WEST ORANGE, NJ - On May 28, 'Escriptus,' the National English Honor Society at West Orange High School, inducted 16 juniors for the 2014-2015 year and presented cords to 14 graduating seniors in a touching and emotional ceremony.
Unlike some other Honor Societies, 'Escriptus', meaning to write, has rigorous requirements for membership, including straight A's in all Honors or above English classes for freshman, sophomore, and junior years; an interview/application process, and submitted writing samples. To receive the coveted Escriptus cord at graduation, seniors must help to organize the popular Poetry Out Loud competition in the Spring along with other events and have at least three pieces published during the year.
"This is family," said Tynia Thomassie, who, along with teacher Molly Wachtel are faculty advisers for the Escriptus Society. "We want everyone to know a little more about our members."
Outgoing President Shreya Anand addressed the group and Tavel Findlater and Melissa Hinojosa shared written pieces pertinent to the evening. Junior Isabel Kaspriskie, who is completing a scholarship at Julliard, performed on the french horn.
Thomassie then called up each senior to receive their cord and shared information about them, personalizing the process and lending an emotional impact to the evening not usually seen in other honor society inductions. The personal descriptions, peppered with recollections written by the students themselves, brought laughter as well as tears to the audience.
The juniors were then called forward and as they signed the Escriptus book, Thomassie shared information about them as well. After they were sworn in, the students participated in a group poem recitation that they created to underscore their selected year's theme of "The Impact of Literature."
Cory Wong was sworn in as 2014-2015 Escriptus President and Belle Zhang as Secretary.
In addition to parents and family members, the Language Arts teaching staff was present at the induction, including Language Arts 9-12 Supervisor Karen Perry and four recently retired Language Arts teachers, Dr. Lynn Haims, Mrs. Maryann McGonigle, Mrs. Sandi Van Dyke, and Mrs. Rita Wojchik. The passing of America's poet, Maya Angelou, was emotionally noted.
The motto of Escriptus, now in its fifth year, was underscored throughout the evening: "Gelast sceal mid are," old English for "Duty goes with Honor."
Graduating 2014 Escriptus seniors: Kevin Aghaei, Shreya Anand, Susannah Crowell, Jalisa Delauney, Tavel Findlater, Tavene Finslater, Alex Goldman, Melissa Hinojosa, Aliya Jaber, Sania Kamran (Secretary), Nkeiruka Nwobu, Michael Porcaro, and April Pratt.
2014-2015 Escriptus inductees: Emily Ali, Dominique Berger, Margaret Brown, Andrew Cumming, Evan Easterling, Eli Elman, Jacqueline Joy, Isabel Kaspriskie, Anna Lackey, Alison Lawler, Michael Leonardis, Michaela Marconi, Anastasia Meccia, Cory Wong, Maya Younker, and Belle Zhang.