National Honor Society Goes Virtual With Its Induction Ceremony For the First Time in Bronx Science History


Afifa Areya

Russell Ahiamadi ’20 shares his experiences as President of NHS with his fellow members. Representing leadership as one of the four pillars of NHS, Ahiamadi highlighted the importance of leadership throughout his speech.

To watch the May 27, 2020 virtual NHS Induction Ceremony, click on the video above. 

The National Honors Society celebrates their graduating members every year. Unfortunately, with the sudden outbreak of COVID-19, a lot of events have had to be cancelled due to social distancing restrictions in effect in New York City. Despite the obstacles that prevented the execution of  the originally planned event, leaders of NHS and Mr. DeSilva, NHS Advisor, utilized the virtual platform of YouTube to deliver a virtual Induction Ceremony, with a message filled with virtue, nostalgia, and recognition. The impetus to reward NHS members who served their communities overpowered all of the other roadblocks. 

On the evening of May 27, 2020, the first ever virtual NHS induction ceremony was held. The event was streamed on YouTube, and every NHS member and their parents were invited to watch. The presentation began with Mr. DeSilva playing a piano piece to set a ceremonial atmosphere, which then proceeded with Dr. Donahue’s speech congratulating the students for their service, with introductions in between for each presenter.

The event was initially introduced by the faculty advisors of NHS, Mr. DeSilva and Ms.Cooper. After they consulted about what to do once school was shut down, NHS leaders sent out an e-mail to the members asking if they would like to have a virtual Induction Ceremony. The majority of members voted ‘yes,’ which was enough to continue with planning for the Induction Ceremony. Therefore, the administration and NHS officers decided to host a virtual event. “I thought that although the ceremony won’t be in person, it is still a good idea to appreciate all of the members’ hard work throughout their time in the National Honor Society. So those people who still wanted a ceremony had the opportunity to feel that they had an induction ceremony,” said Janice Liu ‘20, Vice President of Technology for NHS. 

During the virtual ceremony, After the administrators spoke, student leaders of the NHS presented their speeches. It started with the Vice President of Organization, Kevin Chan ‘20, who represented Character as one of the four pillars of NHS. Kevin discussed the different personalities that were present amongst NHS members and shared words of encouragement. “We definitely did a number of service opportunities and projects in the first semester, so I think that all the NHS seniors can be proud of that. From the fall Open House to helping out at with student productions in the auditorium, I think that every NHS member can say that they made a positive difference at our school. NHS exists to make Bronx Science a better place, and I think our efforts during the first semester did exactly that,” said Chan. 

Next, Janice Liu, VP of Technology, gave her speech. Janice discussed Service as one of the four pillars of the NHS. “It was really hard thinking of what to write, but I just tried to relate my experience at Bronx Science and NHS back to the principle of NHS service,” said Liu, “The best part of planning the NHS ceremony was appreciating all of the experiences that I have gained from the two years that I have been a part of NHS.”  It seems that through service, a lot of collaboration takes place between NHS members and leaders. As Ayesha Khan ’20 said, “I learned the value of community. Through the NHS program, I got to meet and help people from across the school, including many underclassmen.”

Though Puspita Dasroy ’20 was unable to attend the ceremony, she served the NHS as Vice President of Tutoring, representing the organization’s pillar of Scholarship. During the 2019-2020 academic year from September until in-person school shut down after March 16th, 2020 due to COVID-19, Dasroy made sure to maintain office hours among the members, which allowed NHS members to interact with students who needed academic assistance. 

Finally Russell Ahmiadi ‘20, the President of NHS representing the pillar of Leadership, delivered his speech. In his speech, he discussed the importance of leadership and what he learned from his time in NHS. “I enjoyed preparing my speech the most. It gave me the opportunity to dwell on what I enjoyed most about the NHS and caused me to really reflect upon what leadership means,” said Ahiamadi.

All of the NHS leaders truly led the NHS with their own ideas and highlighted the importance of serving the community. The members of NHS worked hard to emulate the leader’s scholarship, service, leadership, and character. 

The ceremony could not fully come to fruition without the teacher honoree’s speech. Each year, teachers are selected through a vote by the majority of the NHS members to be honored at the ceremony for excellence in teaching. Mr. Liang and Mr. Chomet were selected as this year’s honorees. They delivered speeches that left students in awe. “I liked the speeches given by Mr. Liang and Mr.Chomet, as they are both teachers who have have truly made the high school experience for the class of 2020 memorable,” said Tahreem Aslam ’20. “Both of the teachers who were chosen have been there from the very beginning with us, and it was nice to hear their stories of watching us grow and the advice they had for us as we move on to college,” said Fahmida Shagufa ‘20. 

Mr. Liang, a Mathematics teacher who started his Bronx Science teaching career along with the Class of 2020, made his speech deeply connected with the students with whom he has shared his career. “I was very nervous, especially since I had been mistaken for a student multiple times before I taught my first class. But you all took me in and accepted me for who I was, a young teacher who wasn’t 100% sure what he was doing. You taught me everything from water bottle flipping to dabbing, to all the slang you say nowadays. You guys made my first year so smooth and for that I have to say, ‘Thank you,’” said Mr. Liang. His speech was full of memories that he shared with the class of 2020. “I wanted to tell the class of 2020 to take heart during this present time. This year has been a difficult one. and I wanted to say to the class, ‘Don’t give up. Stay strong. Stay positive. And keep fighting.’”

Mr. Chomet, a Biology teacher, filled his speech with words of encouragement. He complimented the class of 2020 for their abilities and what he admired about the many characteristics that they possessed. “I think that your class in particular showed me that your generation is lightyears ahead of mine in terms of emotional intelligence and social awareness,” said Mr.Chomet. Among the many characteristics that he discussed, he decided to highlight individuality most of all. “What all of you have already accomplished in high school is truly impressive, and no matter what, you should carry that with you into the future. But your long-term happiness is actually not dependent on how extraordinary we think you are. It’s about making choices that are right for you,” said Mr. Chomet. “I hope that you all will learn to distinguish your own voice telling you what’s best for you over the din of the voices that tell you what you think you’re supposed to do.”

The purpose of the National Honor Society is to allow students to serve their community and to become leaders of the future. Despite all of these reasons, students have learned to embrace the people around them and learn to collaborate with each other, creating a bond that many can share. Many members learned that joining the NHS prompted them to work outside of their school life. “I had to work a lot to get into NHS, and I had to do a lot of things that I wouldn’t have normally done, like work at a non-profit or join a ton of clubs,” said Davide Hallac ’20. Some members appreciated the little things that came out of NHS. “I enjoyed the parts where we were in school when everyone else was not,” said Albar Subekti ’20. “I got to interact with so many prospective students and share what I love about Bronx Science with them. I’m grateful that I was able to serve my school through such an honorable program.” said Darya Lollos ‘20.

This year was a challenge for all of us, and it has become difficult to see some light at the end of the tunnel. The NHS Induction Ceremony brought some relief in this difficult time. “I’m really glad that we went through with the virtual ceremony, because I’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback from my friends, and it seems that they really enjoyed watching it,” said Chan. The ceremony was not only held to recognize all of the NHS members and their service, but also to travel back through memory lane with the speeches that everyone gave about more joyous times in the past. 

On the evening of May 27, 2020, the first ever virtual NHS induction ceremony was held.