The 2019-2020 school year has had more than its share of downs – most notably, school closure in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic – but it is important to focus on the ups and celebrate the achievements of all the students.
One such up for the year was the founding of the Pocahontas County High School Chapter of the National Technical Honor Society. Business education teacher Cammy Kesterson set out at the beginning of the year to start the chapter and despite the school closure, she was able to get applications and recommendations for 21 students to be the first members.
NTHS was founded in 1984 at the National Vocational Technical Society at the H.B. Swofford Career Center in South Carolina and is now in high schools and technical centers throughout the country.
“I was a member of it when I was in Vo-tech in high school – when I was at South Branch in Petersburg in 1997,” Kesterson said.
Knowing what membership in the organization can do for students, Kesterson set out to create the chapter, with principal Joe Riley’s blessing.
“We always have these really good CTE [Career and Technical Education] kids that are really good CTE kids, but they’re not necessarily academic kids, so they don’t always get recognized for the National Honor Society because maybe they are missing some of the fine points,” Kesterson said.
In order to be members of the chapter, students must have a 3.3 GPA, be a completer in at least one CTE field, have a 95 or higher attendance rate and have no out-of-school suspension and fewer than three days of in-school suspension.
The students also fill out applications and have to have a recommendation from the CTE teacher for whom they are a completer and one from an academic teacher.
Senior members of the chapter are: Amelia Rose, Alexa Taylor, Sierra Rodriguez, Kelly Pyne, Charity Morrison, Elizabeth Hefner, Sage McLaughlin, Bill Hardesty, Isaac Evans, Emmet Doolittle, Kylian Dennison and Brody Buzzard.
Underclassmen members Underclassmen members are: Conner Spencer, Silas Riley, Jennalee Meck, Emmalee Dean, Natalie Halterman, Brandon Burns, Allyson Alderman and Makayla Ervine.
Due to the pandemic, Kesterson said the induction ceremony will be postponed until the fall of 2020, but she did register the seniors so that they may receive their certificates and stoles to wear during the graduation ceremony.
The underclassmen will be registered next year in time for the ceremony.
As members of the NTHS, the students get several benefits for their future college/career plans.
“It opens them up to free letters of recommendation from the National Technical Honor Society, and it also gives them opportunities for some scholarships that they can apply for,” Kesterson said. “They have access to the website and their member number, so now, they can just go in and ask for any information they need.”
Although it wasn’t the school year she thought they were going to have, Kesterson said she was happy to start the chapter for the students, many of whom are completers in her courses.
“I’m really close to a lot of these kids,” she said. “The majority of them are my completers. I also have a forestry, an ag and carpentry completer. It’s just nice to see kids get recognized for good things.”