The Oakridge School parents, faculty, staff, and friends gathered in the Fine Arts Performance Hall on Thursday, March 21 to celebrate 39 Middle School students inducted into the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS). The NJHS is the nation's premier organization established to recognize outstanding middle level students.
The Oakridge School's new NJHS members include 8th grade students: James Dolloff, Amir Reza Khalili, Raquel Lohler, Ryan Olatunji, Mark Wright, and Safia Yunus.
The 7th grade students are: Sophia Anderson, Independence Atwood, Isaac Baeza, Fiona Bagley, Jessica Batrice, Julie Batrice, Jai Bhakta, Victoria Carpenter, Madison Cary, Samantha Cleveland, Shavaughn Dunson, Ahmad Farah, Emma Foster, Julian Fowler, Jackson Graham, Tyler Hall, Sophie Hoang, Landon Hodges, Jacqueline Hutton, Aaron Jones, Bryce Key, Marco LaRovere, Jennifer Lee, Joy Lewis, Lucas Long, Mohammad Mahrouq, Sophia Mirzaei, Jacob O'Connor, Audrey Pettigrew, Marissa Robertson, Matthew Rogers, Ryan Sears, and Sydney Tran.
The 2019 NJHS inductees heard words of wisdom and encouragement from Dr. Curby Alexander, an Associate Professor of Professional Practice in the TCU College of Education. He discussed taking chances and moving beyond one's comfort zone. He also encouraged authenticity, empathy, kindness, honesty, hard work, and being teachable. Dr. Alexander left the students to ponder what he called three truths:
- You don't have to be perfect, but you do need to take risks and challenge yourself in those areas where you haven't fully developed and align yourself for growth;
- The best version of yourself is when you direct your attention towards serving someone else;
- Smart people don't just conquer all the answers. They are also not afraid of the hard questions.
"Any task can make us come alive when we look past how it makes us feel," said Dr. Alexander. "You never really know yourself until you've served others."
Head of School Jon Kellam expressed pride in the students and their achievements, and acknowledged the support of the students' parents, grandparents and grandfriends, and other family members in attendance.
Before membership certificates were presented, the new NJHS students took the society pledge. NJHS President Eshan Singhal, Vice President Kristina Miller, and Officers Lauren Backman, Daniel Bird, and Rachel Trimble each lit one of five candles that symbolized scholarship, leadership, service, character and citizenship. Faculty adviser for the NJHS and NHS is Dr. Amy Alsip, a Middle School English and Public Speaking Specialist.
More than just an honor roll, NJHS serves to honor those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership, character, and citizenship. These characteristics have been associated with membership in the organization since its beginning in 1929.