Mammoth Heights becomes DCSD’s first National Elementary Honor Society school
Induction connects elementary students to middle, high school
PARKER – About 60 fifth and sixth-grade students at Mammoth Heights Elementary School were inducted into the National Elementary Honor Society (NEHS) last week.
With the ceremony, Mammoth Heights became the first school in the Douglas County School District (NEHS) and the 21st in Colorado to host an NEHS chapter.
“It is a true honor to be part of the first NEHS at Mammoth Heights,” said Brooklyn, a Mammoth Heights sixth-grader. “It means I’ve done well, including my grades, my academics, leadership skills and commitment. It means a lot to be part of this.”
Brooklyn gave a speech during the ceremony, in which she spoke about the importance of having a commitment to learning.
“Knowledge is one great element that can lead to success,” Brooklyn explained.
“Being up there was very nerve-racking,” Brooklyn added. “It was a big deal, obviously, but it was really cool to be inducted and shaking the principal's hand and getting a certificate meant a lot to me.”
Additionally, a Chaparral High School student and Sierra Middle School Principal Darrell Meredith spoke at the event, helping students make the connection between their achievement and the path forward to National Junior Honor Society and eventually National Honor Society.
"We have been trying to make that connection from elementary to Sierra to Chaparral – to have that 'Chap Family' continuum," said Mammoth Heights Principal Nick Holtvluwer. "We are now part of a smooth transition from one level to the next. Kids take ownership, they take pride in part of the National Elementary Honor Society. It is not a popularity contest, it is not student council voting – it is about their hard work they are doing inside and outside the classroom."
Holtvluwer says he first saw the impact of NEHS firsthand when he was an administrator in the South, where the organization started. He decided to start one of the first chapters at his last school in Michigan, and naturally decided to be a pioneer again when he moved here to Colorado.
“I thought, ‘we have another chance to be cutting edge and start the National Elementary Honor Society here at Mammoth Heights,’” Holtvluwer said.
One of the challenges in Douglas County is that DCSD’s Elementary Progress Reports (EPRs) do not have traditional grading. Hotvluwer’s staff worked to translate the rating system, so that they could determine which students would meet the school’s 3.5 GPA requirement for NEHS.
“Our fifth and sixth-grade teams did a great job of taking the EPRs and turning it into a GPA.”
The newly inducted members of Mammoth Height’s NEHS are expected to meet soon to map out plans for the rest of the year, aligned to the organization’s four pillars: Service, Leadership, Scholarship and Responsibility.
“I know we are going to do a lot of group service projects. We are going to help our school and our community more.
Holtvluwer is even looking forward to ways that the students can help next school year.
“I like having it because on the very first day of school,” Holtvluwer explained. “I’ll have 5th graders that have moved into 6th grade, who are already in the National Elementary Honor Society and I’ll have a pool of leaders that I can utilize right away from the first day of school.”
A photo of the group was taken during the ceremony and Holtvluwer plans to hang it prominently in the school for a long time to come.
“I told them, ‘Your picture is going to be on the wall. It is like having your name on the Stanley Cup.’ They are part of Mammoth Heights for a very, very long time,” Holtvluwer said. “We want their legacy to not only influence what is happening today, but be a part of the future.”
About the National Elementary Honor Society
The National Elementary Honor Society (NEHS) was established in 2008 by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) in partnership with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).
NEHS recognizes students in both public and nonpublic elementary schools for their outstanding academic achievement and demonstrated personal responsibility. Through NEHS, students provide meaningful service to the school and community and develop essential leadership skills. NEHS supports these purposes by strengthening the lives of our nation's elementary students and the schools in which they are enrolled.
By starting a chapter, elementary schools create a method for acknowledging achievement and focusing on the needs of the total child. In addition, NEHS provides information and resources to enhance the culture of achievement in the whole school, not merely the culture of a select few.
As the nation's newest student recognition program, NEHS joins the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) and National Honor Society (NHS), the nation's two oldest and largest student recognition programs, in creating a continuum of excellence being established throughout the elementary, middle, and high school education community.