Honor society requirements updated

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By Stacey Jiang and Xin Yi (Esther) Liu, Staff Writers

Each year, many Townsend Harris students work hard to gain acceptance to honor societies including Arista, Archon, MU Alpha Theta, and the Science Honor Society. These honor societies allow students to receive recognition for their good citizenship, academic achievement, and active participation in their community. 

In previous years, to apply for Arista and Archon, students were required to complete a total of 50 hours and 80 hours respectively. However, due to COVID-19, the criteria for total community service hours was decreased to 25 hours for Arista and 40 hours for Archon. 

Furthermore, since the service hour requirement for the 2019-2020 academic school year has been waived, students who were not able to reach the total required hours for either Arista or Archon can still earn Arista and Archon Honor Cords at graduation.

Coordinate of Student Activities Sarah Loew said, “In order to earn the honor cords at graduation, students need to fulfill 2 years of requirements for Arista and 3 years of requirements for Archon.”

Nevertheless, students who were able to complete the 50 hours community service last year were still able to apply for Arista. As of the academic year 2020-2021, students in grades 9-11 only needed 25 hours of community service to apply for Arista the following academic year. 

The academic requirements for MU Alpha Theta, the math honor society, and the Science Honor Society are expected to remain the same. 

The Community Service Advisory Committee also created the Community Service Resilience Award this year, which provides an opportunity for students to receive recognition for community service they performed last year, but not enough community service for Arista or Archon. In order to apply for this award, students in grades 9-12 are mandated to have completed 25 hours of service in the last school year, or 40 hours in the last calendar year, and 5 or fewer active demerits. 

Sophomore Sophia Sookram said, “I am thankful that the school adjusted the requirements for the Honor Society and I think that it was a great idea. I was very concerned that I would not  meet the community service standards, but now I feel like it is much more attainable.” 

“I was glad to see that changes were made, and I thought that they were fair and fitted the circumstances,” said sophomore Brian Hsu. “A lot of students weren’t able to go out and it definitely impacted their ability to gain service hours. The changes reflected that and reduced the hours needed, but still pushed students to seek volunteer opportunities.”

Photo by Ryan Eng, Managing Editor