Caribou NHS members learn important life lessons

9 years ago

    CARIBOU, Maine — Molding leaders out of Caribou’s youth takes a talented advisor and a group of motivated high school teens ready to accept the responsibility of being members of the National Honor Society.

A culture developed around the concept of noblesse oblige or nobility obligates brings students together through four characteristics: Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Character.
“National Honor Society makes you feel whole,” Caribou senior and current NHS president Michael Marquis said. “It gives you a great sense of accomplishment and pride to say you were a part of something for a greater good.”

Students who are welcomed into NHS volunteer and facilitate services throughout the city during their tenure. They help raise money, collect food, and provide assistance for those in need.
“I really want them to learn that they are their brother’s keeper,” Caribou NHS adviser Kenneth Atcheson said. “Being responsible and doing things to assist others is a reward in itself regardless of publicity.”
As members of the National Honor Society, students not only take part in helping others, they learn life lessons that help prepare them for college and the road ahead.
“It pushed me harder to do more community service,” Caribou senior and NHS member Katie Pelletier said. “I’m an athletic aide at this school now and I wouldn’t have really done that this year if I didn’t [join NHS].”
The long list of things NHS does throughout the year includes: a major food drive for the Bread of Life food kitchen, a Muscular Dystrophy drive, Operation Christmas Child, they deliver carnations on Valentines Day, a Shamrock Drive, and they act as guides during open houses at the high school.
“When the Caribou Fire department experienced several of those fires in which individuals were killed this winter we just decided to make homemade baked goods,” Atcheson said. NHS members made cookies and pies and cakes and then brought them to the Caribou fire station. “We just said it’s been a little rough so here’s some things to maybe brighten the day.”
This year students raised $800 for the Stop Hunger Now campaign for their NHS state service project. They raised the money by collecting change from their fellow classmates. That money will go to purchase 3,200 dry packed meals that will be sent to individuals with nutritional needs.
“It’s important to help people,” Pelletier said. “We do a lot of stuff for people who don’t have the normal chance that we do.”
On top of their NHS obligations, which are completely voluntary, members have other extracurricular activities and jobs outside of NHS.
“The biggest skill and advice I can give to them is you’ve got to balance your time,” Atcheson said. “I think they learn that skill in the NHS.”
Students have their own reasons for becoming a NHS member, be it natural leadership skills, it’s something they’d love to have on a transcript, or even a little extra pressure from mom and dad to succeed. In the end NHS students take away an eye opening experience “It just helps you realize what you need to be successful in life,” Caribou High School junior Ethan Plourde said.
Atcheson hunts for the good eggs in the high school, and those who show promise and responsibility as NHS members often come back to thank him for helping them succeed.
“I get to work with some of the finest, brightest, most talented individuals on projects that work well,” Atcheson said. “They never cease to amaze me. They always come through and it is the highlight of my year.”
The Caribou NHS will volunteer at this year’s Special Olympics, participate in a Teacher Appreciation event, and put on the annual academic night honoring honor roll student before voting for next year’s officers later this May.