High achieving students give back to communities

  President Gerald Ford, cartoonist Jim Davis and Nobel Prize Physicist Dr. Arno Penzias all have one thing in common: they are alumni of the National Honor Society. At Diamond Bar High School, students who join NHS seek to find new opportunities that can be capitalized upon and promote the organization’s four pillars of leadership, scholarship, character and service.

NHS is an organization that is found all over the United States and other territories that recognizes student achievement and involvement. It allows members to develop through volunteering and contributing to their communities.

The DBHS chapter of NHS is a service club that was created by a group of students who wanted to promote such community service and it has been around for quite a while. Senior Courtney Chan, the current president of NHS, said she was inspired to join the club to engage with the people around her. 

“I’ve always viewed volunteering as something that is not only a way to be kind and give back but also just another means to have fun and meet new people,” Chan said.

As a nationally recognized organization, NHS is also found in other schools as a school-wide program that carefully selects its members. For most, if not all schools, NHS requires members to have  a 3.5 GPA or higher to join, and members must volunteer for at least 15 hours a year. 

“National Honor Society is unique in that we encourage students to become active members in their communities while also pursuing academic excellence,” Chan said. “Though it’s true NHS has a minimum 15 hour requirement per year, many volunteers surpass that, completing 20, 30, even 40 hours in one year.”

If members have accumulated 60 hours by senior year, they receive a sash for graduation. To achieve volunteer hours, students apply for events ranging from sorting books for monthly book sales at local organizations like Basically Books, to setting up floats at the Rose Parade.

“We do a variety of activities like volunteering at bookstores, volunteering at animal shelters, [and] volunteering at a farm,” junior Claire Wang, publicist for NHS, said.

Wang also mentioned that due to the flexibility of the arrangements, students are not forced to change their schedules to volunteer. 

“It’s as time consuming as you want it to be,” Wang said. “As long as you meet the minimum of 15 hours, you’re not forced to go to any event.”

Currently, NHS has about 300 members, from freshmen to seniors, and they meet monthly to discuss upcoming events.

“Officers are always open to questions from individuals and are happy to help,” junior Albert Guo, NHS president-elect, said via text message.

Guo initially joined the club to access more volunteer opportunities and to spend time with friends who were also a part of the club. He added that NHS provides good material for college applications and encourages academic achievement. 

“It is a great way to be involved in the community, and it is an academic achievement with different volunteering events so you never get stuck doing the same thing,” Guo said.

Chan and Wang also said they believe that the benefits to joining NHS extend beyond just volunteering and would recommend the club to others.

“I feel it really fosters a sense of responsibility, leadership and kindness in people,” Chan said. “I’ve also made many friends through the NHS that I would never have gotten the opportunity to even meet without the club.”