inducted during their high school years in schools all over the USA and even the world. The large number of ECA teachers who are NHS members sends a strong message about our values.
It started back in 2003, when missionary Brooke Diener for the first time affiliated ECA with NHS and planned that very first ceremony, where one student was inducted. We continue to recognize students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership, and character. These characteristics have been associated with membership in the organization since its beginning in 1921. Now, NHS is in all 50 states and in international schools in many countries around the world. ECA is proud to be one of the schools carrying on the tradition that the NHS website explains is “to create enthusiasm for scholarship; to stimulate a desire to render service; to promote leadership; and to develop character in the students of secondary schools.”
Over the years, we have tweaked details with our ceremony, but all 100 ECA NHS members who have been inducted have much in common. To get to the ceremony, students need to have a GPA of at least 3.5, fill out an application, and then be recommended by a faculty committee that studies each case diligently to assure that our ECA NHS members meet the criteria set up by the international board. So, beyond their love of learning and academic capabilities, each NHS member also needs to have a record of using their gifts to lead and serve others, and to have a character that reflects biblical principles.
Though certain students are honored by being inducted in NHS, we know that MANY of our ECA students stand out in these areas. What makes our NHS members unique is that they have consistently shown excellence in all four of these areas over their high school years. We pray that our ECA NHS members will use their gifts and talents for God’s kingdom, long after the warm memories of the induction ceremony have faded. And we also pray that all our students will aspire to be excellent in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service and character!