Greater Houlton Christian Academy inducts first National Honor Society class

13 years ago

On March 8, the Greater Houlton Christian Academy celebrated its first-ever National Honor Society charter induction ceremony at the Military Street Baptist Church.
    “We applied for a charter to establish our own chapter of the National Honor Society because it is another way of encouraging and rewarding scholarship, character, leadership and service,” said John Bishop, Head of School and 1974 inductee of the National Honor Society. “These values are very consistent with our school’s mission.”
To obtain a charter for National Honor Society, a school must first be accredited. The Greater Houlton Christian Academy received their accreditation in 2009.
The first group of students inducted into the GHCA National Honor Society are senior Jessica Lee, daughter of Jay and Susan Lee of Houlton, who attends the Military Street Baptist Church; juniors, Joseph Ebner, son of Kelly Fitzpatrick of Houlton, who attends St. Mary’s Catholic Church; Ethan Holmes, son of Peter and Belinda Holmes of Houlton, who attends Houlton Full Gospel Assembly of God; Jacob Long, son of Steve and Jayne Long of Houlton, who attends the Linneus Freewill Baptist Church and Micah Wiley, son of Larry and Loreen Wiley of Hodgdon, who attends the Hodgdon United Baptist Church.
“To be inducted into the National Honor Society is a great honor that I and the other inductees accept with gratitude,” said Ethan Holmes. “Without the help of God and my parents, I would not be in any position to receive an academic award. Day to day, people seem to think about the negatives that go on in their lives rather then the positives that come from their hard work. Receiving such a prestigious award helps me to realize that people appreciate the work that I have put in. I am grateful that I was chosen by the staff and administration for such an award.”
Each successful candidate must demonstrate solid scholarship — a minimum grade point average of 3.33— character, leadership and service.
“Academic accomplishment is important, but membership is never granted on the basis of scholarship alone,” Bishop explained.
In schools, National Honor Society can become controversial because a student may have good grades, but not embody the rest of the criteria.
“All students who meet the scholarship minimum and who have not had any serious problems with the Academy Student Code of Conduct are given the opportunity to demonstrate to the faculty council (from a student activity form) that they have met the other criteria as well,” Bishop said.
After reviewing the student activity form and making sure a student meets all criteria, the faculty council then votes on each student individually.
The entire school body, along with family and guests attended the National Honor Society ceremony. The students heard congratulatory remarks from U.S. Reps. Joyce Fitzpatrick and Roger Sherman.
Then former Head of School Mark Jago, who was featured through video from southern Maine, addressed the students.
“I am so proud of each one of you,” Jago said, “for your hard work, your self discipline and for the effective use of the mental capabilities that God blessed you with your mind. It truly is a blessing for me personally and also for the Academy to have you students as the very first membership of the National Honor Society. It speaks of the commitment, the hard work and the dedication of all of the staff that had a part in the accreditation process and also the administration, association members, board members and parents as well.”
Guest speaker Rev. Gary Johnson had something in common with the five new inductees. He was inducted into the National Honor Society in West Virginia in 1954. Before he spoke, he went to each student and showed them his NHS pin.
“This little key that I am wearing was presented to me in 1954. That means two things. That means the National Honor Society is very old. And, it also means that I am very old,” he said with a smile.
Johnson said he likes that reference of being a member of NHS, inducted and still a member.
“No one is ever withdrawn,” he said.
Johnson went on to talk about the core values of the National Honor Society, with a reflection of what it means to each one individually as Christians in today’s world.
“Let no one despise your youth,” Johnson read for I Timothy 4.
When the Apostle Paul wrote these words to young Timothy, just beyond those words are “set an example.”
“This call into the National Honor Society gives us a reason, a way, to show that character, scholarship, leadership and service become very important,” Johnson explained. “Even in the National Honor Society, the word character comes first.”
Johnston encouraged all of the students to enable their faith and their faithfulness … to set the example for others.
“Scholarship is very much a part of the Christian character,” he said. “To learn. To understand. And to seek higher education.”
Johnson read the lyrics to the old hymn “Give of Your Best to the Master.”
“Scholarship as a battle for truth,” he said. “Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life. When I became a Christian, I looked at that verse and it took on very particular meaning to me. I was in high school at the time. To go back to high school with the idea that everything I want to learn, everything I want to experience, should be through the eyes and mind of Jesus.”
Another verse to the old hymn says “Give Him first place in your heart. Give Him first place in your service and consecrate every part.”
“As these folk are receiving an honor today for what they have done, it is basically a challenge to what they will do,” Johnson said.
Johnson explained that following Christ is not a passive call.
“It is a call to action,” he said.
Citing Biblical characters who tried to avoid the call, but eventually followed God, Johnson said, “Good leadership begins in this battle for truth. With saying ‘yes’ to the Lord.”
Johnson challenged students to measure their ability and response.
“When we put them together, we discover what our responsibility is,” he said. “How has God enabled me to respond. I will do my best in character, in scholarship, in leadership and in service.”
Then, each student read a part of what each candle represented for the National Honor Society and lit an individual candle from the center one. After the candle-lighting ceremony, students received their certificates from Dan Angotti, National Honor Society advisor.
“Opening our own chapter of the National Honor Society at GHCA is a testament to work of our staff, both past and present,” Holmes added. “It is a privilege to be in a school that puts so much effort into producing students who are well rounded in every aspect of their lives.”
The GHCA National Honor Society will lead a community service project each semester. The first project will be heading up a Red Cross Blood Drive on March 31.