NHS Finishes Up the School Year


Amanda Kerrigan

Ben Schwartz (11) carries a box of donated food items into the food pantry to unload at the end of the day.

Mackenna Yount, Copy Editor

As the school year comes to an end, the Manitou Springs National Honor Society (NHS) has finished up their last few events for the year. The last two events that NHS held were the food drive on April 6th and the Senior Rose Ceremony on April 22nd at a staff meeting. Additionally, the club has decided on the service focus for next year and elected executive board. The executive board for next year consists of Taylor Foky (11) as President, Jody Read (11) as Vice President, Melissa MacDonald (11) as Secretary and Séamus Lowe (11) as Treasurer.

This year’s focus was on youth homelessness. To wrap us this focus and continue the club’s tradition, NHS organized a food drive at Safeway on Colorado Avenue to benefit the Manitou Springs School District’s Food Pantry run by Partners for Healthy Choices. The food drive fit with NHS’s focus of youth homelessness because the food donated will go directly to kids in need within the school district and their families.

At the food drive, the club was collecting non-perishable food items and toiletries. The food drive was open for donations for six hours. During that time, NHS raised a total of 870 pounds in donations. Last year’s donations amounted to 753 pounds, so seeing an increase in donations in the same span of time that the drive ran was a pleasant surprise. “The pantry was pretty empty before we unloaded,” said Amanda Kerrigan, the supervisor for the club. “There was just a couple of cans left on the shelf. We contributed about three times what was already there.”

Current NHS President Ava Spangler (12) said, “the food drive was really successful. It was nice to be able to give the food back to the school’s pantry as opposed to never seeing it again.” The food donated to the food pantry can be accessed by those in need by setting up a to shop around the pantry. The way that the food pantry works is similar to a grocery store and families are given a bag to get food from the pantry with. “Youth homelessness comes financial problems and stability problems,” Spangler said. “Food support is great for someone who needs that stability.”

After the food drive, seniors in NHS shifted gears and started focusing on the end of their time participating in NHS. The Senior Rose Ceremony is how seniors in NHS can recognize a teacher that has made an impact on them throughout their high school career. “They write a thank you note and read it out loud at the staff meeting. Then they give them a rose to honor that teacher,” explained Kerrigan.

Spangler chose GT Advisor Amy Rockenbach to honor at the senior shoutouts. “I chose her because she has always been there for me,” she said. “She helped me with college preparation and with my college essays. She has become a friend and a role model.”

Both students and teachers alike enjoy the Senior Rose Ceremony because it gives students the opportunity to thank their teachers. Although there are not enough seniors for every teacher to be recognized during the ceremony, Kerrigan reminded the teachers that they still are greatly appreciated and have made a lasting, positive impact on other students in the school. The Senior Rose Ceremony is a tradition that wraps up the seniors’ time in NHS nicely.

The new executive board for next year was announced and Foky was elected as the NHS President for next year. “I’m excited to take on the role,” said Foky. “I really hope to have a meaningful focus for next year and to bring something to the student body that we can really make a change with.” Next year she wants to see fundraisers and events such as the staff vs. student basketball game that NHS hosted this year. “I want to do something that the student body is involved with and can participate in,” said Foky.

Not only was the Senior Rose Ceremony on April 22nd, but so was the decision of the NHS focus for next year. The sophomores and juniors in NHS voted on the service focus during their meeting at lunch. The two main choices that were voted on were mental health and environmental sustainability. Mental health was suggested as a focus by the new executive board because it is very prominent in a high school setting. Everything is very stressful and there is a lot of pressure that students put on themselves and a lot of stress that parents and teachers put on the students. Environmental sustainability was suggested because living in Manitou provides the school with lots of access to hiking and outdoor activities. The focus that was chosen was environmental sustainability. “I would love to get involved with the state park system,” Foky said. “I have volunteered with Mueller State Park for the past two years and I would love to make connections with them so we can do some really awesome things for NHS next year.” The focus of environmental sustainability will give the club possible opportunities to work with the Rocky Mountian Field Institute and to get involved within the Manitou community.

As the club wraps up this year, there is much to look forward to in the next year of NHS activities and the work that they have done in the past year will impact the community positively. Families in need within the district will have 870 pounds of food available to them from the district food pantry and teachers at Manitou are recognized for how much they are appreciated from the seniors in NHS. Seniors will graduate with their white robes on and with the knowledge that they made an impact from how much they have contributed to the community and the school in the time that they have participated in NHS. The executive board for next year will work hard in their leadership positions and NHS will be making a positive impact in the community with environmental sustainability.