Scholarship, leadership, service and character. Those qualities describe the more than two dozen Maricopa High School students inducted into the National Honor Society during a ceremony Thursday.
The city’s flagship secondary school filled its performing arts center that night with regimental colors and the glow of candles, with each sconce representing one of the NHS pillars of excellence.
“They’re the students that lead by example, and it’s just a pleasure to be able to work with them and watch them grow and do amazing things,” said Juan Garavito, an NHS sponsor for MHS. “On campus, off campus, on the field, off the field — these kids have so much on their shoulders, and they always come on top.”
Established in Pittsburgh in 1929, the nationwide organization estimates its membership at more than 1 million students. More than 50 of them are budding leaders at MHS — top performers in a school of about 2,000.
“I absolutely love the National Honor Society and the work that they do,” said Eliana Alley, spokesperson for the student leadership nonprofit Arizona DECA.
“I think that the work that they do is really helping to benefit their community and the campus,” Alley said. “They really encourage students to keep good grades and try harder in life.”
Thursday’s ceremony coincided with NHS opening the annual application period for its coveted scholarship, available to just 600 students around the states. In the coming weeks, MHS students will vie for hundreds of thousands of dollars in merit-based awards.
NHS has given more than $23 million in scholarships since 1946.
Members at MHS this year will eclipse 1,000 volunteer hours. It’s a milestone celebrated last week with a presentation of the colors by the MHS Air Force Junior ROTC Color Guard.
Color Guard flagman Dylan McCartie presented the colors for the first time and said he was proud of his fellow reserve officer trainees.
“I would say the color guard team did fairly well,” McCartie said. “I was nervous at first, but after a bunch of practice, I got used to it.”