National English Honor Society for Secondary Schools (NEHS) was founded in 2005 as an extension of Sigma Tau Delta and Sigma Kappa Delta, the four-year university and two-year college sections, respectively, of the network of organizations focused on honoring academic excellence in English studies. NEHS joins other discipline-specific honor societies at the high school level, recognizing the hard work and dedication of superior achievement. Chapters exist in every part of the country and internationally as well, all dedicated to the importance of literacy and to deepening the understanding, enrichment, education, and joy reading, writing, viewing, and listening provide for life-long learners.
The NEHS motto, "Gelast Sceal Mid Are," Old English for "Duty Goes with Honor," reflects the philosophy of the organization. Members are academically-focused individuals who should responsibly use their skills and abilities as they engage others. The motto affirms and celebrates an obligation to use one's gifts in service to others. Service to peers, school, and community is part and parcel of the NEHS mission—and, indeed, in the grammatical structure of the Old English phrase, "duty" actually precedes "honor."
The Value of Membership
Members of NEHS have been recognized nationally for their accomplishments in English studies as well as overall academic achievement. Members are eligible to apply for scholarships and awards, deepen their understanding of the English language arts, are able to show distinction on college and job applications, develop leadership skills, and enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded peers and mentors.
Membership is only available by invitation from a chapter; individual memberships are not permitted. If your student’s school does not currently have an NEHS chapter, contact the English department chairperson or a school administrator about establishing one. All schools value the mark of excellence honor societies provide to the schools’ reputations.
This Directory will provide information on existing chapters within your state.
Transfer of Membership
If your student is a member of an active NEHS chapter and must transfer to a school with an existing chapter, simply request a letter from the Chapter Advisor verifying membership. It may be necessary to meet the new school’s membership criteria within one semester of the transfer since schools may decide to add membership expectations beyond those set forth in the NEHS Constitution.
Membership in NEHS does not automatically transfer to Sigma Kappa Delta or Sigma Tau Delta as students move into higher educational institutions.
Scholarships and Awards
NEHS offers thousands of dollars in scholarships. Additionally, competitive awards are available for participating in the Intellectual Freedom Challenge, for creative writing, and for summer study programs.
Members, parents, and others can order NEHS merchandise using the link below.