Yvonne Milliner-Bowsky Elementary School is on the move. On Wednesday, the school inducted 19 of its students into the district’s first National Elementary Honor Society chapter, which recognizes not only high grades but ongoing community service efforts.
The students are all fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders with a grade point average of 3.75 or higher; they have also been active in their community, according to the school’s honor society advisor Trecia Berry-Schmitt.
"This is not just about academics. For the kids to be in this, they also have to show that they are doing things to improve the school and the general community," Berry-Schmitt said after the induction ceremony Wednesday.
"Throughout the year, for example, they have to participate in at least four events that demonstrate the qualities of service, leadership and scholarship. This could be anything from organizing beach cleanups to visiting the elderly, but it is about the whole package."
To keep their membership, students also have to maintain their GPA and regularly attend honor society meetings, along with participating in the organized community service field trips and activities. Berry-Schmitt said she hopes other schools throughout the territory think about joining the NEHS program, which she said inspires students to excel in school and give back.
Students inducted Wednesday were all awarded certificates, which they proudly displayed with their parents after the official ceremony.
"It feels so good to be part of this group,” said Bowsky sixth-grader Lennyha Finley. “It’s exciting."
Finley’s parents, Pamela and Lennard Finley, added later that their daughter is always "excited" about school, especially math, which they said she enjoys better than any other subject.
"She’s always been good with numbers and has more patience with it than anything else," Pamela Finley explained. "She’s always anxious to do her homework and, on the weekends, she helps with her dad’s ice cream business, managing the cash register. I think it’s great that the students get the chance to be recognized for some of the things they are good at, and we’re so very proud of her."
Nearby another proud mother was explaining some of the strategies her family uses at home to help their daughter maintain good grades.
"When we come home, she gets her homework out of the way first and only watches an hour of television," said Karima Thomas-Smith, whose daughter Dejanique Perez, was one of the inductees Wednesday. "She does a lot of extracurricular activities, things that she is interested in, and we try to stay involved with everything that she does."
Also a fan of math, Perez, a fifth-grader, said she was "happy" about becoming a part of the honor society and plans to do everything her advisor requires. "It’s going to be fun," she added.
The keynote speaker Wednesday was Basil Ottley Jr.