PHILADELPHIA, March 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a ceremony Monday at the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School Eastern Support Center, 14 students lit candles and recited a pledge to uphold the National Honor Society ideals of character, scholarship, leadership and service. They are the first members of the newly formed NHS Chapter at PA Cyber.
Similar NHS ceremonies are planned at two other regional PA Cyber offices: tonight in Harrisburg, Pa., and Thursday in Baden, Pa., near Pittsburgh. Along with the recent creation of school clubs and existing social programs such as the Family Link organization, the new PA Cyber National Honor Society Chapter – in addition to recognizing academic achievement and citizenship – provides another way for cyber students and their families to get to know each other.
"It is an honor to be a part of something that will make our school higher and better," said Arig El-Sayed, a 10th grader who is taking 11th grade classes and wants to be a dentist. Sitting proudly in the audience were Arig's father, Mohamed El-Sayed, a computer programmer at the University of Pennsylvania, mother Fatma Mesalam, a college graduate, and brothers Anas, 16, and Ayman, 10. A sister, Arwan, is enrolled at Penn.
By virtue of alphabetical order, Jaclyn Burton, a junior from West Chester, Pa., became the first PA Cyber student ever inducted into its National Honor Society. In her fifth year as a PA Cyber student, Jaclyn chose the school "because I'm self-motivated and like to work at my own pace." She is taking dual credit classes at Delaware County Community College and plans to be an elementary teacher. Her parents, Ken and Gin Burton, have seven children, four of them enrolled in PA Cyber.
Stephen Hatton, a senior from Stroudsburg wearing a stylish fedora in sporting jest of his last name, sat with other inductees as parents Robert and Tracy and younger brother Michael looked on. Stephen plans to go into computer training after graduation.
Patty Yeager, a junior from Chester Springs, Pa., who attended with parents Tom and Louise, wants to be a journalist. She said NHS membership may help her get into the college of her choice.
Corey Callery, a PA Cyber graduate from Allentown who recently completed ministerial training and now works as a youth pastor, came to watch with his parents as younger brother Jared, a senior, was inducted. Present also was Jared's girlfriend, Christina Mahurin, a sophomore at PA Cyber, who said she was bullied in regular school and switched to the online school after talking with the Callery family at church.
Like the other new NHS members, Jared carries at least a 3.5 grade point average, and demonstrated to the school's new National Honor Society Faculty Council that he possesses the required qualities of leadership, character and service in addition to having excellent grades.
PA Cyber Principal Dr. Kenneth Powell said NHS chapter guidelines allow schools some latitude in setting qualifications for membership. The school elected to set the bar high, admitting juniors and seniors only, and set the minimum GPA at 3.5.
Powell said while traditional schools are beginning to offer online courses, PA Cyber is adding more interactive and in-person educational offerings and extracurricular activities – "bricks and clicks" in cyber shorthand.
This year the school, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2010, launched student clubs for art, newspaper, science, history, German language and book-of-the-month. Clubs planned for next year include photography, French language, and DECA, an established organization for budding entrepreneurs and managers.
Having an NHS chapter, said Powell, "is a good thing for our students. It validates the character and achievement of those accepted into it. It means something to be a member of the National Honor Society."
Marian Acon and Alesha Yaria are NHS faculty advisers. With them on the NHS faculty council are Michelle Fecht, Don Herron, Jade Kozlina, Mike Shoaf, Karie Walaan and Dr. Powell.
Based in Midland, Pa., PA Cyber is a Pennsylvania public school offering a state-approved, tuition-free education for age 4 kindergarten through high school senior. PA Cyber for the past two years has met all 29 performance targets for AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress, the federal standard of school effectiveness) and surpassed 10,000 student enrollment, making it the largest charter school of any kind in the nation ever to make AYP. In 2010 PA Cyber received a five-year charter renewal from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The website is www.pacyber.org.
Contact: Fred Miller, 724.777.5918, firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCE PA Cyber Charter School