Upcoming Dates

October 3
Intellectual Freedom Challenge submissions open

November 14
Intellectual Freedom Challenge submissions due

December 1
Project Grant applications due

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Welcome New Chapters

Bishop Gorman Catholic High School
Chapter: "To Strive, To Seek, To Find"
Las Vegas, NV

Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School
Chapter: Eye of the Cane
Spring Hill, FL

Courtland High School
Chapter: Jana Kay Lanceley
Spotsylvania, VA

Northwood High School
Chapter: Alpha Beta Gamma
Pittsboro, NC

Rock Ridge High School
Chapter: Chapter Nine and Three Quarters
Ashburn, VA

Tate High School
Chapter: Scarlet Aggies
Catonment, FL

Washingtonville High School
Chapter: Washingtonville High School National English Honor Society
Washingtonville, NY

Whitmer High School
Chapter: Emory Krieger
Toledo, OH

In This Issue

  1. Chapter Bylaws
  2. Merit Scholarships based on the Common Reader
  3. Intellectual Freedom Challenge
  4. Revised NEHS Constitution
  5. Classroom Library Grants
  6. Project Grants
  7. Imagination Library Service Project

Emily Dickinson's poem "Autumn" is a beautiful way to begin this month's newsletter: "The morns are meeker than they were, / The nuts are getting brown; / The berry's cheek is plumper, / The rose is out of town. / The maple wears a gayer scarf, / The field a scarlet gown. / Lest I should be old-fashioned, / I'll put a trinket on."

As the new month begins, we hope all of you are seeing nature's wonderful "trinkets" in your respective locations as we revel in the wonders of the coming months. We trust you will find time to enjoy the season and all it brings to the activities of high schools—sporting events, homecoming celebrations, the ever-quickening pace of academic pursuits—and also to enjoy the opportunities for your NEHS chapters. In the Central Office of National English Honor Society and Sigma Tau Delta, we are engaged in a variety of initiatives, some prompted by the Board of Directors' meeting held in Louisville, KY, recently. Decisions at that meeting reflect the support NEHS has from its governing board, for which we are very grateful.

This issue of NEHSXpress includes information about the importance of establishing bylaws for chapters, the merit scholarship competition, the Intellectual Freedom Challenge, the revised NEHS Constitution, classroom library grants, project grants, and the Imagination Library service project.

Chapter Bylaws

Recently, the Central Office has received a number of inquiries from parents and students concerning membership selection processes utilized by some NEHS chapters. The Constitution details the importance of each chapter crafting bylaws that outline details about membership, induction traditions, officer elections and responsibilities, service hours, meeting schedules, etc. Of particular importance is the posting of those bylaws so all members of school communities are aware of the rules established; the perception that decisions might be made "in secret" or providing no explanations for students about selection or potential rejection for membership gives rise to uncomfortable situations. The NEHS Constitution details minimal requirements for admission to NEHS; chapters may reasonably raise those requirements as long as those changes are transparent, justified, and fair to all students.

Merit Scholarships based on the Common Reader

The Common Reader for 2016-2017 is Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, by Anne Tyler. Prompts for the scholarship essays will be provided in November and essays will be due no later than 11:59 p.m. CST on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. The monetary awards for this category of scholarships will increase to $35,000 this coming year with new funds approved by the Board of Directors. Senior NEHS members of active chapters are eligible for this competition.

Intellectual Freedom Challenge

The Intellectual Freedom Challenge is exclusively for sophomore and junior members of active NEHS chapters. This competition invites NEHS members to submit well-reasoned, argumentative essays about the use of controversial texts that have been or may be challenged due to theme or content. Essays will be accepted through November 14. This program is held in conjunction with the American Library Association's (ALA) annual celebration of Banned Books Week, which took place the last week of September.

View: Intellectual Freedom Challenge Details

Revised NEHS Constitution

The Sigma Tau Delta Board of Directors has approved a revised Constitution for NEHS. The new document aligned the Society's guiding principles with current practices that have evolved over the course of the last eleven years. The original Constitution was crafted in 2004; we believe the revisions will provide clearer language and guidance for the coming years. This undertaking is requiring we review and update all related documents in publications as well as on our website; once those efforts are complete, we will post the newly approved Constitution; until that time, please continue to utilize the existing copy.

Classroom Library Grants

NEHS Chapter Advisors in their first five years of teaching may now apply for a Classroom Library Grant to increase book availability to students in classrooms.

View: Application Process, Including Timelines

Project Grants

National English Honor Society Project Grants are designed to encourage local chapters to be innovative in developing projects that further the goals of the Society. The Society will award a limited number of grants each semester, for up to $200 each, to support local chapter activities that will be enhanced or made possible by the grant monies. The application deadline for the second semester of the 2016-2017 school year is December 1, 2016.

View: Application Guidelines

Imagination Library Service Project

This year Sigma Tau Delta's Student Leadership committee has chosen a philanthropic project to spearhead across the entire English Honor Societies family—Sigma Tau Delta, Sigma Kappa Delta, and NEHSDolly Parton's Imagination Library. The project will help raise funds to provide books to enhance the literacy of children in low-income communities.

The Imagination Library fosters a love of reading among preschool children and their families by providing one specially-selected book each month from birth to the child's fifth birthday. Please consider hosting a fundraising event with your chapter to contribute to this project. Send money collected by your chapter to the NEHS Central Office by June 1. All money raised will be presented to the Imagination Library in a single payment.

View Details: Sigma Tau Deta's Student Leadership Imagination Library Service Project