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National English Honor Society

                                  NATIONAL ENGLISH HONOR SOCIETY

Purpose: To foster and encourage the study of English literature and language.

About: America's first honor society was founded in 1776, but high school students didn't have access to such organizations for another 150 years. Since then, high school honor societies have been developed in leadership, drama, journalism, French, Spanish, mathematics, the sciences, and in various other fields, but not in English. Until now! As Joyce Carol Oates writes, "This is the time for which we have been waiting." Or perhaps it was Shakespeare: "Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer . . ." The National English Honor Society (NEHS), founded and sponsored by Sigma Tau Delta, is the only national organization exclusively for high school students and faculty who, in the field of English, merit special note for past and current accomplishments. Immediate benefits of affiliation will be national recognition, scholarship eligibility, and opportunities for national networking with others who share enthusiasm for, and accomplishment in, the language arts.

Qualifications: Attendance at HHS for at least one semester prior to being considered, maintain minimum 3.0 GPA—overall and in all English coursework—and enrollment in and completion of at least two English courses prior to membership induction, and completion of an application process.

Yearly Requirements: Regular attendance at enrichment and after school meetings, participation in NEHS quarterly events and at least one community cultural event during the school year, commitment to the Common Reader project, and completion of Hereford’s Summer Reading Initiative—the summer reading this year is Purple Hibiscus.

This year’s NEHS Common Reader: The Common Reader for 2017-2018 will be On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry, published in 2011. The novel’s complexity will challenge NEHS members; it is presented through a creative narrative via the voice of Lilly Bere, who “recounts the events of her life as though mesmerized by the vivid incompleteness of a remembered dream” (The Guardian, 2011). Spanning multiple decades from World War I through the Gulf War, the text leads readers to understand not only Lilly and her family, but history, warfare, family, life, and death. The evocative opening lines provide a glimpse of the power of Barry’s poetic language: “Bill is gone. What is the sound of an eighty-nine-year-old heart breaking? It might not be much more than silence, and certainly a small slight sound” (Barry 3).
The novel will engage NEHS seniors graduating in spring 2018 as the text for the competitive scholarship process. Students interested in vying for the scholarships must read the text and respond to a prompt provided by NEHS; the prompts will be available November 2017. Scholarship essays will be due by noon, CST, on Tuesday, January 17, 2018.