Local National Honor Society students give back through service projects

In the third installment of the “Happy and Healthy Eating” series, Philomath High School seniors Chloe Jurva and Emily King urge viewers to approach eating in a positive way while considering healthy options that can be cooked at home. In the episode, they make a rice bowl with tofu and homemade sauce.

The video series created by the two National Honor Society students are meant to bring awareness to healthy eating. King believes many have struggled with eating habits during the pandemic, including her own.

“I have siblings and I know when we’re home alone while our parents are at work and we’re just here all day, we just eat the most random stuff or we don’t eat at all,” King said. “I know that some people need help coming up with recipe ideas and whatnot, so we’ve been doing like a health lesson and making a recipe in the videos.”

Added Jurva, “We did this to promote healthy eating habits and a healthy lifestyle overall.”

“Happy and Healthy Eating” is available on the Philomath NHS chapter’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

Chloe Jurva and Emily King
Chloe Jurva and Emily King try one of their culinary creations during an episode of “Happy and Healthy Eating.” (Screenshot of video on NHS Philomath chapter’s Facebook page)

Jurva and King are co-presidents for Philomath High’s NHS chapter. The cooking show they came up with is just one example of a service project that the students have taken on this academic year.

Senior Katie Champion, vice president, feels that the projects create a personal connection between participating students and the community.

“Before our volunteer projects, maybe they weren’t exactly that close to students’ hearts but they still wanted to help out,” Champion said. “But these service projects really helped students to help the community in a way that really matters to them.”

This is a special year for the National Honor Society. It was founded in 1921, which makes this the organization’s centennial.

Saff Evans, NHS adviser, suggested the service projects.

“As we got further along, some people were struggling to come up with ideas, some people had great ideas and were already starting,” King said. “Us cabinet members and our adviser have personally talked to people trying to pick a topic and helped them create one.”

King said students could still participate in various volunteer opportunities that come up. For example, King and Jurva volunteered with Philomath Community Services’ Holiday Cheer program, which was beyond the service project they were doing.

National Honor Society centennial logo

“I think this is a great way to go about volunteering this year because it allows students to devote time into an idea and activity that actually interests them,” Jurva said about the special projects. “Since COVID has prevented us from a lot of volunteer activities that we would normally do in the year … we had to be creative. These service projects get each of us involved in the community in our own unique ways.”

Champion opted for starting a book club for middle school students. She always enjoyed reading and talking about books with others. Plus, she felt a lot of emphasis had been placed on the younger and older students with middle schoolers left, well, in the middle.

“They’re not the youngest, they’re not the oldest so I feel like they’re a group that in COVID maybe have not been seen as much as everyone else,” she said. “I just feel the middle school group needs a way to connect with each other and I thought I love to read and I know there are plenty of middle schoolers that feel that way too, so why not combine the two?”

Champion said the group is just getting started.

“Hopefully during the month of April, students will be reading the book and then at the end of April, we’ll go ahead and have a Zoom meeting to discuss and talk about it,” she said.

Noel Lundeen’s bird feeders
Noel Lundeen made bird feeders from recycled materials for her service project. (Photo courtesy of National Honor Society’s Philomath High chapter)

Many other projects have been completed, ongoing or being planned, including a program connecting this academic year’s incoming freshmen to their high school, brightening the community with neighborhood art, starting a Persons of Color Club at the high school and meeting with local senior citizens to learn about their lives, including their histories with Philomath. (See accompany graphic below for full list of projects).

Over the past three years, the PHS chapter has volunteered between 1,050 and 1,170 hours per year. Prior to that, the chapter averaged 800 to 900 hours per year.

“Our chapter has left a huge impact on our school and community,” King said. “There are a lot of events in our community that rely on volunteers in order to succeed. Also, NHS brings youth into community volunteer opportunities and inspires other students to get involved.”

With this being the NHS centennial, King set out to try to find out when the organization established a chapter on Philomath High’s campus. Librarian Kiki Klipfel helped by looking through old yearbooks and determined that NHS has been at the high school since at least 1939.

Induction into the NHS goes beyond the required 3.5 grade-point average. King said leadership skills and involvement in activities are also important and students need to write a letter highlighting their own assets as part of the process of getting in.

“Since its inception in 1921, NHS has been a pioneer in student organizations by using a unique, forward-thinking lens to recognize students for far more than academia,” states a press release about the organization’s centennial. “NHS honors students for their outstanding academic achievement and community engagement, while providing programs and services that support their development into exemplary role models.”

National Honor Society’s Philomath High School Chapter Members
Seniors (30) — Lucas Ainsworth, Daniel Amexquita, MacKenzie Beddingfield, Sydney Burton, Bryan Caples, Katie Champion, Andrew Chatfield, Sean Cummings, Audrey Davis, Justin Enghauser, Merrie Follett, Cody Hansen, Grant Hellesto, Annalee Hiebert, Sierra Johnson, Chloe Jurva, Emily King, Neil King, Noel Lundeen, Sarah Mason, Caleb Matthews, Amey McDaniel, Casey McDaniel, Sarah McDaniel, Mia Rust, Mikaila Saathoff, Lily Schell, Amelia Skinkis, Claire Skinkis, Ada Wennstrom.
Juniors (17) — Noah Aynes, Dylan Bell, Briah Benson, Kyla Berger, Theodore Daniels, Whitney Gammon, Marcos Garcia, Mark Grimmer, Marlee Heiken, Mackenzie Hiner, Kaeleigh Houchin, Lily Hull, Sage Kramer, Isabella Monstwilla, Trinity Monstwilla, Blaise Pindell, Sophie Robinson.
Sophomores (23) — Dawson Beckstead, Theodore Benbow, Grace Bennett, Mia Bennett, Abigail Brown, Mateo Candanoza, Amelia Cook, Madison Foley, Logan Greeley, Morgan Gross, Taylor Gross, Ashley Hamblin, Ingrid Hellesto, Emmalyn Holden, Katherine Holden, Cody King, Micah Matthews, Brooke Moade, Tyler Moade, Stella Neville, Dristi Patel, Sophie Rasmussen, Alyson Todd.
Freshmen (17) — Jenica Baker, Bailey Bell, Riven Benson, Phoebe Coen, Lukas Dunn, Alexa Eckhold, Tomas Harris, Tristan Hubbard, Madison Juhl, Andrew Leonard, Tyler McGuyer, Elise Reese, Megan Reese, Lorelei Schell, Clara Stanley, Ava Theurer, Owen Thomas.
Adviser — Saff Evans

Philomath High has an exceptionally large group of NHS members with 87 students.

“I think that it shows how much dedication that we put in compared to other schools that have smaller groups,” King said. “I think it shows that we all put in the effort in school. That’s almost a fifth of the whole school … you have to have a 3.5 GPA to get in and that says a lot.”

Jurva believes the high membership shows that students care about their school and community.

“No matter what event is going on, our town can rely on these NHS members to show up and help out and be enthusiastic when doing so,” she said.

Champion believes the organization’s students display a positive level of dedication to Philomath.

“The community supports so many of our activities at the high school that everyone just really wants to find a way to give back,” she said, “and NHS is really an easy and practical way to do that.”

Jurva said NHS students just want to be involved.

“NHS has brought me together with a lot of people I wouldn’t normally have the chance to team up with, whether that be members of the community or students at PHS, and I greatly appreciate that,” Jurva said.

NHS Service Projects (2020-21)
• Contact with the elderly with cards, letters and postcards (16 grandparents and two nursing facilities).
• Making of baby hats and blankets and donating them to Philomath Community Consortium and shelters.
• Sewing of homemade masks and donating them to the public.
• Increase awareness of the Oregon Parenting Education Collaboration, which provides parent education. Working with OPEC and delivering brochures and information to different parenting organizations.
• Clothing drive to be done in March or April and donate the clothing to June’s Kids Kloset. The drive helps those who haven’t been able to go shopping for clothes during this pandemic.
• Going to the Oregon Coast and cleaning up shores.
• Building bird feeders using recycled materials for the community.
• Freshman Connections Program. Working with Philomath High’s Associated Student Body to help freshmen with the transition to high school. Worked with over 100 students.
• Being part of a peer connection group that works to help students who are struggling mentally to stay connected to life.
• Supporting hands-on math and science at the elementary school by cleaning and organizing materials.
• Boosting happiness with neighborhood art.
• Provide kids with reading materials by donating books to the local library.
• Helping the little book libraries located in the community by collecting books and stocking the “little houses.”
• Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore volunteering.
• Put together a book cart at PES and make bookmarks to put in books, which students can take home and keep.
• Do outdoor small-group activities for a month geared toward getting K-3 students outside and running around while social distancing.
• Make grocery bags for the food bank.
• Make a series of healthy eating and cooking videos and post on Facebook.
• Started a group called, “Change Forward,” which refurbishes computers and puts them into the hands of students who do not have a computer.
• Starting a Persons of Color Club at the high school.
• Reading books to the elementary students (recording or on Zoom); connecting with elementary teachers.
• Connect with the elderly and find out about their history, including their history with Philomath.
• Establishing a book club for middle school students.

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