NJHS helps community through volunteering


Looking at his discoveries, Samanyu Kodiganti, eighth grade band major helps his community. “It was fun because we were all running around, excited to clean up the beach,” Kodiganti said. Photo by Kya Small-Brush

From volunteering at beach cleanups to spreading awareness about the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) planned to help their community using different methods this year.

NJHS, composed of 46 eighth graders, is a club supervised by Jennifer Gardner, sixth grade language arts teacher. The organization focuses  on acts that help the community.

“NJHS positively affects all the students, not just at Bak, but kids in the county and state by giving back,” Bailey Arnone, club co-president said.

This was the second year of Gardner’s tenure as the club supervisor.

“It’s been a learning process for me,” Gardner said. “I took it [the club] over last year when afterschool clubs started again and I hope to make it better every year.”

Although the club is mostly monitored by Gardner, students are the main leaders of it. 

“It’s always cool to see how students can find independence and reach goals together,” Samanyu Kodiganti, club member said.

For their first group event, NJHS decided to participate in a beach cleanup at Loggerhead Marinelife Center at Juno Beach on Oct. 15.

“It was really fun; I really enjoyed it because I got to spend time with my friends and help clean a beach,” Arnone said.

However, the beach cleanup was not the end of their plans for helping out their community. 

“Well, coming toward the holidays, you have a lot of ideas,” Genevieve Cox, club member said. “We have this thing where we let people know about UNICEF and other seasonal things.”

In October, to go along with Halloween, NJHS ran an event called “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF,”where  club members could attach a customized QR code to their trick-or-treat baskets. The QR code led the people who scanned to a website where they could read about and potentially donate to UNICEF. 

“I find it interesting that people are trying to find new ways to give to people,” Kodiganti said.  “New electronic ways, new physical ways, it all helps in the grand scheme of things, and it makes the world more easier and applicable to help.”

Additionally, NJHS partnered with Builders Club for a food drive. 

The food drive was for two organizations: Friends of Foster Children and Adopt-A-Family of Palm Beach County. Students were encouraged to bring non-perishable foods, such as cans of carrots and jars of gravy, empty baskets and Thanksgiving decorations. With these in hand, fun baskets full of food were donated to the organizations. 

“Each year, we’re trying to do more,” said Gardner, “But we’re really trying to help different areas of the community.”