More than 100 Lincoln-Way North High School students were inducted into the Pi Sigma Pi history honor society Tuesday night (Oct. 9).
The students were nominated by their social science teachers based on their grades and enthusiasm for history.
“It takes an exceptional student to be nominated for this honor,” said Kevin McCleish, the faculty sponsor of Pi Sigma Pi at Lincoln-Way North High School.
Pi Sigma Pi is one of the few academic honor societies at Lincoln-Way and, therefore, one of the only extra-curricular activities in which students have to earn their membership.
After students are nominated for the honor by their teachers, they must complete a membership application by writing about historical sites they have visited, three people from the past that they would like to speak to, and a one-page essay explaining what history means to them.
“I was quite impressed with these responses,” McCleish told parents Tuesday night. “Overall, your sons and daughters conveyed their deep commitment to understanding the past in order to fulfill their responsibilities as global citizens today.”
Lincoln-Way North senior Tyler Sucharzewski, the president of Pi Sigma Pi, shared his reasons for joining Pi Sigma Pi.
“History is more than just facts and dates one should know,” he said. “Sure, the chronology in which history unfolds is important, but the focus should be upon understanding the events as they occurred and their significance to contemporary society.
“In history, everything happens for a reason,” he continued, “whether the implications benefit or hinder our society. Wars do not start without reason, and countries are not formed simply for the sole purpose of creating one. Using history, we can examine what caused the darkest hours of human civilization, from the Civil War to the Holocaust, and how we can prevent similar occurrences. We can also revisit the greatest moments of our past, like the first lunar landing or the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.”
McCleish echoed those thoughts.
“The study of history enables students to debate, analyze, read and write on a variety of historical and social topics,” he said. “Students are then eventually able to define what they do and do not believe in. Historical analysis also fosters the ability to empathize with different groups of people and individuals, which is also an important skill in today’s society. Close-mindedness limits the potential of students in a world where people across the globe are becoming closer connected.
“The study of history will inevitably enable us to more fully understand our culture and society as well,” he continued. “It is imperative to study history since a society’s identity is made up of the individuals, forces and events that comprise the past. Without this collective memory, society would be comparable to a person with amnesia. On both the individual and collective level, what he have been in the past forms what we are today.”
As members of Pi Sigma Pi, students will be able to attend monthly meetings to discuss current events, participate in discussions led by guest speakers and debate ideas with their teachers at an annual round table discussion.
Their next meeting is tentatively scheduled for election night – Tuesday, Nov. 6. Students plan to gather in the cafeteria at 6:30 p.m. to follow the fury of activity as returns are reported.
“It will surely be an exciting meeting to end an exciting campaign season,” said McCleish.