The Return of Honor
Members of the Calumet New Tech High School National Honor Society prepare for the Candle Lighting Ceremony. Advisor Abigael Allen (standing upper left) looks on.
An annual end-of-school-year ritual marked what many school officials hope is the beginning of a return to pre-pandemic normalcy.
Calumet New Tech High School held its first National Honor Society induction ceremony since 2019 on Thursday, May 12. The CNTHS Fieldhouse played host to about 100 well-spaced parents and well-wishers, as 58 students were inducted into the prestigious scholastic service organization.
Much of the credit for the ceremony can be placed on Faculty Adviser Abigael Allen, an English teacher-turned-academic behaviorists. For Allen, organizing the event was as much a labor of love as it was an inheritance. The last NHS ceremony held at the high school was sponsored by her father, Regin Johnson, who is now the Title 1 grant manager for the district. While not in charge, Johnson’s presence was still felt as he assisted his daughter by elegantly serenading the crowd with light jazz tunes from his piano.
Allen said it is important for student morale and the NHS as a body to get rolling again, despite COVID-19.
“We have not been able to have an actual in-person induction ceremony with the lighting of the candles and the saying of the pledge and the senior recognition of their senior class honored teacher since the 2018-19 school year,” she says.
Students are not eligible for induction into NHS until their sophomore year. The 2019 inductees are now seniors, and this would have been their final opportunity to have a ceremony. For Allen, it was important to give them a proper send off.
“By not having that ceremony, we didn’t have the same kind of community built as part of the National Honor Society because we were not able to do a lot of the service projects we would have done otherwise.”
NHS President Miracle Harris was thankful to Allen for the work she did for her graduating class. The senior, who will be attending Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis in the fall, called the induction ceremony bittersweet.
“It was sad. Not a sad, sad, but an honor sad. I’m leaving, but I’m leaving it in good hands,” Harris says. “We had our ups and downs, going through COVID, because we were out for so long. But once we got back, it took off and it was fine.”
LRNT Schools Supt. Dr. Sharon Johnson-Shirley and CNTHS Principal Chris Bajmakovich celebrate a successful National Honor Society Induction Ceremony.
CNTHS Principal Chris Bajmakovich was very pleased with the evening.
“It was refreshing and exciting at the same time,” he said. “Seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces and seeing the smiles on the faces of the parents and guardians and family members was great. Also, seeing the teachers recognized—there is something special about it being in person and not virtual. It brings a different feel and that, overall, was very good.”
LRNT Schools Superintendent Dr. Sharon Johnson-Shirley agreed.
“This is what we have been working for all year long,” she says. “It is important to have programs in the buildings, where parents and family members can come and share in the successes of their children. It makes the students feel good and the parents are proud of their accomplishments. I think this was a great way to end the school year. I also want to thank Mrs. Allen and our teaching staff for organizing this induction ceremony and participating in it for our students and families.
Senior class biology teacher Kyle Stephens was named senior class honoree for the second time in his five years at CNTHS. Other teachers honored by students were Lynn Dorado, Sonya Johnson, Karen Lee, Anissa Magee, Sam Miestowski, Julian Raab, Colin Stage, Jim Wadkins, and Nicole Williams.