St. Marys Area High School recognized the academic excellence of juniors and seniors as part of the school's annual National Honor Society (NHS) program on Wednesday evening.
Among those honored were 43 first-year junior members, 35 second-year senior members and two seniors who were first-year members.
The evening began with a dinner, during which SMAHS senior Rebecca Arnold gave the invocation.
Students and their families then gathered inside the SMAHS Carpin Auditorium for the initiation ceremony into the Dr. Walter Black Chapter of the National Honor Society.
Following the student procession, Shanea Ehrensberger and Jamie VanAlstine lit the Torch of Knowledge.
Shelby Zomcik acted as the mistress of ceremonies and offered opening remarks, as well as introducing student speakers Gianna DeMuro, Keith Meyer, Brittany Orr and Megan Barber. Each student spoke about each of the four qualities exhibited by NHS members: scholarship, character, leadership and service.
"When you consider what it means to be a true scholar, it becomes evident that scholarship extends beyond knowing. It is making a commitment to learning, and investing your time in understanding and applying the things you learn," DeMuro said. "It is your application of knowledge that allows you to be a productive member in society, to be a part of the bigger picture. Though it is an investment of time, the rewards of being a scholar, a cultured member of society, are vast and never-ending."
"My personal favorite recipe is optimism, honesty, compassion, eclecticism, and respectfulness all smothered in a general drive to loose good upon the world," added Meyer about describing the traits of good character.
Next, Orr spoke about the qualities of leadership.
"Anyone can be a leader in their school, sport, workplace, or in their group of friends. It all comes down to a single person taking initiative and motivating others to keep their heads held high and do what is best for themselves, others and society," Orr said. "The motto I always try to use is, 'lead by example.' By leading through example and not words, others are more likely to actually want to follow and succeed. A leader is someone who shows that all things are possible; even when things get tough, they push through to accomplish dreams and goals for themselves and others."
Orr added that a leader is someone whose actions speaks louder than words, directs others to do the right thing and learns from their mistakes.
"Service can be as little as offering a smile to someone who is having a bad day, or as profound as saving lives in the ER. Nobody can tell what the future holds, and this is why our service is of such great importance," said Barber. "We were meant to serve each other, and looking back, I think that most of us would agree we are happiest when we are improving the lives of others. Hopefully, we looked at the National Honor Society service hour requirement not as a burden, but as a way to give back something to the community."
SMAHS faculty member Michele Tripodi then introduced the second-year NHS members, who were each presented with a certificate by Principal Josh Williams.
Second-year seniors are: Rebecca Arnold, Megan Barber, Jessica Bauer, Rachel Baxter, Morgan Cartwright, Courtney Cunningham, Kayla DeMonte, Gianna DeMuro, Kelly Dietz, Elizabeth Dollinger, Shanea Ehrensberger, Bobbi Fox, Nicholas Keller, Shannon Krieg, Justin Krishart, Megan Longhi, Chelsea Luchini, Keith Meyer, Brandon Orr, Brittany Orr, AnnJanett Prechtl, Dylan Reigel, Jenna Rhodes, Connor Rohrback, Robert Rollick, Shelbie Schatz, Natalie Schwer, Tyler Shields, Rebecca Showers, Ryan Uhl, Jamie VanAlstine, Jordan Weinzierl, Dylan Weisner, Kindred Wiseman and Shelby Zomcik.
Steven Bauer, SMAHS faculty member, provided background information on Dr. Walter Black, a former St. Marys resident, for whom the chapter was named.