York’s NHS chapter strives to increase community impact
October 10, 2019
Inducting 278 members of the class of 2020 just last year, National Honors Society is one of the largest clubs at York. Focusing on community involvement, the club has a positive outreach to causes at York and beyond which gives the opportunity to juniors and seniors alike to make a greater impact.
Only after students demonstrate the required GPA, complete a number of service hours, exhibit leadership abilities, and follow through with the application process are they considered for the club. Once inducted, these chosen juniors and seniors are expected to complete a number of NHS specific and non specific hours based on their respective grade level. Specific hours are those approved and promoted by NHS whereas non specific hours can be any type of volunteer work. This year, the club leaders and sponsors have decided to increase the required non specific hours.
“One of our big changes we want to implement is more community service,” NHS sponsor Benjamin Sharko said. “We are increasing the hours for incoming seniors and juniors and current members by just five hours.”
This year, seniors will be required to serve 25 service hours instead of last year’s requirement of 20. Furthermore, juniors will now be expected to log 20 service hours instead of 15. The purpose for this change stems from a desire to bring more good into the community.
“The goal of NHS is to have as large of an impact on the community as we can,” senior and NHS President Nick Pomatto said. “This can be done primarily through service, so we’re trying to increase the service that our student body within the NHS chapter does.”
However, an increase in expected service isn’t the only way the club plans on increasing their influence on the community. This year, the executive board has implemented a new, optional committee system, consisting of three committees: fundraising, internal service, and external service.
“With that committee system we’ve been trying to set up a more organized way to bring people into a devoted level of NHS,” Pomatto said. “I’m chairing the fundraising committee; we will be raising more money so we can do more philanthropic work to the community while also raising money in the NHS budget. This will allow us to focus on internal and external service projects that we’re trying to plan this year.”
The other two committees focus service within and outside of school. The internal service committee will function to directly impact York students or District 205 like working with other clubs like interact or key club or holding something like an all school coat drive. On the other hand, the external service committee reflects an NHS wide service project like Feed My Starving Children. The goal this year is to partake in two or more of these causes to hopefully generate a larger turnout from the club.
“The committee program allows more students to be involved on committees because there’s so many great ideas that our students have,” Sharko said. “Committees allow us to go back to our initial goal which is really to give back to the community.”
The leaders of NHS have been working thoroughly and diligently to make sure they are upstanding the mission and values of NHS. The club is centered on community wellness, so the sponsors and executive board members made it a goal this year to generate more of that.
“This is unprecedented work that the executive board is doing,” senior and NHS Vice President Kol Rollins said. “It takes a lot to implement these new changes, and we really have been on top of everything. We have already had a bunch of productive meetings with our sponsors, Mr. Sharko and Mrs. Weber, during the summer and the beginning of the school year.”
Despite the hard work the NHS executive board has put in, some students are upset by the new policy. In years prior, the transition from junior to senior year in NHS was only an increase of five hours; however, with the changes this year, the class of 2020 will double that number having to earn 10 more hours since junior year.
“As seniors we have a lot of stuff to do for college,” senior and NHS member Aleksina Jovic said. “It’s just overwhelming to think with everything I have going on that I now need to complete 10 extra service hours.”
Whatever added pressure the new requirement of hours may impose on students, seniors still see the benefit and impact the change will leave on the community.
“I understand why they added more hours,” senior and NHS member Maddy McGreal said “It seems really extravagant to us because they upped the hours from the seniors last year. I think it is manageable though.”
The NHS objective has always been to do good. The students involved would not remain members if they were not ambitious to spread positivity throughout the school and the community.
“Mrs. Weber and I talk all the time about how we’re very lucky to work with some incredible students in NHS,” Sharko said. “We feel very honored and privileged since we are apart of the largest volunteer organization in the city. We want to use our power for good.”