Fifty-eight 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 Richard Panas, VHS Assistant Principal.
To qualify for the 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. “Admission to this prestigious organization is the greatest honor for a high school student,” DeMarchi said. “Thank you for embracing the four pillars of the National Honor Society. Your unwavering character, your commitment to scholarship, your 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 noted that she has a very personal connection to the NHS, with her son serving as vice president when he was in school and a scholarship offered in her late husband’s name.
“To be a member of the National Honor Society, the students you see before you are very capable of balancing the many activities they are involved in while maintaining academic excellence,” she said. “You have the ability to make a true difference in society.”
Speaking on behalf of the Vineland Board of Education was President Scott English.
“I applaud and thank each of you for choosing to take advantage of all the good things that the Vineland Public School District has to offer,” he said. “All of your hard work, dedication, and great decision making definitely paid off.”
Nina Caprice, president, 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 Caprice, the other officers then spoke about the ideals of the organization. Julianna Giordano, vice president, talked about scholarship; Ankit Kapadia, secretary, described the organization’s dedication to service; Sarah King, treasurer, spoke about leadership; and Krishna Patel, historian, talked about character.
Sameer Menghani, president of the Applied Math and Science Academy National Junior Honor Society spoke on behalf of the 73 middle school students inducted into that organization on November 14. He highlighted the community service that all NHS and NJHS members are performing throughout the community.
“Being part of the NJHS has really inspired me to do just that by volunteering at nursing homes and giving back to the community,” he said. “By getting students to put forth their best effort and really care about the community, NJHS and NHS have really made Vineland a great place.”
After the traditional candle-lighting ceremony, the inductees continued with a tradition introduced the previous year. 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 names 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, Jessica Abruscato*, Destiny Acosta, Emma Barbera, Brooke Benvenuti*, Aaliyah Calderon*, Amanda Cao*, Isabella Cagno, Nina Caprice, Kaylee Carlson, Luis Castro, Ezriela Chaniz-Rico, Jonathan Choo*, Faviana Cohen, Omarly Cruz-Lovera, Bailey Dickenson*, Brooke Dickenson*, Zara Elahi*, Selina Eldridge*, Dylan Fernandez, Warren Fernandez, Delaney Fisher, Zoe Frisko, Julianna Giordano, Carli Hullihen*, Emily Jones, Ankit Kapadia, Harpreet Kaur*, Sarah King, Beth Kraus, Brianna Lagarez, Jacob Lago, Angelina Lewis*, Kevin London, Tamira Lopez, Sean Lopez*, Abigail Maines, Marissa Marchese, Jessica Melo, Natalie Muessig*, Tyler Muessig*, Nicole Ortega, Krishna Patel, Preet Patel, Sahil Patel, Jeremy Rasmussen, Samantha Reuss, Andrew Rodriguez, Arianna Sanchez, Erica Sanchez-Villanueva, Madison Smith*, Jordon Soboloski, Vincenzo Speranza*, Emily Stanker*, James Virtucio, Kimberly Zarate, Kiana Zheng*, and Michelle Zheng*
* 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, Krishna Patel, historian; Julianna Giordano, vice president; Nina Caprice, president; Ankit Kapadia, secretary; and Sarah King, treasurer