According to Mahatma Gandhi, there are seven deadly sins which plague this world.
“Wealth without work.
Pleasure without conscience.
Science without humanity.
Knowledge without character.
Politics without principle.
Commerce without morality.
Worship without sacrifice.”
He was not the only one to see such problems within the human condition, however. The National Honor Society (NHS), a national organization of high school juniors and seniors, distinguished by their moral standings as well as their academic performances, lives by a set of values that seem to counter these troubling issues.
Scholarship, character, leadership, service; these are the characteristics that guide members of the NHS.
And it was the task of the five incumbent members of the Hilltop Chapter of the NHS to impart these ideals upon those joining their number at the school’s Induction Ceremony Thursday night. Such a task should never be taken lightly, even if just a single person were to come into the fold, given the nature and gravity of the four characteristics. The Hilltop NHS wasn’t bringing in just a single member, however.
They were inducting thirty new members.
Chosen by a panel of five Hilltop School Staff members, who themselves were appointed by the returning five NHS members, the new members were selected based on the criteria of maintaining at least a 3.5 Grade Point Average. The inductees also had to pass a majority vote by the selection council as well.
With the Commons Area of the Hilltop School Building wrapped in complete darkness, save for a bit of light permeating through from the adjoining hallway, the ambience for the ceremony was a soft and humble one. Before the students joining the NHS were announced, several speakers took to the podium. Superintendent Larry Long was amongst them.
“I thank each and every one of you for the leadership and direction you’ve given your children.” Long addressed the parents in the crowd, before turning his attention to the inductees. “This honor is something you will have, and hopefully cherish, for the rest of your lives.”
The five members of the NHS then took their turns lighting five different candles, each representing a certain aspect of the Society.
NHS President Erik Stipe was the first to act, lighting a candle sitting on a table in the middle of the stage.
“I am the spirit of the torch.” Stipe spoke for the flame. “I represent the National Honor Society.”
Adrian Yates went next, using the initial flame to light a candle representing character.
“Character is achieved, not received.” Informed Yates, also noting that character is the final goal of education.
That seems to deny the premise of knowledge without character quite definitively.
Lighting a candle in the name of scholarship, Jalen Towers took his turn after Yates.
“I am the preparation for brighter service to mankind.”
Towers’ words stand directly in contradiction with the idea of science without humanity.
Jami Burdine lit the leadership candle.
“Leadership is thinking and acting for many.”
Such a task would most certainly eliminate the very notions of politics without principle and commerce without morality, as these are the motivations of one who thinks only of himself.
Finally, Shayla Coffman gave light to the service candle.
“Service is given, not only to our friends, but to our foes.”
Service in and of itself goes against the premise of wealth without work, but giving it to foes as well as friends, that is most certainly putting conscience before pleasure.
And as each new inductee was tapped by a current member of the NHS, walked up to the stage, and had their own candles lit, they took on a responsibility that puts sacrifice miles ahead of any worship they would receive.
With an astounding thirty new members added to the Hilltop NHS ranks, Gandhi would surely be proud of the commitment so many Hilltop youths have made.