Last year the school inducted 22 members into their newly established chapter, who formally welcomed the new inductees during Thursday's ceremony and reestablished their own commitment to the NJHS.
"They were very active last year and did so many service projects, said Angela Bernardo, chapter advisor. "They collected 300 jars of peanut butter and jelly for the [Emergency Food and Nutrition Network of the Archdiocese, which was dispensed to pantries throughout Hudson County and the Newark area]. They shipped two boxes full of books to the Philippines, which they will be doing again this year, and they collected about $300 for the Child to Child Initiative through the Archdiocese of Newark that went to the victims of Hurricane Katrina."
According to Bernardo, the kids even conducted their own leadership seminar last year for the student body, after some of their members attended a conference in Princeton.
Among the new members are 6th grader Matthew Bernardo, 7th grader Elena Zeman, and 8th grader Tania Guerro.
"It's very prestigious and to be accepted is a really big thing, and you get credit when you go to high school," said Matthew, 12, whose brother was also a member of the NJHS. "My brother, who graduated, was the president of the chapter last year," he added.
Matthew has two more years to qualify, but he is hoping to follow in his brother's footsteps and serve as chapter president of the NJHS.
Service projects for the year
This year Our Lady of Libera's NJHS members will be starting out their service projects with "Have a Heart," which will be collecting clothes and other necessities for babies, in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Newark.
"They're also going to be doing a few other service projects that will benefit the school," said Bernardo. "This year we are concentrating our efforts on the school community."
"We're going to be doing several service projects [this year] such as Coins from Heaven, which we will be giving to the parish," said Tania, 13, who was selected as president of the school's NJHS this year.
Tania was actually accepted into the NJHS last year, but was unable to participate at the time. Now she will also serve as leader among her peers, and will be helping to coordinate their projects throughout the year.
"It's a good opportunity for me to show a good example to my fellow students, such as leadership, character and good service," said Tania.
Bernardo is also especially proud of how the students have taken the reigns for the operation now.
"This year they seem more into it," she said. "As soon as they selected the officers, they took over the meetings. I only hope that they continue to get better."
"It's fun; we're going to be doing some fundraisers, and also raise some money for the school and for the Archdiocese of Newark," said Elena, 13, who recently rejoined the family of Our Lady of Libera after a short stint at Holy Rosary Academy.
In addition to her role in the NJHS, Elena is also planning to run for a position on the student council this year. The school's NJHS members meet biweekly.
Sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, which also sponsors the National Honor Society, the NJHS celebrates exceptional students on the middle school level who embody the five principles the organization upholds, including scholarship, service, leadership, citizenship, and character.
It is also one of the oldest and most prestigious national organizations for millions of middle school students, with chapters in about 60 percent of the nation's middle schools since 1929.
To be selected for the NJHS, students must have been in attendance at the school the equivalent of one semester; must have a cumulative scholastic average of at least 85 percent, B, or 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or the equivalent standard of excellence; must provide a 200-word written essay on what they can offer the society, and are evaluated on how they carry out the organization's five principals.