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Welcome New Chapters

Archbishop Ryan High School
Chapter: In Vite Mane
Philadelphia, PA

Carlisle High School
Chapter: Carlisle High School
Carlisle, PA

City of Pembroke Pines Charter High School
Chapter: Pines Charter NEHS
Pembroke Pines, FL

Dulaney High School
Chapter: Susan Lev-Tairstein
Timonium, MD

Morrison Academy Kaohsiung
Chapter: Shark Tank
Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Mountain Pointe High School
Chapter: Mountain Pointe
Phoenix, AZ

Port Chester High School
Chapter: Shakespeare's Scholars
Port Chester, NY

Towson High School
Chapter: Towson High School
Towson, MD

Tuscarora High School, MD
Chapter: Tuscarora High School
Frederick, MD

In This Issue

  1. NEHS Intellectual Freedom Challenge - Crafton Awards
  2. New Service Award
  3. NEHS Scholarships and the Common Reader
  4. NEHS Featured Projects
  5. Joint Sigma Tau Delta Projects

Nathaniel Hawthorne, in American Notebooks, describes October in this way—"There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October." Similarly, Albert Camus observed, "Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." We trust that you will find time to enjoy the season and all it brings to high school activities—sporting events, homecoming celebrations, the ever-quickening pace of academic pursuits—and opportunities for your NEHS Chapter to plan projects focusing on literacy. 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 Minneapolis, Minnesota, last week. 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 Scholarships, the Intellectual Freedom Challenge, new Joint Project Grants, new Service Awards, and news about outstanding chapter projects from last year. Please send comments, suggestions, and/or news about your chapter activities to NEHS Director, Dave Wendelin.

NEHS Intellectual Freedom Challenge - Crafton Awards

This competition is exclusively for sophomore and junior members of active NEHS chapters. The Intellectual Freedom Challenge invites NEHS members to submit essays that provide written arguments about the use of controversial texts that have been or may be challenged due to theme or content. Successful students receive book gift certificates as well as monetary awards—the Crafton Awards—named for Dr. Robert Crafton from Slippery Rock University, former President of Sigma Tau Delta. The top essays also will be forwarded to National Council of Teachers of English for possible inclusion in a rationales file used to support educator decision-making about texts. Essays are due Monday, November 16, 2015. More information may be found on the Intellectual Freedom Challenge page.

This program is held in conjunction with the American Library Association's annual celebration of Banned Books Week, scheduled this year for September 27-October 3, 2015. Check the Banned Books Week website for more information.

New Service Award

NEHS, like its sponsoring organization, Sigma Tau Delta, wishes to recognize chapters performing exemplary community service projects as partners with local agencies. NEHS will honor outstanding service efforts by funding a limited number of awards, each consisting of a $100 award to the chapter and a contribution of up to $500 to agencies or organizations with whom the project was crafted and completed. Awards are given after successful projects have been finished; funds help chapters defray costs already incurred, while contributions to the agencies help extend their goals.

Visit the Service Awards page for more information on submission protocols and deadlines.

NEHS Scholarships and the Common Reader

More than $30,000 in scholarship awards for graduating senior members of NEHS who wish to submit essays written on this year's Common Reader for 2015-2016, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, will be available this year. One new award, the Director's Scholarship, has been added in the amount of $3,500. Students wishing to compete for those awards must read the Common Reader and submit an essay based on NEHS-provided prompts. The deadline for receipt of the essays will be January 11, 2016; prompts will be posted in November 2015, so please plan accordingly. More information may be found on the scholarships page.

NEHS Featured Projects

Chapters throughout the NEHS network have engaged in important and inspirational projects over the course of last year, and we know many of our chapters already are engaged in planning and executing new efforts for the coming year. We have identified twenty-five of the most intriguing projects and have asked those chapters to prepare more extensive articles to share with all chapters. Monthly throughout the coming year, selected projects will be highlighted in various NEHS publications; additionally, in a new partnership with National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), vignettes of the projects will be collected into an article that NCTE will publish in the spring. Special announcements concerning the project articles will be sent to Chapter Advisors.

Joint Sigma Tau Delta Projects

In an effort to encourage partnerships between honor societies, Joint Project Grants are designed to encourage local chapters of Sigma Tau Delta (colleges and universities) and National English Honor Society to join together to develop innovative projects furthering the shared goals of both organizations. Grants for up to $200 ($100 for each participating chapter) will be available for use in a community literacy project. The project must involve BOTH an existing Sigma Tau Delta chapter and an existing National English Honor Society (NEHS) chapter. Jointly, the two chapters will agree on a project that positively impacts their common community. Visit the Joint Project Grants page for more information.