Written By: Delaney Flanigan

Every year in April, the Providence Academy National Honors Society (NHS) welcomes its new rising junior and senior members at an induction ceremony. This ceremony is an opportunity for new members to be recognized for their hard work, learn about NHS, and mingle with current NHS members. 

The application process started in February when a group of sophomores and juniors were selected to apply. The base requirements are academic excellence and a GPA of at least 3.5. Students filled out an application of their service activities and leadership roles, wrote a personal essay about their desires to be in NHS, and turned in a letter of recommendation from their chosen teacher. 

“The application process was rigorous and allowed me to highlight my accomplishments,” said Alex Simons, ‘26.

A board of faculty members diligently selected the new members of NHS from the competitive group of students who applied. Students received an acceptance or rejection letter in March. 51 new members were admitted, bringing NHS to 109 members, the most in PA’s history.

“It was super rewarding to learn I got into NHS because my contributions to the community were recognized,” commented Lauren Damberg, ‘25.

On April 22, current and new NHS members and their parents gathered at PA to celebrate their achievements. Following an opening prayer from PA’s Chaplain, Fr. McClellan, Mr. Schmalzbauer, the adviser of NHS, gave an introductory speech. He highlighted the four pillars of NHS: scholarship, service, leadership, and character. He also spoke about the history of NHS and explained its requirements: 20 individual volunteer hours, 10 cohort, or group, volunteer hours, and three chapter events, such as participating in the Blood Drive.

Mr. Schmalzbauer speaks about the four pillars of NHS. PAW Photo Credit: Delaney Flanigan.

“I think it’s significant that NHS was the first nationwide organization of any kind to recognize excellence in high school students. In 1921, they created it to acknowledge excellence at the high school level, and we are still doing that today, which is a beautiful thing,” Schmalzbauer commented.

The induction ceremony has a different guest speaker each year. This year’s was Mr. Jaeger, PA’s Upper School Director. He spoke about how the four pillars of NHS are evident in each inductee and how they are useful beyond PA.

“At this point in your development, we are looking for virtue for virtue’s sake. I believe each of you demonstrates that with the character, leadership, and service you put forward,” Jaeger said. 

NHS President Aidan Flynn, Vice President Julia Holton, Secretary Miles Mueller, and Historian Katelyn Clements each gave a speech about the NHS pillars before lighting a candle for each one. 

“Providence Academy recognizes that character goes out of a daily commitment to do good. As students of good character, we are able to act well in service to others. We are able to lead in example,” said Flynn in his speech about character. 

After the candle lighting, each inductee was named and stood to give their oath. Part of the oath is, “I pledge myself always to seek the light of truth, to hold scholarly habits, to engage in worthy service, and to lead forward in all things that shall advance the welfare of Providence Academy.” 

Following the ceremony, everyone enjoyed cupcakes and celebrated each other’s achievements. Parents proudly took pictures of their children and their friends with this new accomplishment. 

“I am very proud of Mckennah for being a part of NHS. As a parent, it is refreshing to know that your child is a part of a group of young people that are devoted to volunteering to help others,” said  Anderson, parent of Mckennah Anderson, ‘25.

The NHS induction ceremony is also a sign to current seniors in NHS that their time is coming to an end. As they look ahead to graduation, current juniors are focusing on running for an NHS officer position and preparing for their senior year.

“I feel like we have big shoes to fill in NHS next year with so many amazing seniors who paved the way for us. I think that our mission in National Honors Society is a really noble one and I’m excited to continue pursuing that next year,” commented Joe Berghult, ‘25.