National Honor Society Definitions of Character, Leadership, Service


The leadership criterion is considered highly important for membership selection. Some Faculty Councils may wish to interpret leadership in terms of number of offices a student has held in school or community organizations, although it is important to recognize that leadership also exists outside elected positions including effective participation in other co-curricular activities offered on campus. Leadership roles in both the school and community may be considered, provided they can be verified. The student who exercises leadership:  is resourceful in proposing new problems, applying principles, and making suggestions; demonstrates initiative in promoting school activities; exercises positive influence on peers in upholding school ideals; contributes ideas that improve the civic life of the school; is able to delegate responsibilities; exemplifies positive attitudes; inspires positive behavior in others; demonstrates academic initiative; successfully holds school offices or positions of responsibility; conducts business effectively and efficiently; demonstrates reliability and dependability; is a leader in the classroom, at work, and in other school or community activities; is thoroughly dependable in any responsibility accepted; and is willing to uphold scholarship and maintain a loyal school attitude.  A minimum of 3 leadership experiences is required to be considered for membership.
Character is probably the most difficult criterion to define. The Faculty Council should consider the positive as well as the negative aspects of character. All judgments in this and other selection criteria should be free of speculation and rumor. National Honor Society is a member of the Character Counts! Coalition. Through this activity, the society supports and recommends the use of a multi-faceted definition of character known as the “Six Pillars of Character.” A person of character demonstrates the following six qualities:  respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, fairness, caring, and citizenship. In addition, it can also be said that the student of character:  takes criticism willingly and accepts recommendations graciously; Consistently exemplifies desirable qualities of behavior (cheerfulness, friendliness, poise, stability); upholds principles of morality and ethics; cooperates by complying with school regulations concerning property, programs, office halls, etc.; demonstrates the highest standards of honesty and reliability; regularly shows courtesy, concern, and respect for others; observes instructions and rules, is punctual, and faithful both inside and outside the classroom; has powers of concentration, self-discipline, and sustained attention as shown by perseverance and application to studies; manifests truthfulness in acknowledging obedience to rules, avoiding cheating in written work, and showing unwillingness to profit by the mistakes of others; and actively helps rid the school of bad influences or environment

Service is generally considered to be those actions undertaken by the student which are done with or on behalf of others without any direct financial or material compensation to the individual performing the service. In considering service, the contributions this candidate has made to school, classmates, and community, as well as the student's attitude toward service can be reviewed. The student who serves:  volunteers and provides dependable and well organized assistance, is gladly available, and is willing to sacrifice to offer assistance; works well with others and is willing to take on difficult or inconspicuous responsibilities; cheerfully and enthusiastically renders any requested service to the school; is willing to represent the class or school in inter-class and inter-scholastic competition; does committee and staff work without complaint; participates in some activity outside of school, for example, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, church groups, volunteer service for the elderly, poor, or disadvantaged; mentors persons in the community or students at other schools; and shows courtesy by assisting visitors, teachers, and students. Candidates will need at least 25 hours of community service to be considered for membership