LAHAINA - The National Honor Society program in the United States represents the country's best and brightest high school leaders. Juniors and seniors across the nation are part of the organization that began in 1921 to bring out the best of every school's scholars to become positive action proponents in their communities.
That initiative has not been lost out here on this isolated island in the middle of the Pacific. Guided by Advisor Ashley Olson, the National Honor Society Chapter at Lahainaluna High School has become an integral part of the tightly woven fabric that is the character of the historic campus.
The bright minds and integrity of the selected students - based on scholarship, leadership, service and character, as evaluated by a faculty panel - have become the foundation of the student influence not only academically, but in the development and propagation of a steadfast community.
Pictured at the National Honor Society induction ceremony are (from left): front — Bridgette Cuaresma, Anthony Simon, Michelle Lazarte, Jefferlyn Tagayuna, Joanna Aceret, Ericson Lago, Danielle Sulliban, Kathleen Yagyagan and Paola Lara; back row — Max Becerra, Tiffany Cao, Kerek Franz, Mark Cabida, Kamal Golaube, Calen Matsuda, Mike Nguyen and Fritz Ruiz. Not pictured is Anis Bel, who was inducted at a small classroom ceremony. PHOTO BY JON SHIGAKI.
Each school year about this time, the incoming NHS inductees are introduced at a ceremony on campus, and a week later, the graduating senior members are recognized at a special dinner event (usually held at Gerard's Restaurant in Lahaina), where they receive the distinctive blue stoles and honor cords that are worn at the graduation ceremony.
The new members were inducted in a ceremony on May 12 in the school cafeteria. Sen. Roz Baker was the guest speaker.
Vice Principal Joanne Dennis presented the new inductees with certificates of membership and membership cards. The list included juniors Mark Cabida, Tiffany Cao, Kerek Franz, Paola Lara, Anthony Simon and Jefferlyn Tagayuna; as well as sophomomres Joanna Aceret, Max Becerra, Anis Bel, Bridgette Cuaresma, Kamal Golaube, Ericson Lago, Michelle Lazarte, Calen Matsuda, Mike Nguyen, Fritz Ruiz, Danielle Sulliban and Kathleen Yagyagan.
In addition to President Stephanie Lawless, Vice President Kirsten Gilchrist, Secretary Kailey Sager, Treasurer Paige Pasion and Historian Jessa Emmerich, senior honorees are Jereene Agbayani, Maile Altier, Maile Amine, Kaegil Concepcion, Juleen Flory, Arlnjy Fontanos, Karen Galuardo, Candace Hanneman, Rose Millard, Zoe Miller, Tracey-Anne Panlasigui, Mary Varquez, Lorilei Visitacion and Breea Yamat. Junior members are Nicole Aceret, Chantelle Baclay, Jazzlyn Bonds, Katya Brody, Meilani Galace, Beatriz Haro, Rana-Ann Sarian, Kaile Stockham, Will Thornbecke and Cuong Tran.
After induction into NHS, members are expected to participate in all NHS-sponsored community service activities, as well as complete one individual service project per quarter.
In past years, this has included work details at Lahaina Plantation Days, after school tutoring and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. In the first semester of this year, eligible students will be volunteering at West Maui polling sites for the primary and general elections.
The NHS at Lahainaluna is not all work and no play, and area businesses do show appreciation for all that the students accomplish. On May 18, the current members will enjoy a snorkel cruise aboard the Queen's Treasure, a Kaanapali catamaran, and on May 21, the seniors will enjoy the aforementioned dinner event at Gerard's Restaurant.
Congratulations to all of the members and aloha and mahalo to the graduating senior members for their contributions to the sterling tradition of Lahainaluna High School.