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Heritage Middle School celebrates 25 years of excellence at National Junior Honor Society induction

LANSING, Ill. (April 20, 2024) – Heritage Middle School continued to celebrate excellence at its annual National Junior Honor Society induction ceremony on April 11. This year, 24 seventh and eighth-graders were chosen based on their commitment to representing the organization’s five pillars: scholarship, service, leadership, citizenship, and character. 

About Heritage’s National Junior Honor Society

The National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) was founded in 1929 by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) to create enthusiasm for scholarship, stimulate a desire to render service, promote leadership, encourage responsible citizenship, and develop character in secondary school students.

The organization has chapters in all 50 states and schools around the world including Heritage Middle School. Beverly Schweitzer has served as the organizer of the Heritage chapter since 2019.

Schweitzer says this year marks 25 years the Lois Harris Chapter of NJHS has been active at Heritage. The chapter was named after the eighth grade English teacher who was the original organizer of the chapter until she retired in 2001.

Induction Ceremony

The evening began with opening remarks from Schweitzer. 

“The administrators, faculty, and school board at Heritage Middle School care not only about student achievement but also about community engagement,” said Schweitzer. “NJHS students and their peers volunteer in their communities at the highest rate and make connecting with and serving within the community a priority.”

Beverly Schweitzer says NJHS members are actively involved in school activities and community service. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

Dr. Erika Millhouse-Pettis, Superintendent at Sunnybrook District 171, expressed her pride in the newly inducted members. 

“It is always such an honor to see the students blossom,” said Dr. Millhouse-Pettis. “We’ve all had the opportunity to watch your children grow and develop into amazing human beings.” 

Heritage principal Chantelle Cambric gave a speech dedicated to NJHS’s five fundamental pillars and congratulated the inductees on their embodiment of those pillars. 

“Tonight is not only a celebration of your achievements but also a reaffirmation of your commitment to excellence, service, leadership, citizenship, and character,” she said. 

Darnell Carter, a Heritage alumnus, was the guest speaker. Carter says he is currently the choir director at Bradley-Bourbonnais High School. 

He shared memories of his times as a student at Heritage, provided a list of notable NJHS members including Michelle Obama, and encouraged the inductees to continue to follow their dreams.

“As you finish out the seventh grade, eighth grade, and as you go on to high school continue this wonderful success,” Carter said. “I am so happy and I am so proud of you.”

The new members stood to recite the NJHS pledge before being officially inducted into the Lois Harris chapter at HMS. Each member signed their name in the chapter book along with previous inductees. 

Schweitzer says the book features the names of all Heritage chapter members since the first induction in 1997. 

Retiring NJHS officers passed their flames on to newly elected officers. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

The retiring chapter officers passed their titles on to the newly elected president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and reporter/ historian. New officers pledged their commitment to their newly elected positions. 

The evening ended with the “Shining Your Light” portion of the ceremony. Inductees and retiring officers held lit candles to symbolize the importance of shining bright. 

Josue Alvarez Award

Josue Alvarez was a student at Heritage and a NJHS officer who passed away during his eighth grade year. Cambric says Alvarez was an outstanding student.

The award was created in memory of Alvarez and honors the eighth grade NJHS member who best displays the qualities of the organization’s five pillars. 

NJHS member and retiring officer Leland Davis was awarded this year’s award for his efforts. 

“We are so proud of you,” said Cambric. “We have watched you grow to be a beautiful, kind, respectful young man and we know for sure you have so many great things waiting for you.”

Seventh grade inductees

  • Adiella Anele
  • Tiwa Bello
  • Jayden Burton
  • Myiesha Durojaiye
  • Raniyah Edwards
  • Cormac Henderson
  • Ehrielle Horne
  • Abigail McGee
  • Mary Odusanya
  • Alex Okonkwo
  • Seun Oyeyemi
  • Jayse Redmond
  • J’ziaa Tubbs
  • Camila Valdez

Eighth grade inductees

  • Andres Alvarez
  • Deyani Ambrose
  • Sheriffdeen Bello
  • Taylor Mister
  • Jalia Noblitt
  • Elek Ochir
  • Arianna Prater
  • Natalia Talavera Little
  • Malia Trass
  • Melanie Vazquez

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Kinise Jordan
Kinise Jordan
Kinise Jordan brings local experience and a long list of journalism skills to her work with The Lansing Journal. She understands the need for reliable, factual information in equipping people to build community. An Audio News internship with WBEZ honed her interviewing skills and her sense of timing and deadlines. A native of Calumet City, Kinise is familiar with the interplay of local government, local schools, and local businesses.