The Clarkdale-Jerome School is inducting 19 sixth, seventh, and eighth graders Wednesday night in its first class of National Junior Honor Society members.
Middle School math and science teacher Beth Bustya pioneered the school's gifted program this year after earning her state endorsement in that area, and is now also sponsoring the new NJHS chapter.
"We wanted to bring National Junior Honor Society to the school, and I volunteered to be the sponsor for that," she said. "I'm already working with that population."
Bustya sponsors the student council as well. She said the NJHS inductees are all students who not only excel academically, but in extracurricular activities too. "Leadership roles, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, church, any of those kinds of things," she said.
Parent Sarah Williams, whose son is new to the school this year, pushed for the CJS chapter, Bustya said. Williams has been working with local NJHS chapters to model the program and bring in Mingus Union High School honor society members to conduct the ceremony.
Most NJHS and NHS induction ceremonies are conducted by the student members themselves, who light candles that represent character traits of honor society inductees.
"Since this is our first induction, some members from the High School Honor Society will be conducting the ceremony and passing the torch to our students," she said. After the induction, the new NJHS members will decide on officers, how often they want to meet, and how many volunteer hours are needed to maintain membership.
"I want them to feel ownership in the society and come up with what they want their guidelines to be," she said. Though the program is still in the early stages, Bustya said she wants the junior society to do a group service project once a quarter. Local groups looking for volunteers can email firstname.lastname@example.org. The induction will be held Jan. 28 at 6:30 p.m. in the CJS library.