By Caroline Adams
Volume 69, Issue II
Briarcliff High School students can be inducted into five honor societies, including the National Honor Society, Math Honor Society, Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, and National Honor Society for Dance Arts. A few notable subjects have been left off the BHS roster. Briarcliff offers no English, Science, or Language Honor Societies, and with such absences, the district is an outlier. The school does not measure up to several neighboring districts, which offer a wider variety of honor societies.
Pleasantville has a broad array of honor societies—Science, English, French, Spanish, Italian, and even Speech and Debate, in addition to the ones that Briarcliff High School offers. Westlake offers most of these, as well. So why does Briarcliff High School, which prides itself on excellence in academics, not offer these options to students?
Starting a school honor society chapter entails finding a teacher willing to head the chapter, having him or her fill out an online application, and sending in a $100-$200 fee. Once these steps are completed and it is ascertained that there are enough students school to fill the spots, you’re in.
Ms. Mandel, BHS’s English Department Chair, said that in order to start a chapter of an English Honor Society several steps must be followed. According to Mandel:
- An advisor needs to agree to run the society and see administration about it.
- The Board of Education needs to approve the chapter and green light all requisite money and fees.
- The advisor needs to determine the rules and regulations of the honor society.
- Eligibility parameters and timelines need to be adopted, modified, and enacted.
Ms. Mandel said she had spoken to the department about starting an English Honor Society, but the idea has not yet taken root. Briarcliff High School can easily offer additional honor societies, enabling students to demonstrate their excellence in more subjects. Students and staff need to advocate for these opportunities in subjects such as English, French, Italian, and Spanish. Those interested in starting an additional subject-oriented honor society should consider contacting the corresponding department head to initiate a BHS chapter.