National Art Honor Society Says No Freshman

Madi Kraemer, Reporter

As an artist ever since I was in the fourth grade, I’ve been awaiting my high school years to join several art clubs. One being National Art Honors Society (NAHS).

NAHS is a state-wide program that allows artistically talented students from grades 9-12 to join. However, our program does not allow freshmen to engage in this activity.

“I was [mad], it’s not fair. You should be allowed to join whether you’re a freshman or not,” said freshman Makaila Mayer.

This made several students, including myself, pretty upset about the situation. Many freshmen were looking forward to this activity within their first year of high school. 

“I was really bummed when I found out they did not allow freshmen, and I had to wait until this year to join. I was upset about it, but I took it as an opportunity to just keep doing art and improving, so when I signed up I would have more work to show. I think they should definitely let freshmen in; I think it gives a great opportunity for younger kids to show their work,” said sophomore and NAHS member Ryan Scott.

In an effort to write this editorial and better understand why freshmen were left out of this organization, I spoke to NAHS advisor Erin Bastian.

“The idea is that freshmen have time to create a portfolio, create rapport with teachers, and maintain a good academic record at the high school level in order to be considered for the honor society,” said Bastian.

While I believe they could pull academic records from the middle school, I see her point in portfolio creation. 

Producing a good portfolio is key to gain interest concerning the art you make. Portfolios provide a presentation of different pieces to exemplify the work you’ve done. So given the time before sophomore year approaches, you’re able to have updated art compositions.

Additionally, it provides an extra year to gain feedback and critiques on your artwork–giving you more time to improve your craft. 

While having more time to build up your artwork is great, it is also necessary to honor your name.

It is often that recommendations are needed for clubs like NAHS, so having the opportunity to acquire a good reputation by teachers is all the more needed.

Our school does not host the National Junior Art Honor Society (NJAHS), because it would be particularly difficult to build a portfolio.

“NAEA does offer a middle school version called National Junior Art Honor Society but this organization does not run in our district at the middle school level currently. Freshmen students who are interested in NAHS should consider attending Art Club their freshmen year to build their skills and portfolio for NAHS,” said Bastian.

As the school does not allow freshmen to partake in this club, I now understand the very valid reasons: giving more time for artists to collect their pieces they want to include in their portfolio, get familiar with teachers and/or the school, and to keep a good record within the grade system.