Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Society Solutions

Posted 04/10/2023 by Maria Goergen

Students at Thomas Jefferson created valentines cards for a nearby retirement home. photo by Dana Starbuck

The National Honors Society has participated in several events and has new plans for the club.

The community organization National Honor Society (NHS) allows high school students to lead a life of service and leadership in their communities. The French motto of the club is “Noblesse Oblige,” meaning “high ranks have a duty of honorable, generous, and responsible behavior, and service to others.”

Thomas Jefferson High School’s NHS program has led several community service activities this year. The students involved in NHS have volunteered at Trick-or-Treat Street, made Valentine’s Day cards for an assisted living community, and made dog toys for the Denver Dumb Friends League’s “Furry Scurry.” This club is a valuable way for students to challenge themselves and be more involved in the areas they live. According to the club sponsor, math teacher Dana Starbuck, “[NHS] gives students an opportunity to work in a community service capacity to see what kinds of opportunities there are out there to point them in a career direction.”

The TJ NHS chapter prepares students to become “active in their community and ready for their college essays and scholarships,” said Starbuck. Junior Achievement was a formal leadership program the TJ NHS worked with before COVID-19. Junior Achievement is a nonprofit specializing in preparing high school students for leadership in their communities, facilitating leadership activities, and scholarship options. When students came to Junior Achievement, they learned the basics of business, entrepreneurship, selling, and profit. The program has many volunteering opportunities, and TJ hopes to resume work with them.

The NHS club has lots of potential for more community service projects and entrepreneurship opportunities. According to the NHS website, the four Pillars of Membership include “scholarship, service, leadership, and character.” These mean holding oneself academically responsible, participating in community service activities, and building community through leadership and kindness. In addition, Starbuck said, “organizing community service events, projects, and fundraising” prepares students for entrepreneurship roles. The society teaches business through fundraisers and leadership. Students can learn how to make a profit and network with people during events and in their communities. Also, through service, students can develop businesses from their passions. For example, if a student doesn’t get enough time outside and notices their neighbors are busy, they could start a dog walking business. 

Towards the end of their senior year, students who have shown involvement with the club pay a fee for National Honor Society club membership and are rewarded with a cord and a sense of pride for making the world a better place. TJ seniors are given their club awards during the Senior Celebration in May. In addition, active members can earn up to $25,000 in scholarships. Additionally, students can earn scholarships not directly affiliated with NHS through the community service and leadership skills they have developed. For example, the Greenhouse Sachs scholarship offers a $50,000 scholarship to students over four years of college. Student qualifications include active leadership in their communities and demonstrating financial need. 

Starbuck is looking to expand opportunities for the club, and student leadership is being sought after at TJ to organize these opportunities and accomplish new feats. Events such as the Leadership, Experience, and Development (LEAD) Conference give students local networking and leadership-building opportunities. Additionally, the organization State Summits mentors NHS members, allowing them to discuss ideas, develop leadership skills, and collaborate with each other and their communities. In addition, a Red Cross event is in the works for students to donate blood and learn basic first-aid techniques. In this way, NHS students can serve in the healthcare field and discover if it is the right fit for them.

TJ has a lot of potential to put more service projects and leadership activities back into place with programs such as Junior Achievement and State Summits. As a whole, students create purposeful futures for themselves through the NHS because the program brings students into the hearts of their communities through leadership, entrepreneurship, and academic achievement.