NAESP's executive director Gail Connelly announced the launch of the National Elementary Honor Society (NEHS) at the Opening General Session during NAESP's annual convention. Connelly was joined onstage for the announcement of this new program by Gerald Tirozzi, the executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). Connelly and Tirozzi presented the first NEHS charter to Shepardson Elementary School, where NAESP President Mary Kay Sommers is principal.

"Whole child development is imperative for our schools to be successful," said Connelly. "The National Elementary Honor Society is a great way for schools to focus on this development and to recognize our young students for their accomplishments in leadership and service. We are excited about providing schools with the opportunity to participate in such a prestigious program and to help develop our nation's future leaders."

NASSP administers the National Honor Society™ (NHS) and the National Junior Honor Society™ (NJHS) and the NEHS was created to help schools give students in grades 4-6 national recognition for their accomplishments.

"The National Honor Society and the National Junior Honor Society have done a tremendous job of giving outstanding students the recognition they deserve for excellence in some of the most important aspects of their lives," said Tirozzi. "We are confident that the National Elementary Honor Society will enrich the education and the educational experience of younger students as well."

Incidentally, a study commissioned by the Girl Scouts of the USA found that young people ranked "being a leader" behind other goals such as "fitting in," "making a lot of money" and "helping animals or the environment." The results were published in a recent issue of The Washington Post. What do you think? How important is it for students to see themselves as leaders? How do these findings measure up to the leadership potential among students at your school? What can schools do to increase leadership skills in their students?

re: Tomorrow’s Leaders

Student leadership is an on-going concern for many public schools in our country. I found it interesting that many students felt that being a leader was not as important as "fitting in," "making money," or "helping to save the environment." I think that in order for students to accomplish any of these goals they must be able to show qualities of a leader.
It seems that in many cases the student leaders in our schools are the straight A students who are very motivated to succeed and lead others. I think that it is our goal as teachers and administrators to pull our struggling students into leadership programs that focus on their strenghts (technology, the arts, sports, etc.)

re: Tomorrow’s Leaders

Students don’t rank leadership as one of their main goals because they haven’t been given much of an opportunity. If you knew, as an elementary school student, you were not going to be provided with many opportunities to be a leader would you make it a goal of yours? I think this program will prove to be an opportunity for them to start caring about leadership. Students are rewarded for sports and that encourages them to achieve their highest potential. National recognition for elementary aged students will be such great encouragement for their academics.

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