Highland High School inducts 36 students into the local chapter of the National Honor Society

Standing (L-R) Pratix Parikh is nominated by Gregory Pennes at last week’s Highland High School Honor Society ceremonies. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

Standing (L-R) Pratix Parikh is nominated by Gregory Pennes at last week’s Highland High School Honor Society ceremonies. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

Highland High School inducted 36 students into the Terralta Chapter of the National Honor Society in evening ceremonies at the high school on Thursday, April 3. The new inductees joined 20 seniors and 30 juniors in the current membership. Students are eligible for inclusion in the National Honor Society at the end of their sophomore year.

“Four main purposes have guided the chapters of the National Honor Society from the beginning,” said superintendent Deborah Haab. “To create enthusiasm for scholarship, to stimulate a desire to render service, to promote leadership and to develop character.” These four purposes, or “pillars” of the organization as they’re known, also translate into the criteria used for membership selection in each local chapter, she added. “The students who are already members and our students who are being inducted tonight have been held to a very high standard.”


The National Honor Society was established in 1921, “a far less complicated time,” observed Haab, “especially for high school students. While the basics of human nature may not have changed fundamentally, our society and the world in which we live today have changed in major ways since then.” Haab told the assembled students and their parents that the challenges for today’s students are “different and, I believe, far greater today than they were 93 years ago; even ten years or maybe even five years ago.”

Haab spoke of the “distractions and attractions” that can tempt a young person in 2014. “I believe it takes greater personal courage today to be a scholar, to value service to your community, to develop and demonstrate good character and to exhibit these qualities as a leader among your peers.”

The induction ceremonies were presented by the Honor Society’s co-presidents, Tristan Reynolds and Shannon Ward, and officers Alessia Cutugno, Priyanka Dongare, Sarah Kassel and Kenny Ling, who each took a turn speaking about one of the society’s “four pillars” of leadership, service, scholarship and character.

The Terralta Chapter’s new inductees were individually welcomed into the ranks by a current member. Highland High School’s Honor Society now includes new members Kathleen Bodendorf, Ryan Brown, Summer Bugbee, Massimiliano Cutugno, Rachel Eisgruber, Elvis Gadtaula, Paul Hansut, Mason Horodyski, Colin Ivich, Danielle Jonietz, Allison Magee, Gina Marcellino, Travis Marnell, Celina McAleer, Danielle McGrath, Nevin Nedumthakady, Pratix Parikh, Victoria Pflaum, Sara Pironi, Michelle Pirrone, Julia Purdy, Victoria Purdy, Michaela Raffaele, Elizabeth Ramsay, Denise Rendon, Karina Rendon, Paul Rhodes, Delaney Roberson, Alison Rozzi, Randy Saffir, Zane Sullivan, Brandi Sutfin, Brianne Tanner, Shaylyn Timmons, Kaleigh Van De Water and Alfred Worrad.

Principal Peter Harris acknowledged the honor students’ perseverance in accomplishing their goals and the changing definition of that for this generation of students. He spoke about their attention to detail in everything they undertake, and the creativity they’ve demonstrated in finding solutions to problems.

Alan Barone, president of the Highland Central School District Board of Education, commended the students on their time management skills in juggling all of the hours of community service required by the National Honor Society with the extracurricular activities they pursue along with their academics. But as admirable as those things are, he said, “it’s the small things you do every day — those are the things that will define society and those are the things that will define you as individuals.”

Kate Jonietz, president of the Highland Parent Teacher Student Association, took a philosophical bent by quoting the famous Chinese proverb by Lao-tzu: “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” The more literal translation of that proverb, she said, is, “The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet.” Remember where you came from, she told the students; remember the steps you took to get where you’re going. “And the journey begins from where you stand right now.”