Nestled within the halls of Coal Ridge Middle School, the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) exemplifies academic accomplishment, leadership, and community service. Guided by Brittany Green, School Registrar and Jodi Marsolek, Principal Secretary, NJHS not only upholds the fundamental values of scholarship, service, leadership, and character, but instills them in every member.
“The National Junior Honor Society recognizes and encourages the development of academic achievement, citizenship, leadership, service, and character,” emphasized Green. Members are entrusted with the responsibility of being role models, exemplifying commendable conduct and leadership within the school.
In addition to maintaining a rigorous GPA, NJHS students devote themselves to 20 community service hours each year. Regular meetings and an open-door policy ensure that lines of communication remain accessible, allowing students to seek guidance and support when needed. Quarterly grade and volunteer hour check-ins, in conjunction with a Schoology page, serve as essential points of contact for student engagement.
The motivation to lead the NJHS chapter stemmed from a shared passion for student success. Marsolek and Green had watched the program flourish since its inception in 2010 and recognized an opportunity to develop their students’ leadership abilities even more. “We both enjoy watching the success of our students and felt like this is a great opportunity to support them. We love mentoring and spending time with the amazing NJHS members,” shared Jodi Marsolek.
Promoting the values of scholarship, service, leadership, and character stands as the cornerstone of their approach. They conduct routine grade checks to ensure members stay on course, providing support as needed. Students are presented with diverse opportunities to contribute within the school, from aiding new students to preparing meals for staff during parent-teacher conference nights.
“The NJHS program helps me practice social skills like learning how to help people and being an active member in my community,” shared eighth grader Jace Lyons. “These are valuable skills that I believe will benefit me not only in high school but also in the future.”
The introduction of leadership roles within NJHS, alongside heightened expectations for conduct and citizenship, fosters an environment of excellence. Green emphasized a notable initiative, explaining that they recently provided three occasions for their members to greet families, lead tours, and address inquiries during Back-to-School night, in addition to aiding with new student orientation.
“Being part of the National Junior Honor Society has taught me about the true importance of academic excellence. I’ve learned that aiming for good grades isn’t only about the here and now, but it lays the groundwork for my future,” stated seventh grader Alyssa Fudge. “Doing well in school should be a goal in itself, not just something you do to get rewards from others.”
Community service projects are integral to NJHS, and Coal Ridge’s chapter is poised for a year of impactful contributions. “We have a lot planned for this year, including Firestone’s first-ever Friends of Firestone, where our kids are going to be able to help elderly or disabled members of our community with yard work, painting and minor exterior home repairs,” shared Green. The chapter is also eager to support those impacted by the Marshall fire and engage in other community initiatives.
Collaboration and teamwork are cherished values within NJHS. Meetings are structured to promote student voice and cooperation, with student leaders taking charge. As Brittany Green emphasized, “We listen to everyone’s input at our meetings, we give students every opportunity to come to us with any ideas.”
Looking ahead, the aspirations for Coal Ridge’s NJHS chapter are inspiring. The introduction of student-elected officers and committee chairs promises a student-driven chapter. Expanded volunteer hours indicate an enthusiastic response from student members, surpassing expectations and reaffirming their dedication to service. The future is bright for NJHS at Coal Ridge Middle School, where the torch of leadership and service is carried forth with passion and purpose.