Saturday, October 16, 2010

Honor Society = Sad (Pt.1)

Do you go to ALL of your kids’ events? As I have often written, whether it’s sports, dance, music, etc., your kids want you there, even if they sometimes tell you to stay home!

However, if an unavoidable circumstance occurs (can’t get the time off of work, there is a meeting that can’t be missed or you’ll be in trouble, etc.), your kids will understand, as long as it does not occur every single time!

But, whether you can attend or not, please DO NOT ever do what the parents of “Mary” did while I was her Principal. In fact, just reliving the story for this blog makes me sad for Mary. Here are the details:

At my school, we tried to make the National Junior Honor Society the biggest event of the year. Student inductees wore suits and dresses, seemingly dressed for Easter Sunday, while parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings, etc., showed up to sit in the audience, all equally well dressed!

I actually referred to the kids as the “best of the best”, as they had to have a high grade point average, maintain a good behavioral record, be involved in at least one school activity, get recommended by at least 6 of their 7 teachers, get approval from the teacher-led School Improvement Committee, and get the final nod from me to be eligible for induction.

Every year, we made this the biggest night of the year, as we got a chance to honor the students who had excelled in every phase of school life. I often said that our goal was to be so good, that everybody would get inducted each year. However, that was never the case – only about 10%- 15% of the students made the final grade for induction.

After the final list of inductees was approved, I called the kids down and gave them letters to take home for their parents. I also mailed a copy of the letter to the parents on the same day. The letter was filled with accolades for the kids, as we wanted to ensure that everybody knew that being inducted in to the National Junior Honor Society was a HUGE deal that was offered to only a few!

Although we had tremendous success each year with the induction ceremony, a moment occurred one year that was quite sad. After spending a few days practicing for the ceremony, including working on speeches, lighting the candles, taking the pledge, and learning how to walk on and off stage and properly shake hands with me, we were ready for the big night!

(Please come back next Saturday for the conclusion)

Paul W. Reeves

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