Shared NHS values promote common learning at conference

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette From left, Houghton High School National Honor Society members Anabel Needham, Clayton Bulleit and Sam Olson react after learning they had made the tallest tower in a leadership activity Wednesday as part of an NHS conference at the school.

HOUGHTON — For the second straight year, National Honor Society members from area high schools held a conference in Houghton to meet other members and share ideas.

“Since we all have the same mission, we can all learn from each other,” said Bella Menzel-Smith, president of Houghton High School’s NHS chapter, which hosted the event. “Then you can maybe potentially buddy up with another NHS and do a higher-scale project. And it’s just nice to see these community members come out as our speakers and learn new ways to get out and get involved, because everyone could always be doing something more.”

About 115 students from Houghton, Calumet and Jeffers high schools attended the event. Baraga High School’s chapter was supposed to attend but was unable to make it. In its place, Houghton included sophomores who might be in NHS next year.

“We’ve been putting this together since the beginning of the year, because we knew that we wanted to plan for it in the spring,” said Wonyoung Choi, NHS secretary for Houghton.

Activities were centered around the four pillars of NHS. For service, students learned the kinds of projects they can have, and how to make a proposal.

For scholarship, they learned about various college scholarships available to them.

Leadership was building the tallest tower out of straws, marshmallows and grapes.

For character, they learned about moral dilemmas. Students were given situations with no easy choice and had to reason their way through it.

“A lot of people, they brought up different points, but in the end they came to the same outcome as other groups but in different ways, different thought processes,” said the Houghton NHS treasurer Alex Busov, who ran the moral dilemmas event. “I thought that was interesting how people’s moral values led them to different paths, but it all kind of converged in the end.”

At the end of the day, students heard a keynote speech from Melissa Davis, CEO of New Power Tour.

Clayton Sayen, a senior from Houghton, led other groups around as an icebreaker. That applied both to students from other schools, as well as students from Houghton who did not know each other well.

“It’s a great time,” he said. “I learned a lot today.”

Ilhan Onder, president of Calumet’s NHS, liked getting to meet people from other chapters. They get to see the differences between the clubs, he said, but also the similarity of their goals and motivations.

“We had come last year, and we all had a really good time,” he said. “All our members really wanted to come. I think we bring a lot of ideas back to our club.”