WHS Spanish National Honor Society holds induction ceremony
April 4, 2017
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On Wednesday, March 22, 32 students were inducted into the Wayland chapter of the Spanish National Honor Society during a ceremony held in the lecture hall. The students are the first new inductees after a decades-long hiatus.
The Spanish National Honor Society, or Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, is a national organization founded in 1953 and sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. It has chapters across the United States, and WHS Spanish teachers Melissa Bryant and Nicole Haghdoust have taken the positions of advisors for the chapter at Wayland, thus bringing it back to the high school.
According to Bryant, it has been a long time since WHS had such an organization.
“In years past… at least 20 years ago, there was a chapter here,” Bryant said. “The idea [with bringing the chapter back] is to promote Spanish, and we’re hoping that in future years, the other languages may follow suit and open up a chapter for French, Mandarin or Latin.”
The society is specifically designed to honor select students taking the Spanish courses at the High School.
“It’s for students who excel in Spanish and can dedicate themselves to doing different types of service throughout the year,” Haghdoust said. “Students get a notice saying that they’re eligible to participate and to be a member of our society, and then they need to fill out an application.”
The details regarding academic prerequisites are fairly complicated, but members must achieve high grades in some of the highest level Spanish classes offered at the high school.
“The way that it works is that you have to be currently enrolled in an upper-level Spanish course such as Spanish 4 or 5,” junior and chapter co-president Elizabeth Greenberg said. “You also have to have had an A- or better for three semesters in that course and in the course you took the previous year.”
To be inducted, students must also participate in community service in relation to Latin-American culture or Spanish speaking.
“[Each] quarter [all] students will do a work of service,” Bryant said. “[From] a list of things that goes from agreeing to help a teacher in their classroom with students, to tutoring another student; [from] working on a fundraiser to… volunteering to come to a lunch and chat group that we have that is Spanish that’s biweekly throughout the year.”
While noting the society’s selectivity, Bryant emphasized that students who are not inducted should not feel demeaned.
“We feel that all of our students have value and do a great job and should be celebrated,” Bryant said. “You hope that the Honor Society doesn’t become something that’s elitist and somehow leaves people out.”
The ceremony loosely followed an official guideline which the advisors “took the liberty of making [theirs],” as Bryant put it. It included speeches regarding the chapter and the importance of bilingualism as well as a candle lighting and poem recitation. The ceremony was primarily led by Greenberg and her co-president, junior Jaylen Wang, in addition to junior Lindsey Barnard, who is secretary of the society.
“We’re mainly representatives of the students in the society,” Greenberg said of her position. “[Wang] and I work together to organize different events… we also help with the induction ceremony and we communicate with the members making sure everybody does community service.”
Greenberg expressed optimism regarding the inductees.
“[They’re] a group of students at the high school who have all worked hard to become good Spanish students and are involved in the Latin-American community,” Greenberg said.
Bryant was also optimistic for the potential impact of the organization at the High School.
“We’re hoping that [the students], along with us, promote throughout the school the idea of the importance of learning another language; the idea of having a window into other cultures, and having a perspective that’s different because you learn another language,” Bryant said. “Our world is really global, and we think that learning a second language or a third is a way to cross boundaries and open up yourself to the notion of compromise and working with other people to solve world problems.”