Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Fostering Christ’s Character Through National Honor Society

Story by Rob Gettys

Thirteen upperclassmen sat on Highland View Academy’s (HVA) chapel stage late last year and faced their principal, Rob Gettys, who asked them to remind the audience of the four characteristics they were being recognized for that day. With the National Honor Society (NHS) crest highlighted over their heads, they collectively responded with, “service, leadership, and character,” before stalling on the last essential characteristic of an NHS member. The new inductees nervously glanced at each other before senior Desmond Nana remembered the very first standard that made them eligible to apply, and laughingly responded, “academics!”

Gettys nodded with a smile, and as he offered his congratulatory remarks, he lingered on the fact that he loved how the other three characteristics were foremost on their minds. The purpose of Seventh-day Adventist education, he quietly insisted, is not only to see HVA’s students become successful academically but, more importantly, to foster the key personality traits of Christ, which so perfectly align with the standards of the NHS.

Induction into the nation’s oldest and most prestigious high school recognition program is reliant on students demonstrating excellence in four key qualifying characteristics: leadership, service, character and academics. Upperclassmen who have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above, who have proven their role as positive leaders on HVA’s campus and in their communities, who have regularly and consistently shown a heart of service through willingly seeking out opportunities to lend a hand, and whose character intentionally seeks growth and a higher standard of behavior are selected by a faculty committee who review their application in a rigorous assessment of each candidate’s achievement. Once selected, those students are granted access to a network of programs that opens opportunities for scholarships, webinars, conferences and resources for college preparedness.

As he closed the program, Gettys implored the new members to continue working diligently in school while placing the utmost value in their role in the service of Christ’s cause, in their longing to lead people to their Savior and in their high regard for an untarnished character so that they may be an example of Christ’s lovingkindness to everyone they encounter on their journey.

Finally, Gettys turned to the audience and encouraged those in attendance to seek the same, whether they hoped to one day sit on that same stage or if they simply wanted to fulfill their God-given purpose as an active follower of Christ. For, just as important as the recognition, is the example the ceremony sets for the lower classmen, as they see the value and impact of hard work, intentionality and dedication.

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