National Honor Society- a special night!


“No person was ever honored for what he (she) received. Honor has been the reward for what he (she) gave.” – Calvin Coolidge

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Last night was the big event that we drove to Philadelphia for. It was the National Honor Society induction ceremony for 21st Century Cyber Charter School. Last year at this time Toby, Gracie and I were driving out here for Gracie to be inducted into NHS. This year her best friend Olivia was being inducted and Grace was invited to be the NHS honorary speaker at the ceremony.

After our day at Hershey we arrived back at the hotel to dress up for this special evening that was being held at the Downingtown Country Club.

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(Toby stayed back with our four kids and Olivia’s two siblings, taking them to dinner and then to the hotel pool to swim for the evening.)

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A sister picture before we left 🙂

 The evening began with an opportunity to mingle and greet teachers (and the other students) before we had to sit down for dinner.

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The girls’ mural club teacher…one of their favorite teachers!

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Gracie’s new special ed teacher and Gracie’s best friend are…TWINS!!

 Dinner was delicious. Grace and I both had the pesto salmon dish with asparagus spears. YUM!

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After dinner the evening progressed through the program:

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The program began with the inductee procession. It was so much fun to see Olivia walk up to the stage.

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After the opening remarks it was Gracie’s turn to speak.

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This is the speech she prepared and delivered:

“As Mr. Dutcher said, I am Grace McCleery. I am in 11th grade and am 18 years old. I have been cyber-schooled ever since 1st grade but have been in 21st century for 3 years now. I am the oldest of five children. My family and I live north of Pittsburgh on a farm where we raise a great array of animals including tons of rabbits, an alpaca, a Guinea Hen, and even a potbelly pig named Harley Davidson. Some of my hobbies include painting, photography, and collecting quotes. One of my favorite quotes is, “She believed she could, so she did.” Since hearing this quote it has since stuck with me. It has become somewhat a life motto for me. I believe this quote applies to everyone.

NHS is a great honor. It is an honor in many ways, but to me it is an honor because it means that you have tried your very best and believed in yourself, which is not always the easiest thing to do.

            I would like to talk about how 21st Century Cyber Charter School helps students gain and develop the attributes of scholarship, character, leadership, and service, the four pillars of National Honors Society.

The first pillar of National Honors Society is scholarship. 21st Century Cyber Charter School encourages good scholarship in many ways. The teachers at this school are always asking if you need help, checking up on you, and encouraging you to do your best. They want you to succeed! They know that you can do anything as long as you put your mind to it. This further helps us as students believe in ourselves and do things we never believed we could before. I used to have a teacher in the school named Mr. Dolan. He has recently moved away. Mr. Dolan was the reason I joined NHS myself! School has never been easy for me. I have dyslexia so learning takes lots of time and effort. I never believed I could ever qualify for NHS because I always believed I wasn’t smart enough. Mr. Dolan told me that I could do anything I put my mind to. He encouraged me and because of him I gained  courage in my own abilities. It was because of this that I have done many things. The teachers in this school encourage us and help us believe in our own abilities.

The second pillar of National Honor Society is character. 21st Century Cyber Charter School helps students gain character. This school encourages students to be themselves. It does this by encouraging creative freedom and personality within students’ work. There is no judgment or criticism for being you. I love this quote by Dr. Seuss, which says, “Be who you are and say what you mean because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” This school encourages us to have great character but also to be our own character.

The third pillar of National Honors Society is leadership. There are many leadership opportunities within this school. Daily we have the chance to help lead within live classes, work sessions, and many other ways. There are many activities like student-led clubs in which students have the chance to be leaders and show leadership qualities. Recently my best friend and I actually started our own student-led club within the school. We started it because we wanted a challenge and we wanted to get to know our classmates better. It turned out to be a great opportunity for leadership. We have learned that being a leader isn’t always the easiest, but it is always rewarding. For NHS we have the opportunity to serve and lead as a result of our required service hours. For my service hours I have been doing a form of tutoring. I have been teaching my 9-year-old brother music at our co-op for 3rd grade music class. I have had to learn how to be a leader and how to teach him so that he understands what I am teaching. This is not always the easiest task. First of all he is a 9 year old and his priorities are not exactly what mine are. Secondly he is a little boy so he would rather be wrestling around or making a mess than learning what crescendo means. Lastly he is ADHD so he has a very short attention span and cannot sit still for more than 5 min. at a time… which is why he is not here this evening! But it is because of me learning how to teach him and lead him that I know I will be well prepared whenever I become a teacher in the future.

The fourth pillar of National Honor Society is service. Although this school has students all over PA they greatly try to incorporate service into the school atmosphere. For example they have had blood drives and other activities to encourage service. As an NHS member I was required to plan, create, organize, and execute a service activity. For each member this “big service project” is different. It is different because we each plan it ourselves. For mine I wanted to incorporate my goal of being a teacher, so I decided to have a storybook day for children in my community. I helped them learn why reading is so important. It was because the school and NHS challenging me that I was able to serve my community and help many children discover the joys of reading.

National Honor Society is an honor now but will continue to be a blessing in our lives past graduation as we move into our future. We will be able to take the four pillars of National Honor Society: Scholarship, Leadership, Character, and Service and apply them to our future lives. 

I would like to conclude with a quote by Roald Dahl. It says, “ Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world.” I believe that the National Honor Society is helping us find that power within ourselves and channel that power, because they know that

We can change the world!”

She did an amazing job, so poised and confident.  I couldn’t be prouder of the lady she had become!

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It was then time to watch Olivia be inducted into NHS and celebrate her accomplishments.

It was a very special evening for both girls!

Congratulations Grace and Olivia!!



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