Joseph F. Berenato
Hammonton inducts 50 into National Honor Society
On February 25, the annual induction ceremony for Hammonton High School’s Chapter 1274 of the National Honor Society (NHS) was presented virtually on the school’s website.
The society welcomed 50 new members into its ranks.
Hammonton High School principal Thomas Ramsay noted the unprecedented nature of the video in his welcoming remarks.
“Welcome to the first totally virtual National Honor Society induction ceremony in the history of Hammonton High School. We all wish current conditions in the world were different, and that we were able to have a more traditional, in-person ceremony, but that is, unfortunately, not possible, due to the global pandemic,” Ramsay said.
In her opening remarks, president Kristin Adirzone noted that, despite the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), students have continued to persevere.
“Throughout the pandemic, keeping up with academics has been challenging for many students. From adapting to any new schedule thrown at us, learning from home and keeping up with assignments, the school year has not been easy. Though these adjustments have been inconvenient, these obstacles have not affected our members of the National Honor Society,” Adirzone said.
Adirzone also explained the cardinal principles of the National Honor Society: scholarship, leadership, service and character.
“The emblems of this society are the keystone and the flaming torch. The keystone bears, at its base, the letters S, L, S and C, which stand for the cardinal principles of this organization: scholarship, leadership, service and character. It is at this time that we proclaim to all in attendance that membership in the Hammonton High School Chapter 1274 of the National Honor Society has been earned by these candidates through the effective demonstration of the four qualities that serve as standards for the society,” Adirzone said.
Vice-President Abigail Smith spoke regarding the quality of scholarship, which, she said, is something toward which every member strives.
“The hours put into study and working, along with countless assignments and due dates, are what put NHS members on the road to success. A student that exhibits scholarship allows them to be fueled by their need for knowledge, and opens their mind to an ongoing and everlasting education. Through hard work and dedication, a lifetime of success and achievement awaits those who put their education at the forefront of their lives,” Smith said.
Gabriella Gherardi, National Honor Society secretary, spoke about leadership, noting that to be a leader “does not mean to simply possess a title.”
“Rather, a leader is someone who their peers can look up to and take inspiration from. Each student here tonight should be proud to be called a leader. They take charge of their teams, clubs and other aspects of their lives. Not only is each one of these students intelligent, driven and dependable, they also know how to treat everyone with kindness and compassion, something not everyone is able to do. A leader lifts others up; they make others feel seen and heard. They inspire self-confidence and empowerment,” Gherardi said.
Treasurer Mia Bullaro then explained the pillar of service.
“Members are faced with the challenge of balancing their schoolwork, sports, clubs and jobs, while also fitting in at least five hours of community service a month. We also have the responsibility to fulfill the 100-hour minimum requirement by graduation—which sounds like a daunting task; however, each member is a young, responsible adult, and successfully manages their time and completes their duties,” Bullaro said.
Bullaro said that the pandemic has added challenges in the completion of the service hour requirements.
“Our members have done really well with adapting to the abnormal times while also keeping in line with the CDC guidelines. We’ve cleaned up the Hammonton Lake Park, volunteered at the fall festivals in town and volunteered at the food bank. We’ve also made letters to send to the Hammonton rehab center, wrote letters to veterans and helped out the fire department with their Letters to Santa program. As members of the National Honor Society, we focus on service and helping out our community, but we also focus on being adaptive and flexible in order to deal with all of life’s challenges thrown our way,” Bullaro said.
Historian MacKenzie Esposito explained the importance of character.
“When we are born, we do not have the knowledge of character; it is something we learn as we grow. However, we cannot learn it on our own. The people who raise us are the first to plant the seed of character into our minds, and those we surround ourselves with are the water and sunlight that help character thrive and grow. Character plays a role in our thoughts, actions and decisions. Most of all, our character shows who we are. Even though character is planted and shaped by others, it soon becomes a part of ourselves, and it is the foundation for the other three pillars of the National Honor Society: service, scholarship and leadership,” Esposito said.
Adirzone then presented the symbol and colors of the National Honor Society.
“In a traditional ceremony, a keystone would be placed by a builder to hold a perfect arch in perpetual stability, so the structure of our education must be held firm and true by the virtues represented by this symbol. Our colors, blue and gold, are a symbol of our motto. Blue is the symbol of truth, and gold is the light with which truth radiates through the world,” Adirzone said.
Ramsay explained the four criteria for membership into the National Honor society.
“The student must be academically eligible. Second, all academically eligible students must complete a student activity information form. Next, the entire faculty participates in the completion of a reference for the students who submitted the student activity information form,” Ramsay said.
Ramsay said that five members of the faculty are selected to serve on the faculty council.
“They review the student activity information forms, the results of the faculty reference survey and the grade point average of each individual student. The final selection is made by the majority vote of the faculty council. Because of the stringent standards, not everyone who is eligible for membership is always selected. This is unfortunate; but, nevertheless, it develops a standard that a student must strive to achieve,” Ramsay said.
Adirzone presented the candidates for membership. As each candidate’s name was read, a slide was shown featuring their name and photo. Afterwards, Adirzone explained the importance of the torch in a symbolic candle lighting.
“The flaming torch is a symbol of our purpose: to carry forward the searching light of truth; to lead, that others may follow in the light; and to keep burning in our school a high ambition for truth and honor. Thus, it is fitting that our motto is ‘Light is the symbol of truth,’” Adirzone said.
Adirzone then administered the National Honor Society pledge to the new inductees, and presented the candidates to Ramsay for acceptance as members.
“It’s an honor and a privilege for me to accept these students as members into the National Honor Society. They certainly are to be congratulated for their outstanding accomplishments and a job well done. Congratulations are also in order for the parents and the guardians. Your students do not attain this level of success by accident, and we greatly appreciate your support and commitment to education,” Ramsay said.
Ramsay also recognized the efforts of Myra-Lynn Doughty, the advisor for the National Honor Society.
“On behalf of the members of the National Honor Society, we would like to thank Mrs. Doughty for all that she does throughout the year and for helping coordinate another fine induction ceremony. And, thank you to the members of the faculty council for all of their time and energy in the selection of tonight’s inductees,” Ramsay said.
Current members from the Class of 2021 were Gabrielle Abruzzese, Adirzone, Lauren Baltera, Jared Beebe, Luca Berenato, Hannah Brown, Bullaro, Olivia Catania, Ryan Craig, Marjorie Cruz, Matthew DeFiccio, Joshua Delgado, Lucas DeStefano, Greta Drach, Makenzie Edwards, Esposito, Abigail Fahy, Gherardi, Matthew Grasso, Cole Griscom, Audrey Gruehn, Laura Herman, Aiva Hornback, Brenna Lamon, Kaiden Lieberman, Matthew Littlefield, Lindsey Martin, Danielle McManus, Sarah Mento, Lily Miller, Madilyn Mortelliti, Laura Nicholls, Yashvi Patel, Annabella Peretti, Joseph Perna, Alyssa Petulla, Hayley Pitts, Laurel Pondish, Kelsey Reynolds, Lily Rhoads, Isabella Rivera, Jordyn Robinson, Caitlyn Salita, John Shinske, Grace Shively, Smith, Alyssa Sorce, Olivia Strigh, Ariana Treminio, Sarah Viruet and Selina Yang.
Inductees from the Class of 2021 were: Emily Dustman, Nicholas Esposito, Paul Hackett, Brett Longo, Kirstin Reese, Amber Schuster, Nygel Waugh and Alyssa Whittaker.
The inductees from the Class of 2022 were: John Andaloro, Francesco Angelastro, Emma Barnett, Will Bauers, Anahi Boone, Victoria Borode, Carli Caldwell, Glyza Canovas, Elizabeth Chesebro, Ava Chiofalo, Pat Christopher, Joseph Corma, Nicole Damico, Angel DiGianivittorio, Sava Evangelista, Olivia Falciani, Andrew Gollihur, Kristen Hare, Leigh-Anne Jones, Dylan Kappauf, Alyssa Kelsey, Luke Kozlowski, Joseph Linneman, Victoria Marandino, Madison Markart, Stephen Mertis, Olivia Osborne, Michael Passarella, Anthony Polito, Ashton Richards, Vienna Robin, Ava Rodio, Declan Roeder, Elyse Ryan, Hannah Santora, Eve Sheehan, Mason Sherman, Donavan Spencer, Ryan Stanziale, Nicholas Stephan, Christopher Volk and Emily Walters.