Published Sunday, February 10, 2013
By REBECCA LEFTWICH
National Honor Societies are full of students with superior academic abilities, but it’s the gift of service that sets apart members at East Coweta High School.
Georgia Special Olympics bestowed its highest honor on the ECHS National Honor Society recently, naming it the state’s Outstanding Organization during Winter Games opening ceremonies at the Cobb County Civic Center.
For the past several years, East Coweta’s NHS chapter has partnered with local athletes to help make their experiences at the Coweta County Special Olympics enjoyable, according to ECHS English teacher Glenna With, the chapter’s sponsor.
“It was a tremendous honor for our chapter of National Honor Society to be recognized in this manner, and it is because of the dedication of our student members that it occurred,” With said.
With, who accepted the award on behalf of the group, praised her students for their commitment to Special Olympics.
“Their dedication and compassion is evident in their willingness to perform as they strive to make our district’s Special Olympics more enjoyable to our athletes,” With said. “There are several characteristics that members must adhere to in order to be inducted in NHS, and they are: scholarship, leadership, service, citizenship and character.
“Service is described as the striving and laboring for the benefit of others and a giving of one’s self,” With added. “Furthermore, citizenship sets the example for others to follow, and it builds high standards which leads to personal fulfillment. Focusing on these traits by volunteering for Special Olympics will hopefully result in adult life fueled by the desire to help others and reach out to those in need.”
Kelly Abercrombie, local Special Olympics coordinator, nominated the group for the Outstanding Organization Award. In a nomination letter to Georgia Special Olympics officials, Abercrombie described how the East Coweta students – about 35 each year – work with special education students throughout the year in addition to pairing up with athletes from 26 schools for the Coweta Games.
“The job list for this group is endless,” Abercrombie wrote. “The workers unload, set up, escort, clean up, break down and on and on...The level of involvement and commitment these students make to each of our athletes is amazing. They each show a maturity beyond their years and a level of compassion that lifts us all. These remarkable young people dedicate their time and energy to make our program a success.”
“It is the kind words of the Special Olympics coaches, the smiles on the Special Olympians’ faces, and these kind words of Kelly Abercrombie that inspire our NHS members to serve and volunteer,” With said.
East Coweta Principal Evan Horton said the award is a source of pride for the entire school.
“I am so proud of Mrs. With and our National Honor Society students for their work with Special Olympics,” Horton said. “Being named the outstanding organization in the State of Georgia is a direct result of a commitment to serving others in our community and this group is certainly a deserving recipient.”