It takes a special energy and a high degree of commitment to be an Honor Society adviser. The fact that all this work comes in addition to one's regular teaching responsibilities is even more impressive. Because such educators deserve special recognition, the Rynearson Award was created.
History and Background
In 1921, Edward Rynearson successfully spearheaded the drive among members of the newly-created National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) to establish the National Honor Society. The school where he served as principal, the Fifth Avenue School in Pittsburgh, PA, became the "Alpha" chapter of NHS—the first chapter to be established. Through his efforts, news of the organization and its successes spread throughout the new principals' association and across the nation.
Each year we honor the memory of Edward Rynearson and the important work he began, by presenting the Rynearson Award - recognizing the National Adviser of the Year for NHS and NJHS.
Nominees for this award come from chapters throughout the nation. The National Council of NHS and NJHS reviews all nominations and selects the national winner.
2011 Rynearson Competition
The deadline for submitting nominations for the 2012 Rynearson Award for the NHS or NJHS National Adviser of the Year is February 15.
Any NHS or NJHS adviser with at least three year’s experience can be nominated. Selection is made by the NHS and NJHS National Council at their spring meeting. Candidates who have demonstrated professional commitment to their chapter and the purposes of the Honor Society as evidenced by successful chapter functions at the local level are ideal nominees for this national recognition. The winner of the award will be announced in May 2012.
Download this year’s application. Advisers or principals with questions regarding the competition should email David Cordts, Associate Director of Honor Societies, firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Winner, 2008: Laura Mullen
For the past eleven years, Mrs. Mullen has served as the NJHS adviser at Schimelpfenig Middle School. Her main responsibilities at the school include teaching and serving as the head of the English Department and 8th grade team leader.
As chapter adviser, Laura has led her NJHS students through a wide variety of projects. Members have partnered with local kindergarten classes to teach early reading skills. They set up a campus-wide recycling project for paper for which they won a community environmental award. They participate in Keep Plano Beautiful by cleaning up parks and the school grounds.
For this ongoing work, the chapter and its sponsor were recognized by USA Freedom Corps with a President's Volunteer Service Award for averaging more than 8,000 hours of service annually. They also received a Difference Maker Award from NASSP in 2005 noting their outstanding service activities.
Mrs. Mullen has been recognized as teacher of the year, published poetry, led the school's Mock Trial team to county championships, contributed to articles in Leadership for Student Activities magazine, and attended many state and national conferences for NJHS and her work as a middle level English teacher.
When asked about the value of NJHS and her work as an Honor Society Adviser, Laura responded creatively noting: "In NJHS, the willing volunteer, the energetic young leader, and the studious intellectual find recognition and purpose. In this world, centered on self, an organization that promotes service provides meaning for many students. It isn't enough to be the best if you do not help others. Shirley Chisholm once said that 'Service is the rent that you pay for room on this earth.' NJHS helps students pay that rent."
A former chapter officer, Adam Melson, provided in his recommendation words that describe the strength and wisdom of this talented adviser: "Mrs. Mullen is an exceptional NJHS sponsor who has guided and inspired members to lead their peers, contribute to their community, help aid members of the community, and succeed in our schoolwork. What she has taught us will last in our minds and inspire us even as we are adults."
For her dedication, commitment, trust, and leadership, NASSP, NHS, and NJHS are proud to recognize Laura Mullen as the 2008 winner of the Rynearson Award.
Previous winners of the Rynearson Adviser of the Year Award are:
2000 Marie Abele, Minnesota
2001 Cynthia Hudspith, Minnesota
2002 Robert Krom, Connecticut
2004 Carolyn Massey, Alabama
2005 Barbara Baltrinic, Ohio
2006 Daniel Hoefler, Illinois
2007 Dr. Glenn Pinnau, Illinois