As of November 2019, National English Honor Society has officially become one of the honor societies at Bedford High School. As explained on the NEHS website, the society is “the only international organization exclusively for high school students and faculty who, in the field of English, merit special note for past and current accomplishments” (nehs.us). The society fosters an appreciation and love for English and writing, which is why BHS Junior Jamie Karr decided to start the society, along with the guidance from humanities teacher Mrs. McDermott
During Jamie’s sophomore year, she was inspired to do something more with English, a subject she has always had a passion for. Jamie describes that she “love[s] reading, but in recent years, especially since starting high school, I’ve just really stopped doing it unless it was for a class. So I thought that this was the perfect opportunity to try and get back into the mindset where you can just pick up a book and enjoy it.” Mrs. McDermott felt similarly about starting NEHS. She explains that “I wanted it to be something real, and we’re in the process of finding out what real means”. Instead of simply acting as a resumé padder, both Jamie and Mrs. McDermott want NEHS to reflect a genuine love of literature and writing, to encourage students to rekindle their love for reading. Reading was part of the application process too, and will be a key part of NEHS. The application process involved two recommendations from a current and past English teacher, a parent signature, as well as a creative piece written by the applicant after reading The Awakening by Kate Chopin.
After the induction in early 2020, the new society will start activities with its members. These will involve community service, and Jamie explains that she “really want[s] to spread the love of literature, and so a really big goal of mine is to raise money to help fund libraries in lower income schools.” Another part of NEHS will be sharing a love of reading and literature with younger children, and Jamie hopes to “ go to elementary schools and help kids find books that they like… and really get people into books the way I love them.” The society clearly focuses on influencing younger children in a positive way, to help them discover a love of English that the members of NEHS embody. The society will also focus on helping the members grow as writers. Jamie hopes to also “give people an opportunity to work on creative writing, so they have time to actually sit down and write..and we could also share our work and have discussions about books.” Mrs. McDermott feels this way as well, and hopes to make NEHS a place where students can “read and write genuinely… a creative community.” NEHS can become a place for students to just enjoy writing and reading without the stress of deadlines and grades, a community of shared appreciation for English, with a service-oriented goal of helping others love it too.