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Summer Nelson’s academic achievements as a student of EPIC Charter Schools is the reason she applied for National Honor Society. Subsequently being inducted in NHS and now serving as EPIC’s NHS president, she says she is able to contribute to her school and community and live the NHS principles of service, character and leadership in a way that she never could before at her old school.
“At my old school, there were a lot of negative things that happened and the administration didn’t find those things to be negative. That was really frustrating for me,” Nelson said, adding that her flexible academic schedule has allowed her to spend more time focusing on those core NHS principles.
“I’ve been able to do more within my community, more within my church, able to work more to help pay for college.”
This school year, EPIC Charter Schools inducted a record number of 438 students into National Honor Society (NHS) and National Junior Honor Society (NJHS), extending both social and academic opportunities for them and setting them on the path of future success.
This month, 231 EPIC students were inducted into NHS (compared to 113 in the previous school year) and 207 students into NJHS (compared to 154 the year before). Formal ceremonies were held at Rose State College in Midwest City and at Oral Roberts University on May 7 and 14, respectively.
Beth Powell, an EPIC educator and NHS advisor, said the increased number of EPIC students qualifying for induction into the prestigious organization - a larger class of students than the size of many Oklahoma schools - is due in large part to EPIC’s commitment to provide outlets for its students to succeed.
“At EPIC, we believe school can be different,” Powell said, “and it is a priority for us to create an academic model that is conducive to student success. Every student learns differently. Giving parents and their students the freedom to find the learning approach that works best for them is one of the ways we do that.”
Nelson, who will graduate on June 1 at the EPIC graduation ceremony in Oklahoma City at the Cox Convention Center, echoed Powell when she said the growing student population at EPIC lends itself to more academic leaders joining the NHS ranks.
“With EPIC growing so much, it’s giving kids a new way to learn and it’s allowing them to learn at their own pace and in a way that works best for them,” she said. “I think having that opportunity and that new way is helping them to actually learn more and do better academically.”
The academic advantages of joining NHS are many. Membership is attractive to colleges, universities and potential employers. Every NHS student is required to maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.8 for membership and must commit to a program of community service.
Nelson said being an NHS member makes students stand out.
“Academically, it holds me accountable. I can’t slack off. It definitely makes me want to do more and to strive to the best I can,” she said. “It means something to be in National Honor Society and so, whenever anyone sees that, whether it’s a college or if you’re applying for a job, they know what that means to belong to this organization.”
Socially, Nelson said, there are benefits to membership, too, noting that since most EPIC students don’t go to a physical school site every day, academic organizations like NHS can provide an opportunity for students with similar goals and aspirations to get together and share experiences.
An admittedly social person by nature, Nelson said NHS has been an outlet for her and her peers.
“The people who are in National Honor Society all meet certain criteria for character, scholarship, service and leadership,” she said. “That is something I like because I know these are all future leaders and that we all had something in common.”
NHS was founded in 1921, while NJHS was founded in 1929. It is estimated that approximately 1 million students are active inductees worldwide. NHS and NJHS chapters are located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories and Canada.
“As the number of students coming to EPIC continues to grow, so will the number of those students taking part in NHS,” Powell said. “As such, we will continue to grow our NHS program and be there to help those students be the best they can be.”
EPIC is the fifth largest public school system in Oklahoma, with approximately 24,000 students statewide and about 800 teachers and principals employed statewide and serving near where their students live. For more information, visit epiccharterschools.org.
This article is sponsored by EPIC Charter Schools.
Epic Charter Schools are an accredited school system that serves students in all Oklahoma counties. The school is proudly sponsored by Rose State College to serve students in Oklahoma and Tulsa Counties. In addition, the school is sponsored by the Oklahoma Virtual Charter School Board to serve students statewide. Read more ›