Service Hours Yield Storied Honor

Sydney Jones, Staff Writer

LASA provides many chances for students to help their communities and the world, but one organization in particular teaches members many skills for the outside world, while also giving members service opportunities to help their communities. The National Honor Society (NHS) is a nationwide organization that promotes success within students and contributing to their communities. The NHS was created in 1921, and continues to this day as an organization to help students and their communities. Chapters of the NHS are all over the United States, and in the Canada and U.S. territories. Many different service projects are provided throughout the year, and members can also participate in other projects outside of the LASA community. 

Senior SoHyun Kim is the President of the LASA NHS chapter. She has participated in many service projects in the past and believes that she has learned many things from doing them. 

“I feel like the biggest lesson I’ve gained is just how much volunteering can impact just the world,” Kim said. “Not only does volunteering improve an individual’s maturity, it helps you gain a bigger perspective than just yourself in your life.”

LASA NHS service board chair, senior Avery Edwards, thinks that NHS members can help benefit many different people, from those who are living in poverty to new students adjusting to school, by volunteering. Members participate in a variety of service projects. For example, Edwards helped unhoused people with menstrual issues and volunteered at Brookdale Hospice, a living center for seniors in their final stages, to comfort and support patients.

“I would say that volunteering has definitely helped to like make me and other people more empathetic towards others,” Edwards said, “and realizing how much one person can do to help other people’s situations.”

Kim thinks that members are able to gain a whole new view on the world. She believes that the members can experience so many different things that lead to them seeing the world differently.

“I feel like that perspective leads to a lot of just positive impact around the world where people gain a sense of empathy, gain a sense of kindness, compassion for other people,” Kim said. “Even if they’ve never lived in their shoes.”

LASA NHS secretary Jasmine Gaynier said that volunteering has helped her realize how much one person can do to help other people’s situation. Volunteering and doing service projects also has its mental benefits, according to Gaynier. 

“Being able to provide when people are at their lowest points in life is a really wonderful thing and fulfilling thing to do,” Gaynier said. “When people help others, they often feel better themselves.” 

One of the service projects that Gaynier participated in was delivering food and water to people in need during the Texas snowstorm in February 2021. Members are also able to gain social skills and abilities, according to senior and LASA NHS junior liaison board leader Shivani Regan.

“I think learning how to work with groups and work with people that you don’t necessarily know super well, because you sometimes end up in those situations, has been a really big thing for me,” Regan said. “It’s helped me become more mindful and conscious of what’s going on around the world.” 

Senior and LASA NHS junior board leader Anya Kureshi said she has been able to gain helpful experience in addition to building her character because of the NHS.

“I’ve definitely learned about how difficult it is to organize people and get everyone on the same sort of topic and get everyone together and actually on board with what we’re doing,” Kureshi said. “I’ve learned a lot of great organization and marketing skills.”

Kureshi said that she even was able to organize a Model UN conference last year, and that she also was able to do an internship and talk to members of Congress. Members of the NHS, such as Patel and Regan, say that they have also been able to make connections with people in their community and further abroad, whether that be through internships or other NHS opportunities. 

“I make connections with a lot of other juniors who are also invested in their communities and interested in doing service projects,” Regan said.

According to Regan, these are connections that can help them in the future. Regan was able to connect with adults about helping out their community, and so were other members of NHS, such as Patel. 

“I’m still in contact with my manager from both [projects]. I met a ton of professionals in the field I want to go into,” Patel said. “I was able to make connections with professionals who were in that field, as well as all the kind of moving parts of a practice.”

Service projects include things such as tutoring, volunteer drives, fundraisers, or even travelling to foreign countries to volunteer there. By also making meaningful connections with those in their community, members are able to support those around them. 

“As a high schooler, I feel like the most we can do is really be involved in our school community,” Patel said. “I think just staying involved in the communities that you’re in and being the leader and seeing what you can do to make sure everyone feels included and accepted at school is also really important.”

NHS members are required to meet a minimum of 15 service hours per semester or 30 hours a year. Volunteering opportunities for this semester include packing books in the English classrooms, supporting the LASA band, walking a 5k, and more.

“I would say that volunteering has definitely helped to like, make me and other people more empathetic towards others,” Gaynier said, “and realizing how much one person can do to help other people’s situations and figuring out how people in positions of privilege and people who have more than others can do to improve other people’s lives who are maybe not doing so well at the time. I think volunteering and mutual aid are such important parts of making sure that we keep our whole community afloat.”