By Anna Popnikolova, assistant editor-in-chief
On October 26th, 2021, the newest group of National Honor Society members was sworn into the organization. There were many enthusiastic juniors present at the ceremony, where they followed a vow with existing members and held candles. The club, now a collection of seniors from the previous year and recent junior additions, has been working through its first in-person year since the beginning of the pandemic. Frustratingly, like everything else, the National Honor Society was affected by COVID-19 as much as any other group was affected, within the school community and outside. With remote learning in the 2020-2021 school year, many clubs within the school were forced to go entirely online, putting a damper on productivity, group work, and participation. For the current Honor Society advisor, Ms. Hickson, the pandemic was one struggle among many—but, her situation as club advisor was slightly different from some other advisor’s experiences: “This is my first year, having taken over from Leslie Brannigan, so I don’t have a lot to compare it to. And I started in a COVID year.”
The officers for this year’s Honor Society group are Macy Crowell as President, Sonia Dhar as Vice President, Kevin Johnson as Treasurer, and MaryAnn Vasquez-Cruz as Secretary. Hickson commented that so far, they have been doing, “pretty good, but it has been a challenge to get 100% attendance at meetings because of athletics (away games especially), leaving early for vacations, sickness,” and other reasons. As with all other clubs, attendance can be an issue, and students have commitments that can cause scheduling conflicts.
Since the beginning of the year, the club has already hosted a holiday candy gram and bake sale, which took place in the week before Christmas break. On the event, Hickson remarked that it was, “very successful and the membership really came through as far as taking shifts during the lunches, baking cookies, [and] brownies.”
Students in the group are also involved in peer tutoring. “There are… kids who are tutoring struggling students, and we are going to have a schedule of after-school drop-in hours in the library for extra help sessions,” Hickson explained. The mission of the National Honor Society is to foster leadership and community, and the primary ways that students work as important members of the community is through community service. Hickson added that the next Honor Society meeting will be based around community service opportunities and making sure students are participating in volunteer work.
This year’s president, Macy Crowell, said that “we have a great group this year and are very excited for what is to come. We have held a few small fundraisers and hope to begin our community service project soon.” The community service project in the future of the National Honor Society group members may be an exciting new opportunity and give them a chance to earn community service hours to make the 20-hour graduation requirements while contributing to the community. Some ideas that have been suggested include book drives where students would donate old books and then distribute them to younger kids for free to make sure that the books continue to be loved and the younger students have an opportunity to read books they might not otherwise get to, other drives for the food pantry or other assistance programs like the new Warming Place that would gather and distribute food or clothing, and the classic, trash clean-ups.
Along with forming strong ties with the Nantucket community, members of National Honor Society also form a strong relationship with each other within the club, with each other and their advisor. “Personally, it’s nice to work with students I had last year who I don’t have this year, because it’s a way of staying connected to them, and I miss them,” Hickson stated. She added that her experience meeting new students through the society has been an important part of her brief time as advisor of the group: “There are so many kids I don’t personally know, because I never had them as students, and now when I do see them, they are masked. I feel like I really don’t know them, and I don’t know what they look like without a mask! But I have loved getting to interact with some students who I normally would not.”
Even though there have been some challenges to overcome with the pandemic and advisor turnover, Hickson is confident that the group will do well this year, and most struggles were easy to overcome or at least compromise on. The group is made up of passionate students, who value community and leadership, and who are looking forward to the future of their work with Ms. Hickson as members of National Honor Society.