National Honor Society

The National Honor Society (NHS) is one of the oldest, largest, and most widely recognized cocurricular student organizations in American high schools, with 1.4 million members.[1][2]

National Honor Society
Formation1921; 103 years ago (1921)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
  • United States
Parent organization
National Association of Secondary School Principals

The purpose of the NHS is to create enthusiasm for scholarship, to recognize outstanding students, to stimulate a desire to render service, to promote leadership, and to develop character in the students of secondary schools.[3][4]

Membership in local NHS chapters is an honor bestowed upon a student by a Faculty Council and is based on the four pillars of NHS: scholarship, character, leadership, and service. Once selected, members have the responsibility to continue to demonstrate these qualities.[4]



The National Honor Society was established on March 1, 1921 by Dr. Edward Rynearson, a member of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), which is the parent organization of the NHS.[5][6] Rynearson, then the principal of Fifth Avenue High School in Pittsburgh, PA, envisioned an organization that would balance academics and athletics while emphasizing the role of high schools as a foundation for democracy. Prior to the establishment of the NHS, numerous local and regional honor societies existed, but the NHS was the first organization of its kind with a national scope.[7]

Since its inception, the NHS has expanded significantly, with over 17,000 active chapters across the United States and beyond.[7]

In 1929, the NHS furthered its reach by introducing the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) for middle school students. This expansion was complemented in 2008 with the creation of the National Elementary Honor Society, a collaboration between the NASSP and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), aimed at elementary school students.[7]

The NHS operates through a decentralized model, granting autonomy to local chapters for innovation and adaptation within the framework of the NHS National Constitution. This approach allows chapters to address specific local needs while adhering to the overarching principles of the organization.[7]

The operational management of the NHS is overseen by the NASSP, with strategic guidance provided by the NASSP Board of Directors. This structure ensures the continuity of Rynearson's vision and the organization's impact on students' lives.[7]



National Honor Society chapters operate in all 50 states, territories, and many schools around the world, engaging and serving more than 1.4 million students. Each year, the average NHS chapter contributes:[8]

  • 1,000 hours of school/community service
  • $26,000 in charitable donations
  • 1,000 pounds of food to local, state, and national causes



Since 1946, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) has awarded more than $23 million in scholarships to outstanding NHS seniors. Each year, NASSP awards $2 million in scholarships to 600 students, including one National Winner ($25,000), four NHS Pillar Winners ($10,625) 20 national finalists ($5,625 each), and 575 national semifinalists ($3,200 each).[9] Scholarship recipients are selected based on their demonstration of the four pillars of NHS: Scholarship, Service, Leadership, and Character. [10]

Parent and sister organizations


Notable members



Name Chapter State
Alda, Alan St. Thomas More High School NY
Besterman, Doug Ramapo High School NY
Bodett, Tom Sturgis High School MI
Bradley, David Bedford High School PA
Cameron, Peter Castlemont High School CA
Cavett, Dick Lincoln High School NE
Cobb, Lee J. Redford High School MI
Couric, Katie Yorktown High School VA
Crawford, Cindy DeKalb High School IL
Davis, Jim Madison-Grant High School IN
Estefan, Gloria Our Lady of Lourdes Academy FL
Farr, Jamie Woodward High School OH
Fey, Tina Upper Darby High School PA
Francis, Connie Belleville High School NJ
Gangemi, Joseph Concord High School DE
Goldberger, Paul Nutley High School NJ
Gross, Michael Kelvyn Park High School IL
Guy, Jasmine Northside High School GA
Harold, Erika Urbana High School IL
Henson, Jim Northwestern Senior High School MD
Lachey, Vanessa Minnillo Bishop England High School SC
Lynds, Gayle Abraham Lincoln High School IA
Mangione, Chuck Franklin High School NY
Morris, Sarah Hutchison School TN
Phillips, Stone Parkway West High School MO
Rogers, Fred Latrobe High School PA
Stewart, Jon Lawrence High School NJ
Streep, Meryl Bernards High School NJ
Swift, Taylor Hendersonville High School TN
Underwood, Carrie Checotah High School OK
Vinton, Will McMinnville High School OR
Voight, Jon St. Thomas More High School NY
Zindel, Paul Port Richmond High School NY


Name Chapter State
Allen, Joseph Crawfordsville High School IN
Bastian, Bruce Twin Falls High School ID
Bobko, Karol Brooklyn Tech High School NY
Cerullo, Leonard Hazleton High School PA
Dole, Elizabeth Salisbury High School NC
Iacocca, Lee Allentown High School PA
Keith, Leroy Howard School of Academics and Technology TN
McGuire, Patricia Merion Mercy Academy PA
McMonagle, Donald Hamady High School MI
Morava, Jack Mercedes High School TX
Penzias, Arno Brooklyn Tech High School NY
Plunkett, Roy Newton High School OH
Quinn, Jane Bryant Niagara Falls High School NY
Resnik, Judith Firestone High School OH
Silkwood, Karen Nederland High School TX
Whitson, Peggy Mount Ayr High School IA


Name Chapter State
Agrast, Mark Charles F. Brush High School OH
Battani, Marianne Tuscola Community High School IL
Bingaman, Jeff Silver High School NM
Block, John Knoxville High School IL
Brown, Joanne Notre Dame High School GU
Chiles, Lawton Lakeland High School FL
Cohen, William Bangor High School ME
Corzine, Jon Taylorsville High School OH
Ford, Gerald R. Grand Rapids South High School MI
Gabriel, Charles A. Lincolnton High School NC
Gonzalez, Felix Riverside Military Academy GA
Gray, William H. Simon Gratz High School PA
Hastings, William C. Newman Grove High School NE
Hinojosa, Ruben Mercedes High School TX
Jackson, Henry "Scoop" Everett High School WA
Kirkpatrick, Jeane Mt. Vernon Township High School IL
Martin, Kevin Charlotte Catholic High School NC
McKernan, John R. Bangor High School ME
Miller, Robert Bishop Garmon High School NV
Moffard, Rose Globe High School AZ
Spade, Douglas Camden-Frontier High School MI
Sullivan, Mike Douglas High School WY
Yellowtail, William Lodge Grass High School MT


Name Chapter State
Aikman, Troy Henryetta High School OK
Atwater, Steve Lutheran High School North MO
Bell, Earl Jonesboro High School AR
Belote, Melissa Robert E. Lee High School VA
Everett, Jim Eldorado High School NM
Fitzgerald-Brown, Benita Gar-Field High School VA
Gilbert, Gale Red Bluff High School CA
Glenn, Mike Coosa High School GA
Grogan, Steve Ottawa High School KS
Hoying, Bob St. Henry High School OH
Huber, Vicki Concord High School DE
Jansen, Dan West Allis Central High School WI
King, Lilly F. J. Reitz High School IN
Kinnick, Nil Benson High School NE
Lucas, Jerry Middletown High School OH
Mulkey, Kim Exeter Turnpike High School PA
Ripken Jr., Cal Aberdeen High School MD

Source: [12]

See also



  1. ^ "National Honor Society |". Retrieved 2023-11-14.
  2. ^ "About". NHS. 2017-01-17. Retrieved 2023-11-14.
  3. ^ "National Honor Society / History of Organization". Retrieved 2023-11-16.
  4. ^ a b "NHS National Constitution". NHS. 2017-02-23. Retrieved 2023-11-14.
  5. ^ "National Honor Society |". Retrieved 2023-11-14.
  6. ^ Masters, Joseph G. (October 1939). "The Founding of the National Honor Society". The Phi Delta Kappan. 22 (2): 53–54. JSTOR 20258969 – via JSTOR.
  7. ^ a b c d e "The History of NHS". NHS. 2023-07-20. Retrieved 2023-11-13.
  8. ^ "About". NHS. 2017-01-17. Retrieved 2023-11-14.
  9. ^ "Most Recent Winners". NHS. 2017-01-16. Retrieved 2023-11-13.
  10. ^ "The NHS Scholarship". NHS. 2017-01-16. Retrieved 2023-11-13.
  11. ^ "NHS".
  12. ^ "Famous NHS Members". NHS. 2017-02-23. Retrieved 2024-05-14.