National Jr Honor Society thrives at AMS

National Jr Honor Society thrives at AMS
Posted on 09/13/2018
National Jr Honor Society thrives at AMS

‘I want them to understand how powerful they are’

National Jr Honor Society thrives at AMS

By Toni Garrard Clay
AISD Communications Coordinator

Let’s be honest. It’s not easy to get middle school kids to voluntarily spend half a Saturday in a
team-building exercise on campus. But that’s exactly what 55 Athens Middle School students
did at the end of August. Such is the strength of the National Junior Honor Society in its second
year at AMS.
“These are kids trying to come together and impact the culture of their school in a positive way,”
said Maureen Bogowitz, NJHS sponsor and academic dean at AMS.
The premise of the half-day camp was to focus on what Bogowitz calls “lollipop moments” — a
term from a story by author Drew Dudley, in which he describes giving a stranger a lollipop in a
humorous exchange that, he learned years later, ended up fundamentally making that person’s
life better.
“We think leadership has to be about changing the world. So we don’t take ownership of it,” said
Bogowitz. “Anybody can be a leader. We need to tell people who have impacted our lives thank
you, and also look for ways to intentionally create those moments for others.”
There are 84 members of the AMS National Junior Honor Society, and according to 8th-grader
Cage Hill, the driving force behind the organization is being a positive influence on others.
“I like all the different things we get to do for the community,” he said. “Last year we went to a
nursing home during Valentine’s Day and Christmas and gave out bags of candy. I liked that we
got to make people happy.”
Becoming a member of NJHS is not just about having good grades. In addition to academic
achievement, all prospective members are rated by staff members in the areas of leadership,
service, character and citizenship. If a student has excellent grades but is not well represented
in the other areas, that person would not be accepted.
“You have to be a true leader at heart and want to do good for people around you,” said Megan
Ford, another 8th-grader returning for her second year in the honor society. “This gives us so
many opportunities to learn.”
Bogowitz said they will be repeating some of their favorite service projects from last school year,
such as reading to students at the elementary schools at Christmas time and visiting residents
of a senior living facility. But they are also brainstorming ways to impact their own student body
more.

“I want them to understand how powerful they are,” said Bogowitz. “There are more of them
than there are faculty. They can make a positive difference.”

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