At Seaside High School, National Honor Society students strive to be exemplary students that excel in the four categories emphasized by the organization: scholarship, service, leadership and character.

“This is really the most recognized academic club there is,” said teacher Mitch Ward, the club’s advisor.

At Seaside High School, students are required to have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 by their junior year to be considered for acceptance into the school’s chapter. Candidates also have to write an essay, and their application is reviewed by a team of faculty members.

The school currently has 45 juniors and seniors in its National Honor Society chapter, but there is no limit to how many could be admitted, Ward said. While the national organization mainly recognizes the students’ academic scholarship, they also are selected based on their outstanding performance as leaders and for serving their community and following a rigorous code of conduct.

“The students that are in (the honor society) work hard for the grades they want and they deserve to be in it,” senior Chloe Bartel, Seaside’s honor society president, said. “It’s also how you are overall as a person.”

The incoming juniors are inducted into the society at an assembly held during the fall of each school year that can be attended by parents and other community members. During the assembly, the officers — who are selected at the end of the previous school year — give speeches about the four pillars of the organization.

Serving alongside Bartel as officers this school year are vice president Chase Januik; treasurer Jenna Logan; sergeant-at-arms Sam Henderson; and secretaries Hayley Rollins and Cori Biamott. The chapter members meet on an as-needed basis throughout the year, usually before their winter fundraiser and community service projects.

Bartel, who is working alongside the nonprofit organization Sea Turtles Forever/Blue Wave to get micro-plastics off Oregon beaches for her senior Pacifica Project, is getting other NHS members involved this year for their community service focus. The NHS chapter has been involved in two beach cleanups alongside the Cannon Beach-based nonprofit, and they plan to do another during Earth Day weekend in April.

The organization’s filtration system sifts microplastics out of the sand so they do not damage the marine ecosystem.

“There is just tons and tons that you try and pick up from the beach,” Bartel said. “It’s important because so many people come to our community. We want the beaches to look nice so they come back.”

She said growing up on the North Coast, surrounded by nature, she and other Seaside students tend to be aware of the need to take care of the environment.

They want to contribute to and take care of “where we live,” she said, adding, “A lot of the community does things for our school, and we should feel the need to give back to them for all they do for us.”

Besides providing a platform for community service, the NHS chapter also gives students a “feather in their cap” that can boost their profile as they apply for admission to various colleges and for scholarships, as well, Ward said.

The recognition also gives the students motivation to maintain their grades and stick to high academic and social standards.

“We should strive to be the top of our classes and be role models for other students,” Bartel said.

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