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From left, Jeremy Kalicum, Rocio Sanchez and Cody Henderson, participate in the ceremony formally inducting them into the National Honor Society. Three trio represent the 2013 induction class at Mooseheart, which formed the first National Honor Society Chapter in Illinois in 1921.
Jeff Fusek, a 1986 Mooseheart graduate and a member of the National Honor Society, was the guest speaker at the 2013 National Honor Society induction ceremony.
MOOSEHEART, March 1 – In a sense, very little changes in the National Honor Society induction ceremony that takes place each year at Mooseheart. In every ceremony, inductees are accepted for membership, candles representing the four pillars of the organization are lit, the inductees light personal candles and take the National Honor Society pledge, and there is a guest speaker.
But it is that constancy that is one of the strengths of the ceremony, which took place Thursday in the campus' House of God. The three initiates for the 2012-13 school year are senior Cody Henderson and juniors Jeremy Kalicum and Rocio Sanchez. As they wrote their names into the ledger book of Honor Society members from Mooseheart, they knew they were joining an esteemed list that stretches back some 92 years, to 1921 – when Mooseheart became just the fifth chapter nationwide, and the first Illinois-based chapter, to affiliate with the National Honor Society.
And the ceremony held great relevance to this year's inductees, and proved to be very impactful to the three as they went through the process of joining the society.
"I was a lot more nervous than I thought I was going to be," Henderson said. "When I got up there, I sort of forgot how to read. It sort of didn't hit me until I went up there to talk. That was when everything kind of dawned on me."
In another time-honored tradition, the entire Mooseheart High School student body attends the National Honor Society induction ceremony to witness the recognition given to their classmates.
"It's really humbling to be recognized for your hard work," Kalicum said. "Sometimes it feels like you're passed over and you're like every other student. It's at times like these where you're called out and honored and that gives you that extra juice to do better in school and to keep moving on."
The process of earning designation in the National Honor Society is time-consuming and involves, in part, a combination of classroom performance, standardized test-score achievement, and community service involvement.
"All the processes we had to go through took time, and making sure that we had time to study was important," Henderson said. "During the time, it felt like it was going to be a lot of work. But now that I look back in it, it went by a lot smoother than I thought it was going."
But having reached successfully juggled schoolwork, extracurricular activities as well as the demands of the National Honor Society application process, all three inductees were left smiling following Thursday's ceremony.
"You feel accomplishment after doing what you're expected and then even more," Sanchez said. "To be rewarded for it is even better. Going forward, you're moving forward from being just an average kid to being above and beyond."
Henderson has been accepted into Texas Tech University and plans to major in Civil Engineering.
"My cousin's a civil engineer who got me hooked onto it and he does a lot of welding too," Henderson said.
With a year to go in high school, Kalicum said he is still formulating their college plans.
"I have ideas where I want to go to college, but I don't have anything set in concrete," Kalicum said. "I have my top three that I really want to go to, but I'm still not sure where I want to go."
Sanchez said she has many options to explore before she makes a final college choice.
"I don't know if I want to go to a trade school or to a university and I don't know what I want to work on," Sanchez said. "It's just having to organize all that. I'm working on scholarships right now and also summer opportunities. I'm wanting to learn another language right now."
This year's guest speaker was Jeff Fusek, a 1986 Mooseheart graduate and National Honor Society Inductee. Fusek currently works for Swedish Steel in Lisle, IL as Director of Shared Services. Fusek said he was aware of the effort the inductees had to expend in order to qualify to join the society.
"Only the three of you alone know the amount of effort you have committed over the past years to reach your academic goals for which you are now being recognized," Fusek said. "I am sure you have countless hours of studying, preparing homework assignments and making the conscious decision to forego other activities. Your presence on this stage indicates to everyone what it takes to succeed."
Fusek had some advice for the inductees and for the entire Mooseheart student body.
"I strongly encourage the three of you to continue your studies at the college level and also at graduate school," he said. "No matter what profession you decide to choose, a solid education is necessary to achieve your objectives in life. What I realized after I graduated from Mooseheart is that the more education I pursued, the more opportunities that were presented to me both personally and professionally."
Since its founding, Mooseheart has operated a complete, accredited kindergarten-through-high-school academic program, plus art, music, vocational training and interscholastic sports. It is an extremely nurturing and student-tailored program, with an average student-teacher ratio of 12-1.
Mooseheart students who complete their studies with a 3.0 GPA or better (4.0=A) are eligible for up to five years of annually renewable scholarship funding, covering tuition, room and board in an amount comparable to that required for an in-state student at an Illinois public university.
Mooseheart is currently home to roughly 210 students, ranging in age from preschoolers to high school seniors. Applications for admission to Mooseheart are considered from any family whose children are, for whatever reason, lacking a stable home environment. Mooseheart boasts its own U.S. Post Office and a fully functioning branch of Fifth Third Bank.
In addition to Mooseheart, Moose International also supports Moosehaven, a 70-acre retirement community near Jacksonville, FL founded in 1922; and conducts more than $70 million worth of community service programs annually.