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“Lead from within”: National Honor Society Induction Features Keynote Speech by Maria Mendola ’17

Marian High School’s 2023 National Honor Society (NHS) induction ceremony proved to be an evening of inspiration and motivation for the 78 inductees.

Marian High School’s 2023 National Honor Society (NHS) induction ceremony proved to be an evening of inspiration and motivation for the 78 inductees. The highlight of the event was an impassioned keynote speech by Maria Mendola ’17. In addition to Mendola, NHS officers Lauren Hornick ’24, Cassidy Mio ’24, Grace Everly ’24, and Chloe Toma ’24 elaborated on the four pillars of the NHS: Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Character.

Mendola, an accomplished educator and coach, currently serves as an English Language Arts Teacher and Reading Specialist in the Troy School District. She also dedicates her time as a part-time assistant coach for the Athens High School varsity girls soccer team, demonstrating her commitment to both academics and athletics. Furthermore, Mendola works as a freelance Reading and Writing Tutor, providing valuable support to learners in her community. Her passion for helping others extends beyond the classroom, as she previously worked as an Applied Behavioral Analyst at Oakland University, focusing on children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

During her academic journey at Indiana University Bloomington, Mendola served as an A-Team Tour Guide and initiated a Bible study in her sorority as a Christian Ministry Leader for Greek InterVarsity. Her academic accomplishments include a Bachelor's degree in Secondary Education and Teaching from Indiana University, and she is currently pursuing a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Administration at Oakland University. These achievements reflect her unwavering commitment to education and community involvement, which had its roots during her high school years at Marian, where she actively participated in NHS, Spanish Honors Society, Ambassadors club, SADD club, and Varsity Soccer.

Mendola, in her speech, congratulated the inductees on their achievements, encouraging them to embrace the moment. She then delved into the significance of each NHS pillar, beginning with "Scholarship." She urged students to view learning as a collaborative and experiential journey that extends beyond textbooks.

Moving on to "Leadership," Mendola emphasized that leadership can manifest at any age and in various forms. She shared her own leadership experiences and the valuable lessons learned at Marian, highlighting the importance of fostering a positive attitude, supporting teammates, and building friendships.

Mendola also discussed the pillar of "Service," describing it as a dedication to empowering others through acts of kindness and humility. She emphasized that service can take the form of small, everyday actions, such as a smile or a helping hand.

Furthermore, Mendola highlighted the complexity of human nature and the significance of "Character." She encouraged students to treat others with respect and curiosity rather than making assumptions, emphasizing the power of asking questions and fostering understanding.

In a noteworthy addition, Mendola introduced a fifth pillar - "Faith." She shared her personal journey of exploring her faith and relationship with Jesus, expressing gratitude for the profound impact it had on her life. She encouraged the students to explore their own faith and integrate it into their life journey, emphasizing that faith and life need not be separate.

In closing, Mendola left the students with powerful advice: learn from experiences, lead from within, serve humbly, be curious, not judgmental, and explore their relationship with Jesus, as it can take them further than anything else. Congratulations to all the inductees!

The National Honor Society (NHS) was founded by the National Association of Secondary School Principals in 1921 with the purpose of encouraging and developing the qualities of service, leadership, character, and scholarship in American secondary school students. NHS members at Marian High School serve as school ambassadors and volunteer at various school events throughout the year. Membership in NHS is a prestigious honor bestowed upon a select group of students based on a majority vote of the Faculty Council, recognizing their display of scholarship, leadership, service, and character.

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