Ressie Jeffries honor society encourages good character

Savannah Robinett, a fifth grade student at Ressie Jeffries Elementary School in Front Royal, holds a dog that was available for adoption on Nov. 1 through the Humane Society of Warren County. The dog was adopted as part of an effort by the school's Elementary Honor Society for the fourth and fifth graders. Courtesy Sandra Lyerly

By Josette Keelor

The Elementary Honor Society at Ressie Jeffries Elementary School in Front Royal started as a reward for students to encourage them toward greater achievements.

So far it’s working, said school counselor Sandra Lyerly.

“It’s like shining the light on positivity and good,” she said.

Now in its second year, it’s the only Front Royal chapter of the National Elementary Honor Society and so far has inducted about 60 fourth and fifth graders.

“Students have to be fourth and fifth graders, and they have to make all As and Bs and maintain that throughout the year,” Lyerly said.

The goal is to promote good academics, good attendance and good behavior, she said.

“They have to apply technically, but it’s more like they’re chosen,” she said.

Students in the honor society participate in four community service projects throughout the school year, the first of which was at the Front Royal Kmart on Nov. 1.

There, students collected donations for the Humane Society of Warren County and helped with a pet adoption day.

“It was actually a huge success,” Lyerly said. They collected $483 as well as pet supplies donors brought them. Both dogs featured for adoption that day found forever homes, Lyerly said.

Other planned activities will include a December event to support American troops in Afghanistan and a cleanup effort for Earth Day next spring.

An ongoing service project at the school encourages students to provide encouragement and help in the classroom to younger students.

Last year, Lyerly said, students in the honor society painted a mural for the pre-kindergarten cafeteria, won an award for their anti-litter program in the community and collected money for soldiers fighting overseas.

The honor society builds upon the school’s effort to celebrate examples of good character among its students.

Lyerly said each class has its own reward system for students who exhibit character, by awarding paws made out of paper that students can collect for special privileges like sitting with a friend at lunch.

Though she doesn’t know of any other area schools that participate in the national organization, she said she recommends it.

“It’s worked well for us,” she said. “Maybe it would work well for them.”

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or>

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