National Honor Society inducts 85 new members


On Tuesday, October 12, in Weyrauch Auditorium, Community High School’s National Honor Society welcomed 85 new members into their organization.

National Honor Society, which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, centers around four pillars: scholarship, character, leadership and service. Its members not only maintain high academic standards, but also serve as positive role models and leaders in and out of the classroom. They are also dedicated to their community, working to better the lives of those who live in and around the district.

Vice-President Swapna George and President Cecilia Santiago read each candidate’s name as they are presented their pins and certificates.

Community High School’s National Honor Society President, Cecilia Santiago, addressed the new members: “You are all good leaders and role models for others, and will all continue to demonstrate this characteristic and encourage others to do the same.”

The pandemic made it difficult for many students to remain involved in extracurricular or volunteer activities, and yet many of the candidates at this year’s Induction ceremony continued to seek leadership opportunities throughout the 2020-21 school year.

According to National Honor Society Advisor Leslie Fireman, “I am honestly awed and inspired by the resilience and determination these students have shown. Though it was difficult, they continued to prioritize their academics through virtual and hybrid learning, often while working a part-time job, continuing to participate in a sport, or volunteering to help those in need.”

Eligibility was determined at the end of the 2020-21 school year. Students whose grade point average (GPA) was 4.5 or higher were deemed to have met the scholarship requirement, and were encouraged to complete the application process, which involved an activity survey (standard to most National Honor Society chapters), a letter to a teacher/coach/mentor, and a personal statement.

Dr. Will Dwyer, Principal, hands each new inductee a pin and membership card.

Applications were reviewed by a Faculty Selection Committee. To ensure the integrity of the process, the committee members remain anonymous, as do the candidates: their names and any distinguishing comments are removed from their applications before the components are reviewed.

Candidates were informed by letter if they were accepted into the National Honor Society. The Induction ceremony completed the process, and included speeches on the organization’s pillars from three of the chapter’s officers – President Santiago (leadership), Vice-President Swapna George (character), and Secretary Elle Gerster (scholarship) – as well as Committee Chair Paloma Aguado (service). The four students also led the candle-lighting ceremony, a component present in every National Honor Society induction around the country. The candles, one for each pillar, essentially “light the way for our new members,” said Santiago.

Dr. Will Dwyer, Community High School principal, also spoke at the ceremony, expressing his admiration for the candidates, and addressing his hope that each new member will continue to positively impact the people and community around them in the years to come, while never forgetting their WEGO roots.

After the candle-lighting, members were called upon to accept their pin and certificate from Dwyer and Fireman. Tuesday’s ceremony was the first Induction the chapter has hosted in two years, thanks to the pandemic. Fireman explained, “Last year, our candidates came together in a special virtual ceremony. Because of the nature of the ceremony, students were unable to receive their pins, the official token of membership in National Honor Society.” With the help of principal Dr. Will Dwyer, both existing and new members were pinned on October 12.

NHS member Charlie Baumgartner serves cake to families after the Induction.

The ceremony concluded with a brief recitation of the National Honor Society pledge, and then all members, parents, and friends were invited to a reception in the newly-renovated auditorium lobby. Chapter members served as volunteers at the reception, dishing out large servings of cake, courtesy of Parra’s Bakery in West Chicago.

With 85 new members (see list below), National Honor Society will now turn its attention to various service events, including WEGO Spooky at the high school, Trunk or Treat at the West Chicago Public Library, a large-group event at Feed My Starving Children, and Breakfast with Santa, a new event to be hosted by the organization in December.

2021-22 National Honor Society Inductees

Salette Alfaro, Gerardo Avila, David Bartler, Reagan Boorsma, Alondra Briseno, Tyler Bute, Philip Calabrese, Jaclyn Camp, Daniel Canda, Dulce Carrasco, Julissa Castillo, Melissa Castillo, Shaylee Castillo, Daniel Chávez, Anthony Cielo, April Cuautle, Gianna DeConcilis, Katrina Dy, Daniel Eaton, Johanna Edler, Savannah Epperson, Elizabeth Franch, Javier Garcia, Eftihia Giannoudahos, Charles Gove, Brianna Gromos, Caitlin Harding, Ella Hardy, Quinn Hasselgren, Noah Herbst, Shayla Hernandez, Jacob Holloway, Gannon Hosticka, Elizabeth Hurley, Jairo Ibarra, Bridget Jakabcsin, Benjamin Jimenez, Anna Lesny, Mariana López, Marie Lowell, Allison Manspeaker, Kathy Martinez, Jonathan Martinez, Katie McGlynn, Milagros Mendez, Roberto Mendoza, Joselyn Muñoz, Nicole Murphy, Aidan Murrin, Hanh Nguyen, Leah Nika, Emily Nosky, Lizbeth Orozco, Sydney Ostapa, Alexa Palacios-Reyes, Melissa Pani, Sarah Plumlee, Kyle Prebis, Jack Riconosciuto, Maritsa Romero, Vincent Ross, Ayden Russo, Aaron Ruszczak, Sam Rutledge, Jason Sartore, Nathan Schmidt, Kayla Sennese, Soham Shah, Daivik Singh, Sean Slattery, Alysa Solomon, Mark Stavenger, Michelle Tafoya, Montserrat Tapia, TJ Tipton, Ema Tomasevic, Joanna Trejo, Ximena Valenciano, Sofia Vereliana-Tamayo, Anelise Velasco, Kathryn Wenberg, Shannon White, Bella Wiehle, Landon Wright, and Justin Zbinovec