MSD National Honor Society helps the community

Marjory%27s+Garden

A group of MSD students gather to work in Marjory’s Garden. Top row (left to right): Castor Zembrano, Aaron Goffstein, Douglas DaPalma and Benedict Stephen. Bottom row (left to right): Fabian Cazorla, Matheus Maldaner, Tom Pauchet and Emily Barret. Photo courtesy of Brandon Jeter

Haley Jackson

Since 1921, increasing student service has been one of the main goals of the National Honor Society. With active chapters in all 50 states and internationally, NHS has an incredible amount of opportunity within varying communities. As of December 2020, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School NHS chapter has a total of 225 members throughout the 11th and 12th grades. 

The MSD NHS chapter has completed a total of 10 service projects, with four of those being donation-oriented. The four donation projects included the Harvest Drive, MSD FFEA Toy Drive, Ma(s)king a Difference and Her Drive. The chapter as a whole has earned a total of 800 service hours. Some of the service projects the MSD NHS chapter has taken part of include working in Marjory’s Garden and tutoring for Riverglades Elementary. 

Ma(s)king a Difference is a national initiative that collects masks for healthcare workers and first responders. In addition to the collection of masks, Ma(s)king a Difference also collects thank you cards to show appreciation to healthcare workers and first responders for their dedication and hard work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“As the founder [of Ma(s)king a Difference], it has shown me how the community can come together to support those who are risking their lives to keep us safe,” NHS co-Vice President Gabriela Montes said. “It has been an amazing experience to be able to give back.”

NHS members have an opportunity every month to take part in this initiative by dropping off their donations to Montes.

In addition to participating in Ma(s)king a Difference, NHS has also partnered with Marjory’s Garden. Beginning in 2016, Marjory’s Garden has aimed to connect students with nature.

“By being involved [with] Marjory’s Garden since freshman year and having the honor to be elected president during junior year, I have had the chance to learn, make friends and experience both the growth of the very plants we tend and me as a person,” NHS co-President Matheus Maldaner said. ” 

Every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., students meet with science teachers Brandon Jeter and Sean Simpson to help organize a serene garden for the enjoyment of all MSD students and staff.

Another service project NHS has taken part in is serving as tutors for a neighboring school, Riverglades Elementary. At the beginning of the school year, NHS members were given the opportunity to sign up as a tutor until May of 2021, the month when Riverglades students will take Florida Standards Assessments. All students were then paired with a Riverglades student and placed in charge of designing a schedule for the number of sessions they could provide per week. NHS members tutor in various subjects like reading, math, science and history. 

“We have made a lot of progress regarding volunteering activities during this virtual environment we must endure,” Maldaner said, “We seek to establish precedents that future following boards shall continue in order to [keep] this organization thriving in years to come.”

While the 2020-2021 school year is only halfway done, the MSD NHS chapter has been able to help the community in many ways and hopes to continue doing so.