The National Honor Society (NHS) is the nation's premier organization established to recognize outstanding high school students. NHS operates under the auspices of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. It was officially established in 1921 and its membership includes over 1,000 chapters. Membership in the National Honor Society is highly coveted and is a well-recognized standard of achievement by colleges and universities throughout the United States.
Springfield joined the National Honor Society in 2001. Previously, Springfield had a local honor society (Sigma Eta Sigma), whose membership was simply based on a student's achieving a GPA of 3.7 or higher by the end of his or her junior year. However, our students found that colleges placed a higher value on membership in the National Honor Society, placing our students at a disadvantage when competing with students from other schools for placement in exclusive programs of study. Accordingly, in an effort to win our talented students more of the recognition that they deserve, our high school successfully applied for membership in NHS.
The National Honor Society has four different criteria a student must meet in order to qualify for acceptance: scholarship, leadership, character, and service. These characteristics have been associated with membership in NHS since its beginning and are why membership in this organization has the prestige that it does. This means that a high GPA is not a guarantee of acceptance. Similarly, a student who is an outstanding leader but has not been at all involved in service to others (or vice versa) will also have great difficulty in joining. It is the hope of the Faculty Selection Committee and the administration that all the student applicants can qualify for acceptance. However, when standards are reduced to avoid conflict, programs and honors lose their value. Accordingly, students who qualify to apply need to understand that they must demonstrate that they are superior in all four categories in order to join the National Honor Society.