By Megan Lagerquist
National Honor Society Vice President

Last Sunday, May 6th, Colchester High School’s National Honor Society (NHS) participated in the COTS Walk in Burlington, an event put on by COTS to raise money and awareness for Vermont’s homeless population. 

The Committee on Temporary Shelter provides emergency shelter, transitional and permanent housing, prevention and other services for those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.  Beginning at Battery Park, the 3-mile walk took participants into various COTS properties, from family shelters to transitional housing for veterans.

National Honor Society is, as one would guess from the name, a nationwide organization that promotes academic excellence, community service, and leadership.  Each participating high school has its own branch, led by a group of elected student officials and one faculty advisor.

At CHS, students must maintain a GPA of 3.8 or higher (on a 4.33 scale), and complete at least 40 hours of community service over the course of their junior and senior years.  Members volunteer both in and outside of the school community, from mentoring younger students to helping out at local marathons or other events.

Each year, Colchester NHS traditionally organizes one culminating project. Last year, the group held a donation drive at the high school for the Chittenden County Humane Society; this year, NHS members raised $750 to donate to COTS and assembled a group of 45 walkers.

Students were excited to learn more about the way COTS serves the greater Burlington community, make their contribution, and, of course, celebrate with free Ben & Jerry’s at the end. Though this is NHS’s biggest undertaking of the year, they also organize smaller service projects throughout the year, including facilitating Red Cross’ Blood Drive at CHS, which took place this Wednesday, May 16th.

“Being a part of the COTS Walk helped me realize how important it is to be an active member in your community,” CHS senior Julia Pellegrino-Wood commented, reflecting on the personal impact the walk had on her.  “It also helped to put the different challenges people face into perspective.”  These are the lessons NHS hopes to instill on students throughout all the volunteering they do.