Palmyra High School’s National Honor Society lend a hand to local critters in need
Throughout February the group is collecting donations for Almost Home Animal Shelter
At Palmyra High School, the National Honor Society is about more than just good grades — it’s about good deeds and good character.
This year, the group is collecting donations for the Almost Home Animal Shelter in nearby Pennsauken as a service project.
Junior and National Honor Society member Sara Smyth was instrumental in setting up the project. She is in her first year with the group, and has put in the necessary hustle to qualify for the selective organization.
“I worked really hard in high school and I wanted to be in a program with a bunch of other people who also work really hard,” said Smyth.
National Honor Society members are selected based on their grade point average, starting with 3.25, but it doesn’t end with just making the grade. Students must to fill out an application that requires a certain number of service hours, involvement in school and clubs, and also a character survey. They have four pillars they have to meet to get in and maintain their status.
Scholarship, leadership, service and character are the criteria on which member selections are made.
“Each year, the group selects a project. Last year, we sent care packages to those affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Virgin Islands in Puerto Rico,” said National Honor Society advisor for Palmyra High School Sabrina Bonner. “We put together care packages with everything from deodorant and toothpaste to canned goods and we shipped them out to them because they didn’t have supplies.”
This year the group decided to raise money for local animal shelters.
“It’s what the kids want to do, I’m just there to help present ideas, help facilitate and fill out the paperwork,” said Bonner.
According to Smyth, she comes from a family of animal lovers, so for her this service project was a natural fit.
She had previous experience fostering kittens through shelters like Almost Home and contacted it to inquire about what items they most needed. She then designed a flier for the project, asking for donations based on the shelter’s needs.
“There are different things I found on their list that you would have never thought to bring in, so I feel like it will be more beneficial than doing a regular collection,” said Smyth. “Towels are one of the big ones and heating pads.”
Smyth believes service projects like the one she helped organize are an important way to turn community service into a habit for young people that they will carry on into their adult lives.
“It’s kind of an introduction in high school and if you do it in high school you’re more likely to do it later in life. It just gives a different perspective,” said Smyth.
Bonner sees organizations like the National Honor Society as a way to recognize student achievement and provide them with the opportunity to be successful in a variety of ways.
“It introduces the idea that there are multiple ways to be successful. They can be successful in helping others, they can be successful with their grades, they can be successful in being a leader in the school because the younger kids look up to them,” said Bonner.
The group will be collecting donations for the shelter until Feb. 28. For a full list of items the shelter needs, visit ahasnj.com. If anyone outside of the school would like to contribute to the collection, they can bring items to the high school’s main office.