History of the Organization
"In 1921, NASSP officially established the National Honor Society. Though many local and regional honor societies existed prior to 1921, no nationwide organization had been founded. Under the leadership of Dr. Edward Rynearson, principal of the Fifth Avenue High School, Pittsburgh, Pa., the organization grew from the original Alpha Chapter at the Fifth Avenue School to more than 1,000 chapters by 1930. Equipped with a constitution, an emblem and motto, and a group of dedicated principals as coordinators, the new NHS organization quickly developed into one of the country's leading educational groups.
Four main purposes have guided chapters of NHS from the beginning: "To create enthusiasm for scholarship, to stimulate a desire to render service, to promote leadership, and to develop character in the students of secondary schools." (from the NHS Constitution) These purposes also translate into the criteria used for membership selection in each local chapter.
In 1929, the NASSP turned its attention to middle level schools and expanded the scope of its concern for recognizing outstanding students by establishing the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS). With its own constitution and handbook, NJHS has established criteria that parallel the emphases found in the NHS with an added purpose to encourage citizenship. (Additional information on establishing a chapter of the NJHS is available upon request from the NASSP Department of Student Activities.)
Both the NHS and NJHS are sponsored and supervised by NASSP which appoints a National Council - the controlling body of NHS. In addition, National Council members also serve as the selection committee for the prestigious NHS Scholarship which has been administered annually in schools with NHS chapters since 1946."
Students must have a cumulative gradepoint average of 3.5. These students are then eligible for consideration on the basis of service, leadership, and character.
This quality is defined through the voluntary contributions made by a student to the school or community, done without compensation with a positive, courteous, and enthusiastic spirit.
Student leaders are those who are resourceful, good problem solvers, promoters of school activities, idea-contributors, dependable, and persons who exemplify positive attitudes about life. Leadership experiences can be drawn from school or community activities while working with or for others.
The student of good character upholds principles of morality and ethics, is cooperative, demonstrates high standards of honesty and reliability, shows courtesy, concern, and respect for others, and generally maintains a good and clean lifestyle. Students that are written a discipline referral will be automatically removed from the program.