Ninety-five Vineland High School students achieved the highest honor bestowed on an American high school scholar – acceptance into the National Honor Society – on Wednesday.
The ceremony was held in the auditorium of VHS South, before an audience of parents, family members and friends.
On stage and lit only by the candles they held, the new NHS members took the oath of office, administered by Kim Rivera, VHS Assistant Principal.
To qualify for National Honor Society, students must have an 86 average or higher in all subjects and show outstanding participation in extra-curricular activities, according to Suzette DeMarchi, VHS principal. Nominees must also demonstrate leadership ability, have an outstanding record of community service and an excellent attendance record. Leadership is based on the student's participation in two or more community or school activities, or election to an office, she said. To meet the service requirement, the student must have been active in three or more service projects in the school and community. Character is measured in terms of integrity, behavior, ethics and cooperation with both students and faculty. Citizenship is assessed by the student's participation in civic-related organizations and/or activities. A student may, therefore, have a very high academic average and still fail to be elected to the NHS if he does nothing for his school or community or if he shows characteristics that are undesirable. “Membership is so limited that only the most outstanding students may be admitted. These students are among the academic elite in this country,” she said. “Your unwavering character, commitment to scholarship, dedication to service, and development of leadership are all inspiring and critically important to who you are.”
Representing the district's administration was Dr. Mary Gruccio, Superintendent of Schools, who praised the families and educators of the district and congratulated the students on their hard work.
“It is evident that to be a member of the National Honor Society, the students you see here tonight, must be committed and able to balance the many activities that they are involved in while maintaining academic excellence,” she said. “I commend each and every one of you for the fine job you do.”
Speaking on behalf of the Vineland Board of Education was President Scott English, who offered some fatherly advice to the inductees.
“Success in life begins and ends with making great choices,” he said. “Unfortunately, none of us are perfect, no matter how hard we may try. We all make mistakes, and the key to success is not making the same mistake twice. I applaud and thank all of you for choosing to take advantage of all of the good things that the Vineland Public School District has to offer and for achieving the highest of honors academically.”
Sofia Babenko and Nyah Marshall, co-presidents, spoke on the highlights of the group’s year so far, including the many community service and school-based volunteer programs they have participated in. Following Babenko and Marshall, the other officers then spoke about the ideals of the organization. Simileoluwa Adenugba and Igor Shanava, co-vice presidents, talked about scholarship; Carly Mayhew, recording secretary, and Sakshi Thakkar, corresponding secretary, described the organization’s dedication to service; Natalie Garrett, treasurer, and Evin Guilford, historian, spoke about leadership; and Isaac Garrett, parliamentarian, and Francis Virtucio, liaison, talked about character.
Showing the diversity of talent among the NHS inductees, a musical selection was performed by Isabella Cruz.
Najvir Dhinju, president of the Sgt. Dominick Pilla (Lincoln Avenue) Middle School National Junior Honor Society spoke on behalf of the 93 middle school students inducted into that organization on October 29. He highlighted the community service that all NHS and NJHS members are performing throughout the community.
“My chapter and I are required to make our community a better place and make our chapter be the best it can be to represent Vineland,” he said. “The children are changing the world now. We’re setting a base for a brighter future in which all can attain better lives.”
After the traditional candle-lighting ceremony, the inductees veered from past ceremonies and began a new tradition. With last year’s inductees sitting on one side of the stage and the new inductees on the other, both groups processed to the front of the stage, with the second-year members presenting the new members with their chords. New members then proceeded to sign their name in the NHS book and received a certificate. Assisting in that portion of the ceremony were principal Suzette DeMarchi and vice principals Jacqueline Alvarez, Jarrod Headley, Kristina Craig, and Kim Rivera.
The inductees include:
Amelia Abruscato*, Destiny Acosta*, Simileoluwa Adenugba, Maria Aldama, Reem Alkheel, Katia Antonetti*, Kathryn August*, Pamela Argueta Ayala*, Sofia Babenko, Emma Barbera*, Madison Bratton*, Marianne Burgess, Isabella Cagno*, Raesha Campbell*, Nina Caprice*, Consuelo Cardoza*, Kaylee Carlson*, Luis Castro*, Ezriella Chaniz-Rico*, Andi Choko, Faviana Cohen*, Isabella Cruz, Carly D’Arrigo*, Komalpreet Dhinju, Faith Farside, Dylan Fernandez*, Warren Fernandez*, Delaney Fisher*, Zoe Frisko*, Isaac Garrett, Natalie Garrett, Victoria Garton*, Julianna Giordano*, Evin Guilford, Emily Jones*, Ankit Kapadia*, Sude Karagoz, Sarah King*, Tadae King, Beth Kraus*, Brianna Lagarez*, Jacob Lago*, Justin Lock*, Kevin London*, Tamira Lopez*, Omarly Cruz-Lovera*, Giavanna Lupi, Abigail Maines*, Marissa Marchese*, Nyah Marshall, McKinleigh Mattie, Carly Mayhew, Jessica Melo*, Daniel Merighi, Marilynn Miguel, Skye Miranda*, Anahi Montero, Iman Moosvi*, Jada Morgan, Megan Murie, Garrett Nordberg*, Nicole Ortega*, Grace Panzini, Sara Parks, Krishna Patel*, Preet Patel*, Priya Patel, Sahil Patel*, Vedant Patel, Gabriella Perez, Kayla Pomales*, Lucas Portadin, Broderick Powers, Jeremy Rasmussen*, Joyce Reaves*, Samantha Reuss*, Andrew Rodriguez*, Jared Russo, Arianna Sanchez*, Erica Sanchez-Villanueva*, Rucha Shah, Igor Shanava, Germaine Smart-Marshall, Jordon Sobolski*, Deanna Soto*, Sakshi Thakkar, Natalie Vaquero*, Henesis Vasquez* Shane Vastano, Melanie Velez, Francis Virtucio, James Virtucio*, Gabrielle Whittle*, Ronald Yang, and Kimberly Zarate*
* denotes new inductees
The event was videotaped by VPS Broadcasting and will air on Comcast Channel 9 and Verizon FIOS Channel 41 at a later date. A digital version will be available on our YouTube channel.
Pictured, from left: April Marchesano-Hemminger, advisor; Isaac Garrett, parliamentarian; Evin Guilford, historian; Sakshi Thakkar, corresponding secretary; Igor Shanava, co-vice president; Sofia Babenko, co-president; Nyah Marshall, co-president; Simileoluwa Adenugba, co-vice president; Carly Mayhew, recording secretary; Francis Virtucio, liaison; Natalie Garrett, treasurer; and Donna Garrett, advisor