The National Association of Secondary School Principals founded the National Junior Honor Society in 1929.
Their hope was to form an organization that would recognize and encourage the scholarship of students while helping them to develop ideals important for citizens in a democracy--character, service, citizenship and leadership.
Today, chapters exist in all states of the United States and in schools in more than 75 countries overseas.
It is estimated that more than 200,000 students become members annually.
At O'Rourke Middle School, our first induction was held on October 7, 1987.
Each year, between 75 and 100 eighth graders are inducted into the chapter.
Members are required to perform 3 hours of community service each semester; these 3 hours must be in an Honor Society activity. Below is a sample of the kinds of activities that Honor Society sponsors:
There are a couple of forms that students need to fill out and return in order to be considered for National Junior Honor Society.
The National Council requires the the induction ceremony be "appropriate and impressive." Each chapter may vary the ceremony with local procedures, but scholarship, service, leadership, citizenship, and character must be emphasized.
The induction ceremony for the O'Rourke Chapter is the oldest and most common, the candle lighting service. On stage is one lighted candle representing the Society's torch, the symbol of the light of knowledge. Around it are five unlit candles representing scholarship, service, citizenship, leadership, and character. Officers from the previous year's organization preside at the candle lighting, each explaining a quality of membership and lighting a candle from the light of knowledge. Then, the new members recite the Honor Society Pledge:
"I pledge myself to uphold the high purposes of the National Junior Honor Society to which I have been selected;
I will be true to the principles for which it stands;
I will be loyal to my school and will maintain and encourage High standards of scholarship, service, leadership, citizenship, and character."
Finally, each new member receives a certificate from the principal and signs the chapter register.
The national organization requires that all five criteria--scholarship, character, service, citizenship, and leadership--be considered in the selection process. The requirements for the O'Rourke Chapter of the NJHS are:
Candidates are required to complete 30 hours of service to the school or community after June 1.
Once inducted into the National Junior Honor Society, members are required to perform 3 hours of service each semester; these 3 hours must be volunteered in an Honor Society activity. Members are also required to pay a $5 dues fee. This is the only way we fund our many activities.