The Past, Present, and Future of the AAHS National Honor Society Chapter

What is it like being involved within National Honor Society? How does this selective society operate? How has the chapter evolved over the decades at Air Academy High School?


Previous Jetstream Journal newspapers are reviewed from preserved collections. Photo was taken by Copy Editor, Savannah Braden.

Newly inducted National Honor Society members are awarded a shiny gold pin that has the NHS logo imprinted. Photo taken by junior Leah Finkle.

Honor societies. What are these prestigious organizations? How are individuals selected? Are they even relevant in terms of success? All of these questions are valid, yet how do we perceive these recognitions amongst society? 

When one ponders honor societies some thoughts that come to mind may include selective committees, ritualistic practices, and meeting strenuous academic demands. Yet not all honor-based societies are established to instantaneously intimidate new members. Having said this, the National Honor Society is a welcoming environment that acknowledges student aptitude. 

This particular organization is widely participated in throughout the United States. The high school-based honor society recognizes talented individuals who represent the four pillars of scholarship, leadership, service, and character. Air Academy High School has partaken within this organization to not only award exceptional students but to recognize them for their valiant efforts. 

This process has not occurred just in recent years; AAHS has partaken within NHS since the school’s initial founding in 1957. After the doors of AAHS opened in the late fifties, students could become involved within this organization if they met academic requirements and were active members of their community. 

According to the Jetstream Journal article entitled “Are They Worthwhile” published on February 27, 1964, juniors were eligible for membership if they maintained a B+ average throughout the duration of the school year. Taking this into consideration, the academic requirement as of the 2021-2022 school year is that all students must maintain a 3.75 GPA in order to maintain eligibility. 

The distinction between academic standards is notable; however, the ceremonies conducted for new members also possess a fascinating contrast. An article entitled “All-School NHS Assembly Initiates New Members” published by the Jetstream Journal on February 27th, 1964, reveals that newly inducted students had to attend a formal ceremony and would later attend a tea ceremony following their initiation. 

Despite tea ceremonies being held in the past, modern AAHS initiation ceremonies are no longer hosted this way. One witness to this is the NHS advisor and AAHS speech and debate coach, Renee Motter. 

“We actually started moving away from formal induction ceremonies even before the pandemic. Various student leaders thought something less formal during our first meeting would make it more accessible and meaningful,” noted Motter. 

By hosting a less formal induction ceremony, students could become more comfortable with their peers and have the ability to engage with upperclassmen student leaders. Although there is an apparent difference between both past and present functions, there are also other differences that are evident throughout the progression of the NHS chapter. 

Furthermore, according to an article by the Jetstream Journal entitled “NHS Contest Deadline Close” published on November 26th, 1963, a drawing contest was sponsored by NHS students. Even though hosting a drawing competition could generate revenue and school engagement, in recent years AAHS students have not hosted an event similar to this. However, in past years more innovative fundraisers have occurred that provided students with an opportunity to support remarkable charities. 

“NHS has raised money in the past for the Morgan Adams Foundation which researches pediatric cancer, for Make a Wish, and for Children’s Hospital in Colorado Springs. We’ve also done toy drives and contributed to Harvest of Love,” stated Motter. 

From contributing to charities, the students of AAHS have become more involved within their community and have curated awareness towards significant issues. Having said this, despite varying practices throughout past decades, the purpose of NHS has remained the same; to encourage meaningful community involvement and recognize outstanding academic potential. Through this process not only are students able to expand their community involvement but they are also exposed to numerous opportunities as senior NHS officer Declan Wittkamp has noticed. 

My favorite part of being involved in NHS last year was that it enabled me to find more ways to volunteer and be involved in the community. I actually started volunteering with an organization called “Tutors for Change” last year, after hearing about it during an NHS meeting,” commented Wittkamp. 

From being in NHS, Wittkamp was able to discover amazing opportunities that would help him earn more service hours and become a part of a purposeful organization. However, although these experiences are valid, there is also a great deal of anticipation that occurs when an individual is inducted into one of these exclusive societies. In hindsight, juniors have great anticipation of joining this society since it is an entirely new experience. With this being said, the anticipation can be felt amongst a large majority of students, more specifically junior Lauren Behar. 

I’m definitely most excited to get to know everyone in NHS better and start doing more activities and meetings with the whole chapter! This is my first year, so I’m just ready to learn more about the club and what it means to be a part of it,” stated Behar. 

From having this great excitement, Behar and many others are hopeful that this year of NHS will be both memorable and impactful. Despite the NHS chapter at AAHS continuously evolving for over six decades, the organization still remains present today. Through change and advancement, the organization that is celebrated around the country has impacted countless AAHS students. By continuing to pursue this organization, the future is not only optimistic for students but also is the driving force in producing societal change.