by Evan Newman
March 3, 2019
The smell of coffee and ink wafted through the halls on that chilled, dark night.
The NEHS recently hosted their second annual coffee house event on February 26 following their inductions to the club. In the coffee house, the NEHS had free food, coffee, and many performances to show its appreciation and aptitude for English.
The NEHS, or the National English Honors Society, has become more charity-focused within the last couple years. Last year, they held a book drive for Harlem Park Elementary School, an impoverished elementary school in Baltimore, where they gave the school over twenty-five hundred books, according to the NEHS president, senior Emily Bickel.
After the first few years of not knowing what to do after being made, the NEHS began to go into more activities like the coffee house, following the last coffee house’s success, usually focused on some sort of charitable cause. “We’ve embraced the charity side of it,” said Mr. Vennard. “We’re trying to use our powers for good more than we have before.”
The coffee house itself, outside of the charity work behind it, is about students coming and experiencing other students’ poems, songs that they prepared, or even improv from Atholton’s own AHI Tuna club. Students could bring anything, according to Bickel “Anything that you feel expresses something interesting about you that you want to share.”
Obviously, the writing in NEHS has to have a point to it, like what you believe you’ve excelled at or something that you feel strongly about, says sophomore Yara Ayache. When it comes to feeling strongly about something, it comes back to what Bickel said, about anything that expresses an interest you have. “If you can write an entire essay about Kentucky Fried Chicken and show how passionate you are about it,” she later went on to say, then it could be done.
The room fell silent, only the distant, short cries from Mr. Stuppy’s daughter in the room. A girl from the audience stepped up and moved to the front of the room, her poem in front of her, staring into the crowd. When she began, the room was filled with words strung together, forming passages and phrases, all showing the effort and attention given to this poem, and the care for the subject being shared to everyone. The attention was her’s and she grasped it and wouldn’t let go.
The NEHS concluded their second annual coffee house, and while it was shorter than last year’s due to rescheduling from the previous snow days, it was still fun for those who could attend, and, according to Bickel, “It’s just a great time for people who love English and they just express themselves… it’s a great way just to connect with the English community here.”