The evening of November 22 was a memorable one, as 50 seventh and eighth grade Forrestdale School students made history by becoming the first inductees into the Forrestdale School Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society.
The students went through a rigorous application process last spring, which included securing two teacher endorsements and an essay. All components were reviewed by the faculty council, comprised of ELA teacher Mrs. Kristen Downs, ELA teacher Ms. Jennifer Stahl, math teacher Mrs. Suzanne Mauri, and school psychologist Mr. Spencer Austin. They assessed the students in the areas that are identified as the pillars for the National Junior Honor Society. They are Scholarship, Service, Leadership, Character, and Citizenship.
At the induction ceremony, the faculty council spoke about the five pillars and lit a candle for each one, signifying the new light that will be shining on Forrestdale. The students were encouraged to be role models and to make the most out of their membership by leading, being responsible, and promoting and supporting service in the Forrestdale School and the community. Students were reminded to be true to their own values and ideals and to feel proud of their accomplishments.
The inductees were treated to an inspirational lecture from guest speaker Mr. Philip Kuntz, who is a journalist and TED Talk presenter. He talked about the connections between the five qualities the National Junior Honor Society members possess and historical figures, citing the service of former presidents John F. Kennedy and George H. Bush. He also shared the story of Nicolaus Copernicus, astronomer and mathematician, who ultimately discovered that the earth revolves around the sun and not the reverse. He concluded by telling the students what he considers his greatest accomplishment as a young journalist: his fight for the rights of ice cream truck drivers to sell their product in restricted areas of Florida.
Chapter advisor Mrs. Maureen Gordon said, “It is an honor to work with such dedicated, motivated students. I am looking forward to facilitating community service and school activities with our new inductees.”