Taylor Rowles, Special Correspondent
The National Honor Society (NHS) will recognize two honorary members, Madame Terry Caccavale and Mr. Chris Meo, at the induction on Tuesday, May 24th.
Mrs. Jamie Murphy, NHS advisor, explained that this year felt like “our decision” because NHS students personally selected this year’s honorary members.
Mr. Meo and Madame Caccavale will be added to the long list of honorary members including Mrs. Jerilyn Hogan from the guidance department and Mrs. Lina Arena-Derosa, an active community member.
“It is unusual to have two honorary members,” said Mrs. Murphy, but this year NHS is making an exception because both individuals’ hard-work and dedication set them apart.
Madame Caccavale, the Foreign Language District Coordinator, started the French Immersion Program in Holliston in 1979, and she has taught at every grade level in the school system. “It has been a wonderful ride due to the efforts of all the teachers. I am proud to be part of the team and our accomplishments,” she said.
Mr. Meo was hired in 2001 as the high school Network Administrator, and he is currently Holliston’s Technology Director. He has focused part of his career on putting the wireless system in HHS.
During the ceremony, NHS students will introduce the honorary members and then Madame Caccavale and Mr. Meo will have the opportunity to speak to the society’s members. After their speeches, both will receive a medal to commemorate their inductions.
In order to be recognized as an honorary member, a person must uphold the four pillars of NHS, (scholarship, service, leadership, and character), and exemplify them throughout the community. Mrs. Murphy said that she was “shocked that Madame Caccavale hasn’t already been an honorary member.” She said, “Madame Caccavale is the first person who comes to my mind because she exhibits ease and grace with everything she does.”
Mrs. Murphy said that they chose Mr. Meo because his work is often “overlooked,” but “he goes out of his way” to help others. She recalls an instance when she had caught her necklace in a laptop, which consequently started a fire. During the chaotic mess, Mr. Meo was concerned for her well-being. Rather than be concerned with the destruction of the laptop, the first thing Mr. Meo said was “Are you okay?” This is the type of thoughtful service that he displays on a regular basis.
Senior Sydney Snow, an NHS officer, will be speaking on behalf of Madame Caccavale. Snow started in the French Immersion program in kindergarten and had Madame Caccavale as her French teacher during her junior year. Snow said “[Madame Caccavale] does not leave any kids behind” and that “she deserves a lot more recognition than she gets.”
Both inductees are honored to be recognized in the ceremony. Madame Caccavale said the “Biggest honor is being inducted with Mr. Meo. Mr. Meo is my hero.”
Mr. Meo said, “I thank the National Honor Society members for selecting me.” He added “It is a big honor.”
As students continue through their education, Mr. Meo has a message for them to keep in mind. He said “Make sure you do what you want to do, and make sure it is fun.” Growing up, he found a passion for computers so he followed his dream in a way that served others.
Madame Caccavale feels connected with NHS’s pillar of character. “Character is all you have left. It is who you are.”
She was selected for the Distinguished Alumni Award at the State University of New York, Cortland, where she gave a speech about the idea “that there is no such thing as being in a permanent state of being ‘distinguished’.” She finds that her “famous quote” encompasees how she wants to lead her life. “None of us is ever any more or less distinguished than are the content and purpose of the last act of kindness or unkindness he or she has directed at another human being.” She believes words like ‘honorable’ are fleeting, because a person can ruin it with a single choice.
Snow hopes to find the passion for life that Madame Caccavale has and said that having her as a teacher has “sealed the deal for being a French major.”
Both Mrs. Murphy and Snow agree that the induction of the new honorary members is not a huge event, but it is a small way to recognize the huge amount of work they do behind the scenes in our community.