In the spring of 2015, a chapter of the National Social Studies Honor Society, otherwise known as Rho Kappa, was introduced at Staples High School. Rho Kappa is made up of members of the senior class who have earned top grades in social studies courses throughout their freshman, sophomore and junior year.
Led by social studies department head Lauren Francese and social studies teacher Jeanne Stevens, Rho Kappa made several goals for its first year at Staples.
“We want students to understand the world through the lens of social sciences,” Francese said. “Our goal here is to have a group of students that have a lot of enthusiasm for social studies.”
Every month, members of Rho Kappa hold a meeting to plan individual civil service projects and smaller projects around the school, like creating a bulletin board for Veterans Day. Each member is required to complete 10 hours of community service within the realm of social studies.
“There are efforts to appreciate history and society by members of Rho Kappa through service projects,” Alex Suppan ’16, a Rho Kappa member said. “I volunteered at the Westport Historical Society, and I know a lot of students volunteered at the Fairfield Museum and History Center.”
Civil service projects can range anywhere from preserving history to helping create it.
“I worked with three friends on substitute teacher Jack Klinge’s RTM campaign in November,” Maggie Brown ’16, another Rho Kappa member, said. “The work we did included marketing and submitting letters for publication to local papers on his behalf. Having never worked on a campaign before, it was a great way to gain insight on a topic I’m very interested in,”
Last fall, elections were held for positions within Rho Kappa. The Staples chapter elected a President, a Vice President and a Secretary before planning its agenda for the year.
“Rho Kappa is interesting because it allows students to express their knowledge and love for Social studies directly,” Vice President Harrison Knapp ’16 said.
After one year as a part of the Staples community, Rho Kappa inducted 67 rising seniors as new members of the society on Monday, May 23, expanding the society’s reach beyond the graduating class.
“The members positively impact our community by encouraging young students to excel in social studies,” Noah Robins ’16 said. “It gives students an incentive to work hard in social studies.”