NEWTON, NJ—The Halsted Middle School celebrated its 29th induction ceremony for the National Junior Honor Society virtually on Monday, June 8.

Seven new members were inducted. Seventh Grade inductees are Maxwell Maslowski, Cheyenne Whitesell, Jolen Stoner, and Ryan Bollette.

The eighth-grade inductees are Jennifer Ellsworth, Joseph Catalano (unable to attend) and Abigail Biederman.

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The current members of the Halsted chapter include Kailin Kane, Danielle Penny, Edreece Sharafi and Julian Tankle. Halsted’s chapter is advised by Ms. Jean Perrier.

Kane opened the ceremony. “We are meeting this evening to give special recognition to the Halsted Middle School seventh and eighth graders who have been selected for membership in the NJHS, the highest honor that can come to a student in the school.”

Sharafi gave the history behind the ceremony and the Halsted Chapter. “Newton High School received its charter in 1949 and held its first Induction Ceremony that year at a school assembly. Since 1957, it has held a candlelight ceremony for the parents, relatives, and friends of the inductees.”

He continued with the history, “Halsted Middle School received its charter in 1991 and held its first induction ceremony conducted with the help of members of the High School Honor Society Chapter. This year 2020, is our 29th Induction Ceremony, and although this ceremony is modified and virtual, it does not make this occasion any less important.”

The ceremony continued with Penny and Tankle explaining the purpose of the National Honor Society and the meaning of the pillars.

“The stated purpose of both the National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society is to create enthusiasm for scholarship and a desire for students of America’s secondary schools,” said Penny. “The emblem of the organization is the keystone and the flaming torch. At the base of the keystone appear the letters C, S, L and S. These letters stand for the four principles of the National Honor Society and the National Junior Honor Society.”

Each of the current members lit a candle on top of the pillar they had at their home. Tankle the Character pillar, Sharafi had the Scholarship pillar, Kane had the Leadership pillar and Penny had the Service pillar.

“The flaming torch is the symbol of our purpose: that is to bear forward the searching light of truth, to lead so that others may follow in the light, to keep burning ambition for the ending values of life, and to serve in consideration of others," Tankle said. "Members of the National Junior Honor Society are expected to demonstrate on a regular basis these four qualities that are held in high esteem by the organization."

Kane then presented the inductees to Halsted’s Principal Kristi Greene.

“Ms. Greene, the students who are with us here have heard the aims and objectives of the National Junior Honor Society. In addition to achieving the required average, they have shown themselves to be people of good character, people who show positive leadership and people who serve both school and community.”

Greene completed the final section of the ceremony. “It is now time to conclude the installation service with the lighting of the candles,” she said. “The symbolism of the flaming torch is important because it reminds us that the light of wisdom dispels ignorance, You students, current members and inductees are the bearers of that torch. Use it to seek truth and then pass on the torch to a world that will be brighter because you have lived in it and improved it.”

As Greene called a name of the current members and new inductees, each lit their ceremonial candle. The four current members went first, followed by the eighth-grade inductees and then the seventh-grade inductees.

Both the current members and new inductees then recited the pledge of the Halsted Middle School chapter of the National Junior Honor Society:

I pledge to uphold the high purpose of this society for which I have been selected. Striving in every way to make its ideals the ideals of my school and my life.

“I am privileged to welcome you into the National Junior Honor Society. Thank you for joining us this evening to celebrate these outstanding individuals,” Greene said, ending the ceremony.

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