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Encouragement For New NJHS Members

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I am both honored and flattered to have been asked to speak for this wonderful occasion. I congratulate each of you and your parents. Your achievements in the areas of Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Character are being honored here today by your induction into this prestigious society. An honor such as this is a great way for the school and community to recognize and celebrate the choices, and sometimes the sacrifices, you have made. But I believe that what should make you and your parents the most proud is not the actual honor itself, but what you had to do to get it.

The four requirements for membership in which you have excelled: scholarship, leadership, service, and character were not chosen at random. They are the core of a fulfilled and fulfilling life.

The most important thing to remember is that each of these characteristics is the core to a successful life. They embody a positive attitude backed by purpose. The only way to achieve your purpose is to take small actions every day. In the end, they all add up. I hope that you will be inspired to use each of these abilities in your life to better your future.

Scholarship is much more than just getting straight A's. It is a life-long journey of learning. In the end it is a sum of small choices. Each time you decide you WANT to learn something, the experience will be so rewarding that the next time becomes easier.

Soon learning becomes a habit. At that point, you’ll realize that staying focused will not only help you achieve all A’s but it will also help you enjoy the material. The knowledge can still be hard to gain, but knowing you've mastered a difficult subject is an awesome reward. For me, passing Pre-Calculus was one of my biggest achievements. It was a difficult subject, and I absolutely dreaded the class, but because I stayed focused, I was able to pass the class and learn things I never thought I would be able to learn.

Leadership is not about being elected or appointed to an office. The office does not teach someone how to be a leader. Leadership is an attitude built up over time. But how do you become a leader then? Just like I found out through my high school years at Western, each small decision you make takes you one step closer. Holding many different offices throughout the past four years, I have learned how to be a leader, not through the office but through the experiences I was given. Being a leader changed my life in so many positive ways and I know it will yours too.

Just like leadership and scholarship, true service is an attitude. Are you doing it for the right reasons? I'm not saying there won't be Saturday mornings when you would rather sleep in than go to a certain fundraiser, because trust me, there will be.

What I'm talking about is that in the end, when you have finished the task, you can look back and realize that you did something worthwhile. It’s knowing that you helped someone in some way. Community service is one of the most fulfilling tasks you can carry out. Being able to better someone’s life is worth all the time and work invested in it.

Finally, character.

If there is any one thing that is evidenced by your daily choices it is your character. Character is not only what you do in front of people but also what you do when no one is looking. We all know someone who will tear their phone out of their pocket to cheat as soon as the teacher leaves the room, that isn’t good character. While being honest and honorable when others are watching is important, but being honest and honorable when others are not around is virtuous. I understand that sometimes we all get tired of school, tired of homework, and tired of nagging. While it would be easier to slide through life without caring about our futures or our school work, it would not be fulfilling. Only by setting difficult goals and achieving them can we find true self-worth.

One final thing, enjoy your life day by day. Don’t dwell on the past or the future. The things you do now lead to your high school years. More importantly, both now and your high school years lead to your ultimate future. Set goals for yourself and don’t give up until you achieve them. The only person who can stop you from achieving your goals is yourself, so stay dedicated. It will all be over before you know it, so take in every minute!

In conclusion, I want to thank you for letting me speak at this ceremony. I congratulate you for this honor. You are truly the best of the best. Enjoy yourself, and remember as Mother Teresa said, "Life is a promise; fulfill it." Thank you.



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