If this message is not displaying properly, click here to launch your browser.

October 3, 2011


Upcoming Dates


Nov. 1 - Common Reader essay prompts for NEHS Scholarship applications will be posted.


Dec. 1 - Project Grants Application Deadline

Welcome New Chapters

Milton High School
Chapter: Milton High School
Milton, GA

Oswego High School
Chapter: Oswego High School
Oswego, IL

Socastee High School
Chapter: Mildred L. Shuford NEHS
Myrtle Beach, SC

Wesleyan School
Chapter: Wesleyan School
Norcross, GA


Students and faculty, join us on Facebook for up-to-date news and discussion.

NEHS for high schools


In This Issue

  1. New Scholarships
  2. Chapter Project Grants
  3. Chapter Report Ideas
  4. Intellectual Freedom Project
  5. NEHS Connect

October—beautiful weather, mid-semester assessments, school routines firmly established—a great time to be engaged in education. Equally wonderful is having the opportunity to work with NEHS chapters and their eager members. We in the National Office so enjoy the opportunity of working with all of you and continuing the task of expanding our organization to the benefit of other students, faculty, schools, and communities.

This issue of NEHSXpress includes news about decisions made by the Sigma Tau Delta Board of Directors in September as well as information about the upcoming Scholarship process, an Intellectual Freedom project, Chapter Project Grants, and more highlights from the annual reports. Please send comments, suggestions, and/or news about your chapter activities to NEHS Director, Dave Wendelin.

New Scholarships

Exciting news— members of the Board of Directors of Sigma Tau Delta, the sponsoring organization for National English Honor Society, approved the recommendation to increase the total amount of NEHS scholarships to $16,000 for the coming year, an increase of $5,000. The amount for the William C. Johnson scholarship has increased to $4,000; the Advisory Council scholarship increased to $2,500, and an additional $2,500 award was approved. Additionally, there now will be an honorable mention category for scholarship applicants, allowing us to award smaller amounts up to a total of $1,000 to students submitting excellent scholarship essays that do not quite rise to the top levels during the evaluation process. View scholarship information details.

The prompts for the scholarships based on the common reader for this year, Old School by Tobias Wolfe, will be posted on the NEHS website on November 1. The novel must be read by scholarship applicants who then submit essays based on one of the prompts provided. Essays will be due by January 23, 2012. For more information about the novel, see: The New Canon or The Big Read.

Project Grants

Applications for a limited number of NEHS project grants for second semester of this school year may now be submitted. Grant funds are available for up to $200. 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.

Read Project Grants for more information; applications may be submitted through December 1, 2011. Another set of grants intended to be used during the first semester of the 2012-2013 school year will be announced in the spring.

Chapter Report Ideas

Throughout this year, we will share information from the Annual Chapter Reports so that all are able to benefit by reading of the amazing efforts being done by chapters throughout the organization. Go to: Great Chapter Activity Ideas —the list will grow each month!

Intellectual Freedom Project

Banned Books Week was September 24-October 1. While educators do not often assign literature simply because some organization or individual has suggested the text be banned, we do see that a critical aspect of education, perhaps centered most significantly in English classrooms, is to develop in students an understanding of the importance of intellectual freedom in a democracy. Across the country and, indeed, around the world, students select or are assigned texts that may contain ideas or actions that might be questioned and challenged by someone else.

NEHS, in partnership with Sigma Tau Delta, is launching an Intellectual Freedom Project that will encourage students to write essays based on such a text. These essays will initially be evaluated by university/college students from Sigma Tau Delta chapters; finalists’ essays will be further assessed by members of the NEHS Advisory Council. The writers of the best essays will be given monetary awards and their essays will be forwarded to the National Council of Teachers of English for possible inclusion in that organization’s file of Rationales for Frequently Challenged Books.

This is an early notification of this project; essays will not be due until April 1, 2012. However, we wanted to make NEHS chapter sponsors and members aware of this effort so that students are able to consider using a text read or assigned during first semester as well as those planned for study during second semester. Individual chapters will be limited to submitting no more than two (2) entries; this project will be open to all NEHS members regardless of grade level.

For more information, see the NCTE Guideline on The Students' Right to Read.

NEHS Connect

As the school year continues, new NEHS Advisors often have by now assumed responsibility for NEHS chapters while veteran Advisors continue in their past roles. If there have been changes in faculty sponsorship, PLEASE enroll the new Faculty Advisor in NEHS Connect.. We appreciate your willingness to use the system for all of your member registration and membership fee payment. As reminders: Advisors MUST enter their newest members and pay fees using NEHS Connect rather than submitting the names via paperwork. We have established a unique email address for advisors to utilize to pose any questions or to get further information: nehsconnect@niu.edu should be used for that purpose.

NEHS, Department of English, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115-2863
E-mail nehs@niu.edu, © 2011 NEHS, all rights reserved