Honor system leaves one student frustrated

Whitnall senior does not know why honor society rejected him

Dec. 3, 2008

Kevin Stachowiak is looking forward to college, but he also finds himself looking back to high school with an unrealized academic goal.

While the Whitnall High School senior awaits word on his college applications, he is still trying to get into the WHS chapter of the National Honor Society.

Stachowiak, 17, is one of about 30 WHS juniors and seniors, out of 90 applicants, turned down last month. And he can only guess why.

“The rejection letter I got doesn’t really tell you much. You don’t know who the (NHS) teachers are and you don’t know the reason why,” Stachowiak said.

Honoring the rules

A panel of several WHS staff members decides who gets into the society, an organization founded in 1921 for recognizing middle and high school student achievement.

To be considered for admission, students usually must have at least a 3.5 grade point average on a 4.0 scale. At least four areas are considered for admission: scholarship, leadership, service and character.

School Board President Rick Kollauf said the announcement every fall of new NHS members sparks disappointment among students who are not accepted and their parents.

“Everybody feels their child is special, either talented or otherwise. There’s always a dispute regarding this and there’s always a gray area of where you draw the line,” said Kollauf, who added students can always appeal to the chapter and the principal.

A less-than-appealing process

Stachowiak said he has appealed his rejection, without success, to the WHS chapter as well as to Principal Joel Eul.

Stachowiak speculated his classroom outspokenness might have caused his rejection from the society.

“I think it’s an injustice because it’s just a lot of staff (members) holding grudges based on your opinions,” Stachowiak said. “I would just speak my mind. Not all teachers necessarily appreciate that.”

Kevin’s father, Tim Stachowiak, noted that his son, an Eagle Scout, recorded 3.79 GPA on his last report card. Those factors, combined with the little information he received in return, has left him wondering how his son could have been rejected for the honor.

“They’ve never communicated to me that my son had been disrespectful to his teachers,” Tim Stachowiak said. “It’s pretty much a mystery.”

Rejected, but unbowed

Tyler LeRoy, 17, another WHS senior passed over by the society, was recently accepted at the U.S. Military Academy. Reluctant to discuss why West Point felt he had the right stuff but the local chapter the National Honor Society did not, Tyler said he would not appeal.

“I’m just kind of fed up with it,” Tyler said. “Once I got my (presidential) appointment to West Point, I just realized it doesn’t matter too much any more.”

A need for change?

School Board Vice President Bill Osterndorf, whose daughter Laura, a WHS student, was recently admitted to the society, suggested the WHS chapter consider making the selection process for admission to the society more open next year.

“If part of the concern is ‘maybe we can have more transparency here,’ I think that goes with the idea that we should be transparent wherever we can,” Osterndorf said.

Eul did not return a reporter’s phone call as of deadline.

John Neville can be reached at (262) 446-6609.

This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Suburban News Roundup

E-mail Newsletter

Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.


Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter
Get the Newsletter!

Login or Register to manage all your newsletter preferences.

Community Watch

» West Allis might hold meeting to help drivers find alternate routes 2/9

» Greenfield city, schools on verge of shared fiber optics for Internet 2/9

» Greenfield schools to get safety improvements thanks to $150,000 grant 2/9

» Greenfield parents may get cost break on child care at schools 2/9

» Updated rankings of area prep boys and girls basketball teams and players 2/8

» Update: West Allis Central High School students respond calmly during bomb-threat evacuation Updated:  2/4

» West Allis schools to start trek back to neighborhood schools in fall Updated:  2/3

» Data skimmers found on several ATMs in West Allis, police warn 2/2

» West Allis schools to leave SAGE, open more seats for nonresidents 2/2

» Positive and uplifting stories in suburban Milwaukee and Lake Country in January 2/1

» Milwaukee Co. launches coyote tracking program in Tosa, West Allis 1/28

» Greenfield park on list of parks not protected from unilateral sale 1/27

» More city spending pitched for West Allis development area 1/27

» Greenfield resident robbed on his doorstep 1/26

» Some school transfer relief suggested for West Allis School District 1/26

» Ex-cop pleads guilty to choking woman in sex encounter, hiding body in suitcase Updated:  1/25

» St. John the Evangelist School to host two open house events 1/22

» Crawdaddy's plans to open on Fat Tuesday in West Allis Updated:  1/21

» Initial Reaction Podcast: Was Jonathan Lucroy speaking the truth or speaking too much? 1/21

» Greenfield man presumed to have drowned in Fox River 1/20

» Garage destroyed, West Allis home damaged by fire, family of 6 escapes 1/19

» Milwaukee Bucks Rim Rockers to perform at Whitnall Falcons halftime show 1/19

» West Allis Next Generation elementary school won't expand to 8th grade 1/19

» Possible student transfer restrictions in West Allis schools gets flak 1/19

» Whitnall School District's Superintendent Lowell Holtz announces retirement 1/18

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss

Advertisement

Advertisement

Election center 2016

Election overage from from the MyCommunityNow coverage area covering suburban Milwaukee County and the eastern half of Waukesha County.

Suburban Milwaukee election center 2016

Local Business Directory

CONNECT    

Advertisement