NHS GPA Requirement for NW one of Highest in the State

Emphasis on scholarship is possibly too high

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NHS GPA Requirement for NW one of Highest in the State

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The Northwest High School National Honor Society has one of the highest GPA requirements in the state of North Carolina. 

“We are currently in the process of revising our GPA requirement for the next school year,” said NHS adviser Gwen Stencler.

As of this application year, the GPA requirement is a weighted 4.2, which is a number much higher than the national standard. According to the NHS website, schools can set their own requirements for GPA, but the minimum requirement is an 85/B average, or a 3.0 in a 4.0 scale. 

The GPA requirement is set by the NHS committee at the school, which includes both advisers; Rhonda Hudson and Stencler, and also principal Ralph Kitley.

“I think the Honor Society should be inclusive, and everyone should have an opportunity to be a member,” said Kitley. “Having said that, we are looking to make the GPA requirement a 3.75 unweighted.”

Northwest is a very competitive school. Most students will take at least one AP recognition before they graduate. Being part of the Honor Society gives these students an honor for their academic achievement, an edge on college applications and a medal at graduation. But is it fair to students who are not enrolled in these higher level classes?

This is where the controversy of having such a high GPA requirement begins. 

“Moving to a 3.75 unweighted, puts us in line with other schools like Grimsley and Reagan, but it is more inclusive because you don’t need to have all AP classes or all honors in order to get in,” Kitley said. 

On a weighted scale, the GPA requirement excludes students who do not take honors or AP classes. The maximum GPA they can acquire is a 4.0 because they can’t get the extra .5 to 1 GPA point that comes with honors or AP credit classes. 

Some students simply do not want to take these highly rigorous courses. The heavy workloads and accelerated coursework can get in the way of student lives which are full of sports, jobs, clubs and other extracurricular activities which are also time demanding. 

“We want to maintain the honor of the Honor Society,” Stencler said. “We want students to feel accomplished and reward them for their hard work.”

The Northwest National Honor Society chapter will continue to uphold their four pillars of Character, Leadership, Scholarship and Service in the school and the community. Their biggest focus this year is leaving a larger impact with community outreach and volunteering.

“Most NWHS students represent the four pillars every day,” Ashley Royal, a parent representative of the School Based Leadership Team, said. “I do think it’s extremely important for students to know what the qualifications are so they can be prepared.”

Students are expected to be leading examples in their community every day. The pillars are the values that must be upheld by the society on a daily basis. NHS focuses on acting with the pillar of service within the school and the community as more members join. In order to be a part of NHS, these students have to reflect their good character in their application. 

“We would like to see more peer tutoring at the school,” Kitley said.

NHS encourages its members to use their academic excellence to help others succeed in school. Every student is required to get 25 service hours for the year. Five of those hours must come from volunteering with a teacher; helping them grade papers, cleaning their room, or whatever task is needed. The other 20 come from service in the community as well as opportunities within the school like peer tutoring. 

“If students meet the qualifications, I encourage them to apply. Being a member is a great honor,” Royal said. 

Applying to NHS begins October of a student’s junior year in high school. That means they have six semesters of grades to boost their GPA in order to get in. There is a large induction ceremony for those who get accepted in the fall semester in late October. For those who didn’t get in during the fall application or didn’t have a chance to apply, there is another opportunity to apply in the spring during mid-February. 

“I believe the requirements should be challenging, but yet also fair to all students,” Royal said.