FAIRFIELD —St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School inducted 19 rising 8th graders into the National Junior Honor Society in a ceremony this week.

Founded in 1929, The National Junior Honor Society is the nation’s premier organization established to recognize outstanding middle school students. More than just an honor roll, NJHS serves to honor those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, citizenship, and character.

St. Thomas students inducted were Ryan Backus, Matthew Berardo, Maura Bosse, Noelle Carpanzano, Jake Coerver, Luke Cristodero, Amelia Deeds, Emily Donovan, Grace Kulaga, Lauren Marsden, William Mitchell, Grace Montelli, Sreya Mothukuri, Kolby Northrop, Maeve O’Donnell, Julia Ortiz, Caroline Spengler, Connor Towle, and Mia Whipple.

Principal Dr. Patrick Higgins congratulated and praised the candidates, “We have the outstanding honor of inducting 56% of our current 7th grade class for inclusion in this organization tonight. It is a testament to these students and their families to have met or achieved such rigorous criteria. We are blessed to have so much support of these important values among St. Thomas community, families and faculty. We are truly preparing tomorrow’s leaders, good citizens, lifelong learners and faithful servants.”

Students who are identified as academically eligible for membership are invited to complete an information packet to support their candidacy in the spring of their 7th grade year. The activities and grades from the applicants’ 6th & 7th grade are evaluated by the faculty selection committee and the principal.

Students must meet all requirements in each of the five areas. Scholarship: Candidates must have a cumulative scholastic average in each subject, of at least 90% for each of grades 6 and 7. Leadership: The student who exercises leadership is resourceful in identifying problems, applying principles, and proposing new solutions; demonstrates initiative in promoting school activities; exercises a positive influence on peers in upholding school ideals; contributes ideas that improve the civic life of the school; exemplifies a positive attitude; inspires positive ideas in others; demonstrates reliability and dependability; holds school offices or positions of responsibility successfully.

Service: Volunteers and provides dependable and well-organized assistance, is gladly available, and is willing to sacrifice to offer assistance; works well with others and is willing to take on difficult or inconspicuous responsibilities; is willing to represent the school in inter-class and inter-scholastic competition; participates in some activity outside of school, for example, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, religious groups; volunteer services for the poor, elderly or disadvantaged; shows courtesy by assisting visitors, teachers, and students.

Citizenship: understands the importance of civic involvement; has a high regard for freedom, justice, and respect of the American form of government (representative democracy); demonstrates mature participation and responsibility through involvement with such activities as scouting, community organizations, and school clubs. Character; shows an outstanding record of conduct and behavior with regard to school and community rules, guidelines, and policies; shows sufficient growth and improvement to compensate for previous inadequacies; takes criticism willingly and accepts recommendations graciously; consistently exemplifies desirable qualities of behavior; cooperates by complying with school regulations; demonstrates the highest standards of honesty and reliability; regularly shows concern, courtesy, and respect for others; has self-discipline.