Spring Grove students inducted into National Honor Society

By : 
Jan Lee Buxengard

High school senior Kailee Olerud and juniors Carter Bratland, Amelia Solum and Jacine Johanningmeier are this year’s inductees to the Spring Grove Chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS).

Along with current NHS members Mariah Edgington, Alyssa Johnson, Maria Myrah, Rhiannon Skauge, Ashton Towne, and Kendra Waldenberger, family members and guests, the induction event took place Thursday evening, March 28, beginning with a catered meal at the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center, followed by the ceremony at the Spring Grove Cinema.

Nancy Gulbranson, school principal, and Julianna Lile, Spring Grove Chapter NHS advisor, conducted the candle lighting ceremony and presented membership cards, pins and congratulations to the new inductees.

Current members explained the meaning of each of the candles. The center candle represents the flaming torch in the center of the NHS emblem. 

Each of the four candles lit from the center candle symbolizes the organization’s four principles: character, scholarship, leadership and service.

The lengthy process of selection is taken seriously. Students with a 3.3 cumulative-grade-point average are asked to fill out data sheets. 

School staff meets to look over the forms, looking at each and every applicant for the NHS principles. Every tenured staff member votes for five. Applicants need to be on at least three of each ballot to qualify for selection.

Once inducted, it is a lifelong membership, which can be helpful in job interviews and on a resume. People recognize that as a solid example of being a good citizen in life.

School records show that since 1938, the Spring Grove Chapter of NHS has inducted 584 members to the organization. Through the years there have been generations of some families who have been honored.

Guest speaker Jane Tuomi

Gulbranson introduced the guest speaker, Jane Tuomi, a 1994 graduate of Spring Grove High School and daughter of Howard and Mary Deters. 

Following graduation from the University of North Dakota in 1998, Tuomi moved to Alaska and was a pilot for Era Aviation for nine years – 3.5 of those years flying in rural Alaska to 20 villages. 

Since 2007, she has flown for Alaska Airlines and currently pilots a Boeing 737.

“When I was thinking about what I wanted to say today, I discovered that I don’t really know your generation very well,” Tuomi began. “You’re not the Millennials, so, who are you?

“You are Generation Z, those born post 9-11. Your generation is experiencing an ever-changing world of technology and social networking.

“One thing that has not changed for almost 100 years are the core values of the National Honor Society: leadership, academics, character and service,” Tuomi pointed out to the NHS members. “All four pillars are intertwined in a solid foundation, and you’re on your way to going out in this world with an incredibly solid foundation.

“You’ve been building character for over a decade. Is character what you do when no one else is watching? Or what you do when everyone is watching? You react differently based on your surroundings.

“Service is the ultimate sacrifice. There are many reasons to do service: It connects you with people, it makes a difference, and it helps you gain experience.

“It’s reported that rates of teenage depression, anxiety and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011.

“The general consensus is that this will be your biggest challenge,” Tuomi stated. “It’s enough of a crisis that you’re going to encounter it in the next ten years – if not you, then someone you know and you need to know how to help. 

“When you hit the low points in life, and you will – we all do, check in with your service pillar. Did you abandon it?

“When you reach out and help others, you gain more than you give. It gives you a feeling of purpose and an awareness of why you are here on this earth. Volunteering helps people feel more connected, warding off loneliness and depression.

“Service makes the successes that much sweeter and the failures bearable, but it’s not always something that comes naturally. 

“It’s too easy to push off until tomorrow when you have more time. It has to be practiced.

“Service can be overwhelming. Start small and watch the effects of the small ripples. Give an underclassman a compliment when they do something well. 

“Listen more than you talk. For me the simple act of someone opening a door for me makes me pause and think ‘What have I done for someone else today?’

“Eleanor Rossevelt said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

Tuomi encouraged taking that one step farther, “Do one thing every day in service that scares you. Stay connected to your Service Pillar.

“So here you are. You’ve built up a solid foundation for your future and are ready to take on the world. What does your chair look like? Are the pillars even? Is your foundation solid enough to withstand anything that comes your way?”

Live your life with the NHS core values of leadership, academics, character and service, she concluded.