17 Feb 2017
- NEHS News - Spring 2017 issue
(National Association of Elementary School Principals Foundation) — Whoever said three’s a crowd never heard about Mount Carmel School.
Located on Saipan, an island in the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Mount Carmel is a Catholic K–12 school that houses not just one, but all three national honor societies available to students from 4th through 12th grades.
With three chapters under one roof, Mount Carmel is in the unique position of offering a true sense of continuity for those who are inducted as elementary or middle-level students. The older students get to serve as role models, while the younger students are able to see firsthand what it takes to excel over the long-term — and even be role models themselves by demonstrating how to be scholars and leaders for the grades below.
“Our Honor Societies are here to motivate students to be their best,” says NJHS adviser Candida Bahillo. “They are here to make students well-rounded individuals and mold them as leaders.”
Three years ago, Mount Carmel’s NEHS chapter made its debut under the direction of principal Frances Taimanao, who believed that the character development the honor societies afford would be beneficial to the entire school. School president and 1991 “AlumKnight” (as graduates are called) Galvin Deleon Guerrero explains, “As much of the research in childhood development demonstrates, the foundation for lifelong success is laid in early childhood. So it’s important to recognize and promote academic achievement and service with organizations like the National Elementary Honor Society.”
Each fully separate chapter is geared toward the age of the students who gain membership. Together, however, the trio of honor societies at Mount Carmel is able to interact, thanks to the structure of the school. For example, in 2016, they held a joint ceremony where 66 students were inducted into their respective national honor societies as part of a celebration for the 20th anniversary of NHS at the school.
Something that all Honor Society students at Mount Carmel share, at every level, is an appreciation for the opportunity to engage in service and grow as a leader. As fifth-grade NEHS member Ranasia Bocago puts it, “This program helps shape my education by [helping me be] a role model to my peers; keep up with my studies; and help my community, my school, and especially those in need.”
Sixth-grader Yurihana Sasamoto echoes Bocago’s perspective saying, “We are here to help everyone in our community.”
The sentiment they share is translated into action on a regular basis, with members spearheading and participating in numerous service activities, from supporting community projects such as the annual Marianas March Against Cancer and American Red Cross Walk-a-Thon, to lending a hand at the Salvation Army’s soup kitchen and several community cleanup campaigns.
Being a leader at school and in the community is something that senior and NHS president Michael Ortizo — once a member of NJHS — takes to heart: “It is only by example that we can really learn and grow, and the National Honor Society acts as that example for everyone striving to become a good role model.”