Honor society members help with odd jobs at Ressie

Kaleb Smith, left, a Ressie Jeffries Elementary School fifth grader and president of the school's chapter of the National Elementary Honor Society, helps kindergarten students with their morning work on computers before class started Wednesday morning. Rachel Mahoney/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – Newly inducted members of Ressie Jeffries Elementary School’s chapter of the National Elementary Honor Society are already busy with their ongoing service projects.

Eileen Willett is a member of the honor society’s committee and a fifth grade teacher who has four member students in her homeroom class. She said 20 new students were inducted during last Friday’s ceremony, bringing the chapter to 36 total members. Although that’s a slightly smaller number than previous years, she said the number of students fluctuates from year to year.

“A lot of these kids, on a day to day basis, they just go above and beyond what is expected as a student,” she said. “They’re a very well-rounded bunch.”

Students get applications in the spring to complete and submit in the fall. To become members, they need to have earned all Bs or better during the last half of the previous school year and have a 95 percent attendance record or better. Lastly, they need to have a good behavior record and recommendations from teachers.

This is the chapter’s fourth year at Ressie, and it’s still one of the few elementary school-level honor societies in the area.

School guidance counselor Kristin Frankel said students work on at least four service projects per school year. One such project, participation in school jobs, lasts throughout the school year. Students volunteer by setting up the computer labs or music room for the day, tutoring other students or the popular job of helping out kindergarten and first grade classes at the beginning and end of the school day.

For Red Ribbon Week in late October, honor society members will design posters and help students sign drug-free youth pledges. In November, they’ll start lending a hand in the Trex Recycling Program by sorting through the school’s recyclables.

Frankel said the students have voted for this year’s projects and discussed other possibilities, like conducting a Pennies for Patients campaign or sending Christmas cards to troops overseas.

“The students always have plenty of ideas, things that they want to do,” she said. “They’re becoming very good problem solvers.”

Willett said that students have taken projects like raising money for the Warren County Humane Society or taking part in the Trex Recycling Program very seriously.

“We’re trying at meetings to make them sort of step up,” she said. “They’re in control, they’re making some of these decisions and they’re sort of stepping up and being responsible.”

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com.