New history honor society comes to Decatur

Marly Brooks, Staff Writer

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On Nov. 6 at 6 p.m. the lights lit up the stage in the Stephen Decatur High School auditorium, but not for a play. Forty-five students were sworn into the school’s first class of the Stephen Decatur High School chapter of the Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society. According to Mary Hathaway, the society’s advisor, the mission of the honor society is “to promote and encourage interests in social studies.” One way the society plans on completing its mission within Decatur is by holding tutoring sessions to help students become more fluent in history and improve their writing skills. The society’s mission extends into the community as they plan on partaking in service activities such as helping people register to vote.  

Hathaway first investigated the idea of introducing Rho Kappa to Decatur during the spring of 2019 because she noticed the vast number of students who are history minded, but do not have a way to express and grow their knowledge. After looking into Rho Kappa Honor Society, she applied to create a new chapter at Decatur. On Nov. 6 Hathaway’s hard work came together when the first class of Stephen Decatur High School chapter of Rho Kappa Honor Society was inducted. 

The ceremony opened with the presentation of the colors by Decatur’s own Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corporation, or NJROTC, and inductee Mary Mergott playing the national anthem on the violin. Hathaway then welcomed the families of those inducted and Board of Education members that were present. She also introduced the guest speaker and Coordinator of the Social Studies Department Jessica McInerneyMcInerney indulged the audience in a speech regarding the importance of history and the ability to write it. She ended the speech with a quote by Winston Churchill, “History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it,” and she challenged the inductees to write their own history. Following the guest speakers remarks, the newly elected president, Prutha Patel, spoke about the requirements each student had to reach in order to be inducted, a 3.5 overall GPA, a 3.5 social studies GPA, having taken one Advanced Placement social studies course, and no disciplinary referrals. Following Patel, the officers lit four candles, each representing a key pillar of the society’s principles. Vice President, Isabelle Kristick, lit the white candle, the candle that represents truth. Then, Secretary, Zehra Mirza, lit the green candle which represents knowledge, Treasurer, Kiley Hamby, lit the gold candle which represents wisdom, and Patel, lit the blue candle, which represents service. Once all the candles were lit, the students swore an oath to stand by the mission, and to pursue further knowledge in social studies, and then received their certificates. Once the ceremony concluded the families, members, staff, and guests met outside the media center for a reception with custom cupcakes. 

The new members are excited to help shape the future of this club and the opportunities that the society provides. Patel shared her excitement for the upcoming year, and all that the society is going to accomplish. She is also thrilled to help students become better writers by helping social studies students with their required research papers and essay questions.  

Additionally, according to Rho Kappa member Madison Birckett, “Rho Kappa is an opportunity to share my abilities, to help students achieve academic success, and better the community.”  

Be sure to look out for the upcoming honor society in events throughout the school and community.