A Matter of Honor
Have you ever felt as though you were truly cheated out of something that you had worked hard to earn, something that you felt you rightly deserved to have, but were nonetheless denied? I had this experience when I was in the ninth grade, and whenever I look back on it, I still have bitter feelings about it.
I had always been an excellent student, ever since the first grade. I loved learning, and it showed because I had a 4.0 grade point average. I was one of those students who hardly ever needed to study; learning just came naturally to me, and I also enjoyed helping others with their studies. I wrote excellent papers and always came out on top when exam time rolled around. I never minded going to school; as a matter of fact, I looked forward to going to school each day. I enjoyed being with my friends and I enjoyed learning new things. I was one of seven children, so I suppose that going to school each day was almost a welcome respite from a crowded household!
One day in home room I received a notice stating that because of my grade point average, I was being considered for the National Honor Society. I had never even heard of the National Honor Society before, but I began to do some research, and I discovered what a prestigious organization it was. I also began to realize what an honor it would be to become a member of such an organization. I was excited about the possibility that I could become one of its members.
Along with the notice, I had received some standard paperwork which I filled out, had my mother sign, and then promptly returned to the school office. Then I waited. A few weeks passed and I had almost forgotten about the whole incident until one day when I received another notice in home room. My application for membership had been denied. I couldn’t understand the reason for their denial. I had a 4.0 grade point average. What more could they want? Then I read that I was denied because I was not involved in any extracurricular activities.
I was incensed. The reason I was not involved in extracurricular activities was because I worked a part-time job after school. My family was on welfare, we lived in a housing project, and we couldn’t afford for me to be in any extracurricular activities!
Didn’t it count that I helped out at Sunday school? Didn’t it count that I volunteered at the Brownie Girl Scout meetings? Didn’t it count that I volunteered by visiting the local nursing home? Just because I wasn’t a cheerleader or a dancer or involved in any sports, why should that be counted against me? And what about helping my classmates with their schoolwork? I was like a tutor for many of them. Doesn’t that count for anything?
I appealed their decision. I made my case, just as I made it above. But it didn’t matter. I still was not accepted into the National Honor Society.
And I decided that maybe it was for the best. Maybe they weren’t so honorable after all.