Honor Society Update: Summer 2021

The National Honor Society (NHS) is committed to helping students achieve their postsecondary education goals. Since 1946, more than $19 million in scholarships has been awarded to outstanding NHS senior members. The scholarship program is supported by the parent organization of NHS, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

This year, we’re honored to recognize Sheyla Street from Central High School in Philadelphia as the National Winner of the $25,000 NHS Scholarship. She was chosen from nearly 10,000 applicants. Street succeeded in bringing attention to the inequities Black students are faced with in her learning environment. Working with and listening to other Black students at her school, they together created a list calling on changes to help foster an affirming culture where all students prosper—an endeavor that got thousands of “likes” on Instagram and garnered attention from the press.

Street convinced the School District of Philadelphia to provide Central High School with the necessary funds to hire a full-time director of equity and inclusion. After having several meetings with the school district superintendent staff and explaining how this position would help to dismantle racist practices in her school, the district decided to not only fully fund this position but also to hire a director of equity and inclusion in all schools across the district.

Street helped plan and organize a schoolwide anti-racism symposium, with the goal of defining the roles of students and teachers in creating more fair and equitable conditions for Black students. The structure of the symposium was to present the topics in a way that allowed the entire school population to understand and relate. The opening panel featured student poetry followed by a series of student-led and teacher-led workshops. Over 300 students and teachers participated. Street is now working to officiate and implement a Black Student Council at her school. She also founded the Philly Black Students Alliance, made up of Black students, teachers, and alumni across the district all united to demand anti-racist schools and student representation on their school board. She has been featured on “CBS Philly” and “WHYY-FM” and in The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Notebook (now Chalkbeat Philadelphia), an independent journalistic enterprise covering educational issues in Philadelphia.

NHS awarded $2 million in scholarships to 600 high school seniors this year based on their demonstrated work to support the four pillars of NHS membership: scholarship, service, leadership, and character. Learn more about this year’s winners at www.nhs.us/scholarship. —

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