The following project descriptions first appeared in Honor Society News (HSN), the monthly electronic newsletter for all NHS and NJHS advisers and their principals. The majority of these projects originate with stories from the media (newspaper, radio, TV) which are collected daily by the staff of the national office. We have organized all of the ideas from 2008-2009 into one document to facilitate their use by chapters at the local level. Be sure to tune in to HSN again this year for more stories and ideas.
This month’s collection revolves around Veterans Day activities and projects done in support of the nation’s active military.
- Chipley High School NHS and Roulhac Middle School in Florida hosted a breakfast and tribute to Veterans in their community.
- Loving High School’s (NM) NHS organized a parade of veterans and a program of readings and songs performed by the local elementary school. Included was recognition of the man responsible for establishing this annual program at the school.
- Hilldale High School (OK) NHS members visited the local VA Medical Center and passed out gifts, cards, and toiletries. The chapter was assisted by local Girl Scouts and the Muskogee High School student council. Ceremonies were held later in the day to honor veterans at the local National Cemetery.
- NHS at Columbia Falls High School (MT) presented an assembly that included a color guard from the local Army Reserve, the school band playing the national anthem, and elementary children reading essays honoring the local veterans.
- Camden Hills Regional High School (ME) provided a breakfast and ceremony honoring members of the Camden area community who have served their country in the military. This was the 4th year for this function, originally suggested by the principal. Students served the veterans on the holiday when their peers were having a day off. Veterans from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam were present for the event held at the school.
- In two related projects, the NHS chapter at James Buchanan HS (PA) has recently requested from the community the names of school alumni who have served or are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The chapter wants to send care packages to those alumni who are active duty overseas. Middletown (OH) High School students have been creating cards and postcards to mail to troops overseas. They plan to send at least 200 cards to active duty troops.
- NHS members from Fairland HS in Proctorville, OH spend a good part of a weekend helping package up Christmas food boxes at their local community center. Nearly 600 boxes were packed for distribution to the needy.
- NJHS members at Mirror Lake Middle School in Anchorage, AK visited a local shelter and soup kitchen then spent the day handing out socks, snacks and soup to needy members of their community.
- Newark, Ohio’s Salvation Army had helpers from Newark High School’s NHS chapter as the students helped folks pick out toys, clothes, and food for Christmas. More than 40 students participated.
- NJHS students from Boonsboro Middle School (MD) raised more than $1300 for the Marine Corp League’s Toys for Tots program. Donations were solicited over a 4-day period.
- Mid-East Career and Technology Center in Zanesville, OH hosted a Saturday with Santa as a fundraising event for their NHS chapter. The event brought families in to meet Santa, make Christmas cards, and do arts and crafts for the day. Breakfast was also served. Chapters from Maysville HS and Philo HS also participated.
- After finding out that one of their peers was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, the NJHS members at Smithfield Middle School (TX) created a project to sell candy canes to raise money for research and awareness through the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Their motto, “Buy a candy cane so you won’t need a real one.”
- Monroe County, Michigan featured dozens of school projects in their holiday press release in late December. Among the highlights were the NHS chapter at St. Mary Catholic Central HS teaming up with the Salvation Army to adopt local families for the holiday season; NJHS at Wagar Middle School selling turkey feathers, each named for a favorite teacher, raising $1,300 and providing 11 complete holiday meals along with collecting 3,000 cans of food as well as used cell phones which were sold to purchase phone cards for members of the military; and the NJHS at Bedford Junior HS which made holiday gifts, sang carols and spent time visiting senior citizens at a local assisted living center. Hats off to MonroeNews.com for dedicating so much space to the great projects by young people in their community.
- NHS members at Fort Dodge Senior HS (IA) spent time bagging rice, food, and supplies in support of the Kids Against Hunger Warehouse dedicated to shipping supplies to hungry families in Third World countries.
- Loveland HS (CO) NHS students collected toys to share with the Loveland Policy Department for their project, “Santa Cops of Larimer County.”
- Finally, NHS students at Southmoreland HS (PA) competed against their own student council and the Mt. Pleasant HS National Art Honor Society to see who could create the nicest decorated Christmas tree in their “Battle of the Tannenbaums.” Visitors cast votes with $1 donations with the funds raised going to a local museum.
So, while another holiday season may have come and gone, we congratulate all of these chapters for helping to spread a little holiday cheer through service in 2008.
- Grayslake Central High School (IL) sponsored a student film festival in January. This was their first event of its kind and featured films ranging from comedy to horror. The chapter used the even to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation by charging $4 admission, accepting donations, and conducting a Penny War. Total raised: $1,500.
- The NJHS chapter at Parker Middle School (MA) joined hands with the Greater Attleboro/Taunton United Way office to collect and pack 33 boxes to distribute to the homeless in their community. The care packages were filled with food, personal hygiene products, and other necessities. The entire school pitched in to respond to the homeless.
- The New Life Center in Opelousas, Louisiana needed sponsors to furnish the new rooms on the fourth floor of this important center for homeless women and their children. The NHS chapter at Westminster Christian Academy (LA) set a goal of raising the $750 needed. The chapter sponsored a car wash and a road block to solicit donations and raised a total of $940 for the center. Along with the funds, the chapter delivered a variety of donated supplies to help with the work of the center.
- Jarvis Green plays for the New England Patriots and lives not far from Foxboro High School (MA). Mr. Green comes from Donaldsonville, LA, and when he read in the paper that the NHS chapter at FHS was planning to spend time this month helping victims of Hurricane Katrina, his foundation hosted a fundraiser to raise the $10,000 needed to send the chapter to his hometown for the project.
- Chapter members at South Seneca HS (NY) are hosting a family-friendly mid-winter music festival on February 7 entitled “Woofstock.” The event is scheduled to take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. – a mini-music-marathon. Money raised by the $5 admission or donation of supplies will go to benefit the Tompkins County SPCA.
- Rolla HS (MO) NHS sponsored a dance-a-thon from 6:30 p.m. to midnight in January to raise money for a local needy family. This is the eighth year of the event which is supported by donations from the community. Student leaders of the chapter organized the project and selected the recipient of the funds raised by the project.
- NJHS members at Steamboat Springs Middle School (CO) recently visited a local bookstore to learn about the book, “Three Cups of Tea” the story by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver telling the story of Mortenson’s trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The chapter decided to participate in “Pennies for Peace” by conducting penny drives to donate to the authors in their effort to build schools in this troubled part of the world.
- Budget cuts are in the news regularly and schools are not immune from their effects. Laura Whitcomb, an NHS member at Quaboag Regional HS (MA) created a project as part of her NHS obligations raising money to buy much-needed supplies for the high school and middle school teachers in her community. She collaborated with the school’s student council, raised the money, and provided at least two items for the teachers at the beginning of this past school year. The school personnel were very grateful.
**No doubt the students involved in these projects deserve special recognition for their accomplishments. But we all know that these activities would not have taken place were it not for the leadership and guidance provided by the chapter adviser. Your important work which provides direction to these outstanding young people does not go unnoticed – thank you for all that you are doing to make a difference at your school.
**To put together some good PR with your local media and to facilitate greater networking among chapters, visit www.nhs.us/prtips for assistance in building a good public relations program for your chapter. Use the Idea Submission Form found at www.nhs.us/ideas to send project descriptions directly to the staff at the national office.
- When a successful cookie dough fundraiser, the NHS chapter at Whitman-Hanson Regional HS in Whitman, MA, purchased some of the leftover dough and baked cookies. This wasn’t done for chapter refreshments, but to box up and send to troops in Afghanistan and Iraq who came from their community. With the help of a local mother’s organization, the chapter baked, cooled, and wrapped several dozen cookies to send.
- The chapter members at Neosho (MO) HS have learned the motivational aspect of goal setting. Since 1995, the chapter has sponsored three bloodmobiles a year. For the last several years, each bloodmobile was planned with a goal of collecting more pints of blood than the previous activity. By setting these goals, the chapter’s collections have risen from 100 pints per session to more than 200 pints at their last event.
- The NHS and student council of Lewis HS in Weston, WV collaborated last month to sponsor their “Mr. Valentino 2009” male beauty pageant. The guys competed in casual wear, formal wear, sports, and talent show along with an award for “Mr. Photogenic.” Admissions and collection cans for the Mr. Photogenic competition raised monies as supervised by NHS. The student council sponsored a spaghetti lunch just prior to the pageant. Funds from the event will benefit a local scholarship fund and a needy family of an LCHS student.
- NJHS members at McLaughlin Middle School and Fine Arts Academy in Lake Wales, FL supported the Alzheimer’s Association of Florida Gulf Coast Chapter by participating in the annual “Walk for Love” on Valentine’s Day this year. Chapter members walked from 8:45 to 11 a.m. having collected donations from the community in support of their effort.
- Maine-Endwell HS in Binghamton, NY involved their chapter recently in support of the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital’s Rally Against Childhood Cancer campaign. The students spent several hours addressing and adding personal messages to pre-written letters in support of the campaign. They mailed more than 900 letters to family members and friends asking for monetary support for St. Jude’s. The letters and postage were provided by the campaign. The chapter succeeded at raising more than $6,275 for the charity.
- In Carmel, Indiana, chapter members recently took calls over three nights at the local education foundation’s fundraising event hosted by the Carmel High School’s TV station. For three hours, NHS members responded to callers who were pledging funds to support academic programs throughout the school district including the After School All Stars tutoring program.
- Baker High School in Baldwinsville, NY has raised more than $30,000 over the last ten years by sponsoring a White Ribbon Campaign to raise awareness about domestic and sexual violence. The campaign supports Vera House, a local shelter. This year the chapter secured donations by asking individuals for forgo haircuts, manicures, and other services from November through February and instead pledging money that would have been spent on these services to the campaign. The core message of the chapter’s campaign is that ending violence is a community-wide effort.
- Chapter members from Reeds Springs High School (MO) helped serve lunch to more than 200 individuals for their annual “Golden Friends” luncheon for area senior citizens. Local businesses contributed food, water bottles, and goodies for the guests, while the food services staff prepared the food which was served by the NHS students. Local Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts led the flag ceremony and pledge of allegiance and students from all grade levels provided entertainment throughout the activity.
- In a similar project, NHS members from Churchill HS in Eugene, OR sponsored their first senior citizens prom this year. They included the school’s jazz band and singing groups to provide the music for the event. The event was held at Churchill Estates, a local retirement center for area residents.
- Students at Culpeper County HS (VA) who scored perfect scores on their Virginia Standards of Learning tests earlier this year were treated to a breakfast by the NHS chapter of the school. In addition, the principal offered congratulatory remarks to the outstanding test takers and awarded them certificates noting their accomplishments. (See Project Ideas below for additional ideas to support state testing at school.)
- Last fall, the NHS chapter at Clinton (IA) High School organized a week dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness research to help find a cure for breast cancer. The chapter sold more than 200 pink T-shirts which were worn on Friday of the week. On Wednesday, a kickball tournament was held in the gym called “Kickin’ It To Cancer.” A check for $2,000 was presented this spring to a representative of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization.
- NHS at Kenwood High School in Clarksville, TN spend nearly five months baking and selling cookies, brownies, and cupcakes after school to raise $500 in support of a dance marathon for the Children’s Miracle Network and Vanderbilt University’s Children’s Hospital. The marathon was sponsored by the Sigma Chi fraternity at Austin Peay State University also in Clarksville.
- There are six chapters of NHS in the high schools of the Rowan-Salisbury school system in Rowan County, North Carolina. This year, all six chapters collaborated to see who could sell the most pin-ups to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The pin-ups cost $1 each and were displayed in the schools. The pin-ups were strips of paper which when linked together, spread the message, “We are One Link Closer to a Cure!” Last year the teams raised more than $23,000 for the foundation. A luncheon is also being sponsored to honor those NHS members who sold the most links this year.
- Memorial Middle School in Tampa, FL is a large urban Title I school with nearly 80% of their student population on free and reduced meals. Despite these conditions, the NJHS chapter, with help from parents and faculty, participated in a 5K Walk for a Cure sponsored by the American Cancer Society. Chapter members sacrificed a Saturday to participate and raised more than $500 with the project. Congratulations!
- Howland (OH) High School chapter members grabbed paint brushes to help clean up a local part in April. The park had been victimized by vandals. About 20 chapter members decided it was a good idea to give back to their community with this project.
- NHS and NJHS chapters in Clark County, NV held their first online conferences in March and April using some new technology developed by the school system. The conference featured advisers learning about the site and its tools, gave them access to sound and text resources for the online meeting and included input from staff at the national office in VA.
- NHS chapter advisers at Todd County High School, in Mission, SD on Native American reservation lands, noted that Native Americans have lower-than-average cancer survival rates, and that awareness and funding for research should be a part of their chapter activities. From this awareness came “Rockin’ on the Rez”, a mini-relay for children to promote the greater Todd County Relay for Life. The program for the mini-relay included a prayer, a salute to the flag, and an exhibition by a Native American youth drum group and raised more than $2,000.
- Perry Hall (MD) Middle School’s NJHS chapter collected more than 1,000 used books and magazines last March. The books were donated to the local hospital. Children’s books were used with children admitted to the hospital. Adult literature was shared with the hospital’s Women’s and Children’s Homeless Shelter in support of their reading programs.
- NHS members at Rome (GA) High School provide service throughout the year. One of their projects involves “adopting” a local nursing home. Members visit the first Tuesday of the month, bringing goodies and leading crafts, games or other events with the residents. Bingo nights are some of the most popular. About 30 of the 100 members of the chapter attend each month and the entire chapter works to raise funds and supplies for the project.
- The NHS chapter at Marianas High School (Saipan) has sponsored for the last 14 years in a row a local Academic Bee Challenge for local elementary students, grades 4 through 6. The event features a 3-hour competition with 41 questions covering various subjects like English, math, science, and social studies. The goal of the competition is to promote learning among the younger students by encouraging them to study together as teams for the competition.
- A 20-year veteran teacher, now retired, thought she was attending the NHS induction ceremony at Stamford Central (NY) School in April to honor her great-grandson for his selection to the chapter. As it turns out, the chapter brought her in to bestow honorary membership upon Mrs. Zada Lutz for her years as a teacher, prom adviser, and volunteer work in the community since retirement.
- After receiving a call that there was a grave need for food at the local food pantry, NHS members at Marian Central Catholic High School in Woodstock, IL pulled off a 4-day food drive to help. Under the leadership of the chapter members, more than 1,000 canned food items were brought in to help respond to the problem in their community.
- Prom season comes every year, and every year many female students wonder how they can afford those expensive prom dresses. Two NHS members at Pike Township (IN) High School responded to this dilemma by hosting a Pike Prom Closet. Students and community members were asked to donate their used prom dresses from previous years. The dresses were then sold at reduced prices following notices sent throughout the school district notifying educators about the project. The closet was open twice a week in April and during the parent open house at the school. Money raised from the sale of the dresses was donated to a local shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence.
- The NHS chapter from Greenfield (MA) High School helped promote good citizenship in April by conducting the first debate in the local mayoral elections. The chapter hosted the debate which was focused on education.