Upcoming Dates

January 17
Scholarship applications due

April 3
John L. Manear Outstanding Advisor Award applications due

Junior Summer Study Stipend applications open

Service Award applications due

May 1
Junior Summer Study Stipend applications due

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Welcome New Chapters

Coral Reef Senior High School
Chapter: Dave Barry
Miami, FL

Howard High School
Chapter: Howard High School National English Honor Society
Ellicott City, MD

Mater Lakes Academy High School
Chapter: Mater Lakes Academy Chapter of the NEHS
Miami, FL

Mill Valley High School
Chapter: Mill Valley High School
Shawnee, KS

Oak Mountain High School
Chapter: Dead Poets' Honor Society
Birmingham, AL

Southeast Guilford High School
Chapter: Order of the Falcons
Greensboro, NC

Westchester Academy for International Studies
Chapter: Nevermore
Houston, TX

Whitehall High School, PA
Chapter: Fault in Our Literature
Whitehall, PA

In This Issue

  1. NEHS Scholarships Deadline January 17
  2. NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing for 2017
  3. Common Reader Recommendations for 2018
  4. Need-Based Scholarships
  5. Project Grants
  6. Book Challenges

Best wishes to all as 2017 begins; the past year has certainly been a tumultuous one on many levels. As the new year unfolds, we in the Central Office hope the quiet yet intense and important pursuits of teaching and learning fill the coming months with joy and accomplishment. To help immerse you into sensory experiences, we share the following Ted Kooser poem, "In January":

Only one cell in the frozen hive of night
is lit, or so it seems to us:
this Vietnamese café, with its oily light,
its odors whose colorful shapes are like flowers.
Laughter and talking, the tick of chopsticks.
Beyond the glass, the wintry city
creaks like an ancient wooden bridge.
A great wind rushes under all of us.
The bigger the window, the more it trembles.

January birthdays of note include Carl Sandburg, Robinson Jeffers, Zora Neale Hurston, J.D. Salinger, and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Growth continues to be one of the hallmarks of NEHS; we are approaching 925 chapters, and so it appears 2017 will bring us to the magical number of 1,000! Thank you for empowering this literary and academic society to impact the lives of so many students, faculty, and community members. This issue of NEHSXpress highlights the following—the NEHS scholarship deadline, NCTE Achievement Awards, a call for Common Reader recommendations for 2018, information on the new Need-Based Scholarship, congratulations to the chapters receiving Project Grants for second semester, and a reference to the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Center. We hope you find this information useful; please send news about your chapter activities to NEHS Director, Dave Wendelin.

NEHS Scholarships Deadline January 17

Scholarship essays based on the Common Reader, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, by Anne Tyler, are due by 11:59 p.m., CST, January 17, 2017. Scholarship awards now stand at $36,000.

NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing for 2017

Achievement Awards in Writing is a school-based writing program established in 1957 to encourage high school students in their writing and to publicly recognize some of the best student writers in the nation. The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) will recognize students who are cited as excellent writers by judges. Juniors in the current academic school year are eligible to be nominated by their schools in the United States, District of Columbia, Canada, Virgin Islands, and American Schools Abroad. Two written submissions are required; one must be based on the theme, "With great power comes great responsibility," an idea not distant from the NEHS motto, "Duty Goes with Honor." For more information, visit NCTE. Entries are due no later than February 24, 2017.

Common Reader Recommendations for 2018

The selection of a Common Reader for NEHS is a challenge the Advisory Council tackles each year. Identifying one text, fiction or non-fiction, that will generate outstanding writing as well as serve as a text for chapters, schools, and communities to embrace is difficult. We try to select books that will expand the reading experiences of our members, stimulate great conversations, and extend English literature curricula offerings. Recommendations from NEHS chapter members and Advisors would be very welcome; please send suggestions to NEHS Director, Dave Wendelin by March 1, 2017.

Need-Based Scholarships

NEHS wishes to support students who demonstrate outstanding academic performance in English studies, members who have been active participants in National English Honor Society, and who qualify for a need-based award due to income and/or family circumstance. Four (4) $1,000 scholarships will be awarded this inaugural year. Details concerning qualifications, deadlines, and required submissions

Project Grants

Congratulations to the following chapters that received project grants for second semester.

Much Ado About English Chapter, Narragansett Regional High School Baldwinville, MA
The NEHS members will be helping establish an elementary school library in the midst of their high school library for students displaced due to the condition of a local elementary school. The younger students will be housed at the high school for several years; the chapter recognized the need for the younger students to have access to age-appropriate books.

West Broward High School NEHS Chapter, West Broward High School, Pembroke Pines, FL
A series of events are planned under the heading "Community Literacy Connections" at West Broward; the grant money, supplemented with funds from other community groups, will be used for a book drive, establishing five classroom libraries.

Litterae Chapter, Osceola High School, Seminole, FL
This NEHS chapter will host a Literary Dinner in conjunction with the Culinary Club at Osceola. All courses for the dinner will feature foods inspired by dishes depicted in children's books and/or classics.

Book Challenges

Recently, a number of school districts around the country have been involved in book challenges. Community members have questioned commonly taught texts, even such titles as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill A Mockingbird. National Council of Teachers of English has many resources to support schools, teachers, and students when confronted with censorship challenges. The Intellectual Freedom Center is poised to send resources and letters and to provide testimony in support of the students' right to read.