October 09, 2013 - They don't just study hard and earn good grades. They serve, lead and inspire those around them.
Oxford High School's Freda Quayle Chapter of the National Honor Society inducted 46 new members Oct. 3. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
That's what sets them apart from their fellow students. That's why they were chosen.
Forty-six exceptional Oxford High School students were inducted Oct. 3 into the Freda Quayle Chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS).
"You are an amazing group of individuals," said OHS Principal Todd Dunckley, the induction ceremony's guest speaker.
"You are here to serve because you chose to be part of what I consider to be – across the world and not just the United States – the greatest embodiment of service in education for students."
NHS members must epitomize the organization's four core beliefs – scholarship, service, leadership and character. They must also have a grade point average of at least 3.5 and be either a junior or senior.
NHS Adviser Josh Budden, who teaches language arts at OHS and has been with the district since 2003, noted the induction ceremony may be the only time these students are formally recognized for their contributions to the community.
"We are, after all, a selfless organization," he said, noting NHS members serve others, dedicate themselves to their studies and exhibit honesty because "this is the right thing to do, not because (they're) seeking recognition."
"That's what NHS, but especially the Freda Quayle Chapter of the National Honor Society, is all about," Budden continued. "And it's what it has been all about ever since our founding.
He then gave a short history lesson.
Even though NHS was founded in 1921, Budden said a chapter wasn't organized in Oxford until April 1962.
When the local chapter was established, it had only 15 members. It was named after Freda Quayle, who was the high school's dean of girls at the time.
"She's the one who got this chapter started," Budden said. "So, you guys are part of a long tradition."
NHS President Mackenzie Crosson listed the Freda Quayle chapter's numerous contributions to the community. They include collecting blood for the American Red Cross, food for Oxford-Orion FISH and funds for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.
"Even with all of these accomplishments, arguably, the greatest way we give back to the Oxford community is through tutoring," noted Crosson, a senior.
NHS members share "their knowledge, skills and talents" by tutoring elementary, middle school and high school students in a variety of subjects. "This has been and will continue to remain one of top priorities of our chapter," Crosson said.
Dunckley noted NHS is modelled on the 19th century French phrase, "Noblesse oblige," which means nobility obliges.
That means those of high birth or powerful social position have a moral obligation to act with honor, kindliness and generosity.
That's not to say NHS students are some type of nobility, but they do possess certain qualities and abilities that are prized and admired in society.
"If you have the gifts that you have and you were born with those gifts, basically, it's shameful to not use them for the good of others," Dunckley said. "Everybody knows it's what you do for others that's going to make you a happy woman or man. We all know it, but it's not easy to do."
The fact that NHS members actively choose to use their gifts to help and serve those around them is the difference between them and their peers, Dunckley said.
Oxford's 2013 NHS inductees
Sean Vincent Gilmore
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.