By Pvt. Choi Keun-woo (USAG-Yongsan)June 11, 2008
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - The National Junior Honor Society inducted 39 new members from Seoul American Middle School June 5.
"There are very high standards and rigorous criteria that the students have to meet to be in this program," said Patricia Byrne, who teaches U.S. history at the middle school. "But once they are in it, they have to maintain that throughout the school year. They will do things like community service; they will put in additional hours to the regular curriculum."
To be inducted, students must show exceptional qualities in the areas of scholarship, citizenship, service, leadership and character.
The chapter president, Justin Sutton, said inductees "should expect to have a lot more responsibilities" now that they have become a part of NJHS.
The students had to have a minimum grade point average of 3.5 to be eligible for consideration. Apart from outstanding academic performance, the students also had to convince the NJHS that they possessed the necessary leadership and character traits.
"As parents, we are always proud of our kids. To get an honor like the NJHS is probably more special to parents than it is for them at this point, but as they grow older it's going to mean a lot to them," said Lt. Cmdr. Ian Bohne from U.S. Forces Korea, whose 12-year-old daughter, Gloria, was one of the inductees. "Hopefully, it'll point them in the right direction as they move on to their future life."
The guest speaker for the ceremony was Marine Col. Doug Fegenbush, deputy commander of U.S. Marine Forces Korea, who spoke to the inductees about what makes an exceptional leader.
"You cannot believe how proud I am of each and every one of you," was his first few words. "I am humbled to be in front of you today partly because you are miles ahead of where I was when I was your age."
He said what makes a good leader is not the person who is the smartest, is not the biggest, is not the most popular person. "Those are all good qualities," he said. "Being a leader is about taking care of people. You take care of yourself, and then you take care of other people."
Darrell Mood, SAMS principal, told the students, "You are the leaders, and I will need the help of your knowledge and your talents in the following year. You are all an amazing group of people.""