NHS Spends Night Without a Home

BFA students participate in Shanty Night.

BFA students participate in “Shanty Night.”

Taylor Paquette, Mercury Writer

On Saturday, October 22, BFA’s chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS) is kicking off their year with a new look for the former “Shanty Night,” as well as coordinating support for another community event.

Both will be held at the Collins-Perley Complex.

“NHS’ Night Without a Home” is an event for the active NHS members only.

The participating student members and some faculty chaperones will sleep outside that night.

Tim’s House’s annual Walkathon to End Homelessness will start that day at 2:00 PM, and it will run through 5:00 PM.

BFA students ready to spend the night.
                                 BFA students ready to spend the night.

“Located at 24 Kingman Street . . . Tim’s House began providing services in 1993 with the help of area churches, businesses, schools, community organizations, and other community members that recognized the need for the programs we offer.” (http:vt-samaritan_house_st_albans)

The non-profit organization provides emergency shelter, transitional housing, and family transitional housing for residents of Franklin and Grand Isle counties.

The NHS at BFA has a long history of fundraising, and public service.

Andi Esenler (‘17) serves as president this year.

World Languages teacher Kristi Leet is faculty adviser.

The Walkathon is a big event for the community, NHS and Tim’s House. “The Walkathon is open to the public. We have also invited the NHS chapters from MVU, Enosburg, and BFA Fairfax . . . it is also open to any community member that wants to participate,” Leet said.

Combining a worthy public event with a school based activity is a natural combination to raise awareness about the problem of homelessness in Vermont. Referring to the event last year, Esenler recalled; “It was fun and a good night for NHS, showing awareness of homelessness although it wasn’t like the complete experience. Shanty night last year was definitely one of my favorite memories.”

NHS members are requested to do their best to raise funds for Tim’s House, as well as actually walk in the Walkathon themselves.

“There is a goal, the goal of each student is to raise 50 dollars,” Leet said.

If the approximately 60 active NHS members each meet their goal, Tim’s House could receive $3,000.

NHS officers with donation check
                                            NHS officers with donation check

The “new look” for the student activity sleeping outside involves a change in the sleeping accommodations.

“In the past they use to bring cardboard boxes for shelter, but this year we are actually changing that. This year we are welcoming the students to bring tarps,” Leet said.

There are a number of reasons for the change to tarps.

The tarps are more typical of what a homeless person would actually use. Also, cardboard is not really weatherproof.

“It was cold, and it was raining; my box collapsed,” Esenler said. Once the students arrive, they are required to stay the full 12 hours.

The volunteer teacher chaperones are allowed a little break; they can stay for 6 hours.

Underclass students who are interested in becoming part of the active NHS chapter need to be aware that the group has high

Three NHS chapters: BFA, MVU, & Enosburg
                             Three NHS chapters: BFA, MVU, & Enosburg

standards for academics and ethical behavior.

“Definitely make sure you make all the (NHS) requirements. Your GPA has to be at least a 3.5. Also, make sure you do a lot of community service,” Esenler said.