Building blocks of success

Jan. 24, 2013 @ 07:19 PM

As 72 kids from Henderson Middle School received formal induction into the National Junior Honors Society on Wednesday morning, they each took steps toward changing the culture of the school.

National Junior Honors Society is a program that honors students who demonstrate excellence in the area of academics, leadership, service, citizenship and character.

It is based on the National Honors Society found at the high school level.

Kashi Nelson, an eighth-grade teacher at Henderson Middle and co-adviser of the society, was the driving force behind implementation of the program.

Nelson travels from Raleigh every day to work at Henderson Middle, where she passionately tries to improve the learning environment for students.

“I chose Henderson Middle School because I saw that it was a school in need of some turning around,” Nelson said.

With the help of first-year principal John Hargrove the school has begun a quest to transform their image and strengthen academics.

“We’re here for academics, and we’ve got to get that back at the forefront of the school,” Hargrove said. “We’ve got to start recognizing students for their hard work. We often times have not done that, and this is a way to start that.
“These will be our leaders.”

Jordan Thomas was elected by his peers as president of Henderson Middle School’s chapter of the National Junior Honor Society. The honor he and 71 other students received for academic achievement was a step in the right direction for cultivating success among students.

“Considering Henderson Middle hasn’t had very many successes in the past, the National Junior Honors Society is, I would say, the utmost honor,” Thomas said. “I plan to go to regular high-school in ninth grade, to get as many AP classes as possible, and in 10th-grade I want to transfer to the School of Science and Mathematics.”

Among other academic requirements, a grade point average of 3.0 or higher must be maintained for acceptance into the honors society.

“I worked hard for this,” said Jada Kingsberry, who was elected secretary. “I was looking forward to having this position.”

Prior to the formal induction ceremony, Trixie Brooks, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction at Vance County Schools, provided the keynote address.

“We are about to change the culture at Henderson Middle School, and it starts with our students,” Brooks said. “We are very, very proud of that.

“These students we are recognizing this morning, they are awesome.”

During the induction, students crossed the stage, formally accepting their membership.

As Hargrove shook the hands of each inductee, it captured a moment that reflected the work he and Nelson have done to enhance the lives of students.

“People who have a spirit of excellence, who are willing to do whatever it takes to help improve the learning environment for students are needed in every type of public school,” Nelson said. “I’ve been very impressed with how the school has improved under the leadership of Dr. Hargrove.

“He is from this community and has a vested interest in seeing the school succeed.”

Contact the writer at amauser@hendersondispatch.com.