Bellingham High Celebrates National Honor Society Inductees
Nov 29, 2018 06:00AM
● By Pamela Johnson
story & photo by Amy Bartelloni, Contributing Writer
Families and school administration gathered on November 1 at Bellingham High to celebrate the seven seniors and forty-six juniors inducted into the National Honor Society this year, as well as the forty seniors inducted in 2017.
According to its website, NHS is the premier organization established to recognize outstanding high school students. It recognizes students not only for their accomplishments but also for their demonstrated virtues of character, scholarship, leadership, and service; and it challenges them to develop further through active involvement in school activities and community service. Founded in 1921, the organization has chapters in all fifty states; Bellingham’s chapter goes back to the 1970s. Many of the evening’s presenters spoke to the organization’s rich history of service, but they stressed that the work is only beginning for these students.
“Tonight, as a community, we have an opportunity to thank you and to publicly recognize you,” Bellingham High School Principal Megan Lafayette remarked, opening the ceremony. She urged the students to continue the work they’re doing in the high school and in the Bellingham community.
“There’s no doubt the world needs leaders like you,” Mrs. Lafayette told the students, “those who are willing to work, not just for personal gain, but also to become leaders, scholars, and young men and women of character who serve others.”
Superintendent Peter Marano continued by speaking on the responsibility of NHS members as role models by demonstrating for others the values and characteristics that are important to their school: being compassionate, working hard, having a good moral background, and being kind to others, attributes that align with the pillars of NHS. “Your achievements have not gone unnoticed,” he said. “In class and in your extra-curricular activities, your involvement and concern for others have helped make this school, and our district, a richer environment and an inspiring place for others.”
He spoke of the night as a defining moment for the students, a time that’s setting in motion the next journey in their lives. “For all of you, this is only the beginning,” he told the students. “I believe with a diploma from BHS, and your determination and academic potential, there’s not much you cannot accomplish.”
The evening also included comments from NHS advisor Amy-June Remy, who recognized several families with parents and grandparents who are NHS alumni. “You really are creating a legacy for our students,” she told them. She cautioned the students not to grow weary of doing good for others. “I say this to the students who are volunteering their time, tutoring, or serving meals to senior citizens, or collecting food for the food pantry or toys for underprivileged kids; keep up the good work.”
NHS officers spoke on the four pillars of NHS, lighting a candle for character, scholarship, leadership, and service after brief remarks on each. Afterward, the students held their own candles while reading the NHS pledge: “I pledge to maintain my high scholastic standing, to hold as fundamentally and worthy an untarnished character, to endeavor intelligently and courageously to be a leader, and to give of myself freely in service to others. In doing so, I shall prove myself worthy of a place in the National Honor Society.”
Mrs. Remy introduced the evening’s keynote speaker as “a man of integrity, a person with a passion to make a difference, and a leader who treats people with respect, kindness and compassion.” State Senator Ryan Fattman shared comments and personal stories that reflect his own four pillars, which line up with NHS values: respect, ambition, forgiveness, and gratitude.
On the topic of respect, he shared stories of growing up in what he calls a “mixed marriage” home. “My mom is a Democrat. My dad is a Republican. Dinner at my house was fascinating growing up,” he joked, telling the crowd that the experience taught him diplomacy at a young age. “I took away one thing as I’ve grown up and reflected on that. My parents loved each other after every discussion they had, and while they disagreed on some major issues, they weren’t disagreeable. They loved each other and treated each other with respect.”
He went on to relate anecdotes on ambition, forgiveness and gratitude, and concluded with American exceptionalism.
“Throughout human history, there have been many great civilizations,” he said. He posed the question of what makes America exceptional. “The answer to that question is goodness. America is not just great, but America is good, and through that goodness we will continue to be great.”
Following are the NHS seniors who were inducted at this ceremony: Matthew Bate, Shanne Canarete (honorary), Corey Chiappone, Shannon Imparato, Christian Kelley, Philip Jones, and Hannah Levy. Junior class inductees included Erin Bartelloni, William Bortone, Kathleen Brosnahan, Victoria Buddington, Adriana Carneiro, Jaden Caron, Erin Collins, Sydney Connor, Grace Costello, Hannah Cote, Elizabeth D’Agostino, Timothy DeDalvo, Jasmin Desrosiers, Matthew Eggleston, Chloe Morgan Fisher, Matthew Fitzgerald, Dennis Fuentes, Jaclyn Gagnon, Michael Gamble, Zachary Giordano, Paige Goddard, Caela Hurley, Mark Joseph, Christina Loberti, Kaleigh MacGowan, Kayla Martinez, Olivia McDermott, Nicolette Meyer, Kayla Moran, Brandon Murphy, Rose Nelson, Chinaza Ojukwu, Riya Patel, Ayesha Luzia Penha, Timothy Perrault, Isabelle Pioli, Bruce Prescott, Gina Priscella, Joseph Randazzo, Amanda Ricard, Alexis Rodriguez, Kimberly Rodriguez, Gabriella Roman, Gianna Sannicandro, Ekta Shah, Domenic Stoppello.