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Science Honor Society Starts at Cortland HS

It was at a STANYS (Science Teachers Association of NYS) conference that Cortland High School Physics teacher, Charles Canestero first heard of the NYS Science Honor Society. Canestero said, “immediately when I heard about the Science Honor Society, I thought we should definitely bring this to Cortland High School. The more I looked into it, the more I thought this would be a great opportunity for our students and be something really special.”

The New York State Science Honor Society was established in 1991 and was the first statewide Science Honor Society in the United States. Its purpose is to encourage an interest and understanding of science and science-related careers, as well as to recognize the academic achievement in science of high school students. 

Students who are members are enthused about research, participate in science related activities, have demonstrated achievement in science learning, are service-minded, and present excellent personal character.

The unique aspect of the NYS Science Honor Society is that there is a service project component. Students can either choose to do service that is assigned to a teacher as a lab or teaching assistant. This is modeled after the way students in a science field complete their coursework in college or at a university. The second option is that students would have to complete an independent research project that culminates in a science fair and article that is published in a national or regional journal.

Once formed, the Cortland Chapter of the honor society will be exploring the options they have to complete a schoolwide research project. Some ideas already brainstormed are:  to build a school garden, promote recycling, or create a solar walk.

The plan is to introduce the selection and application process this spring and to launch the society in the fall. Below is a list of the criteria for selection. If you know a student that is interested or if you fit the criteria and are a student at Cortland High School, please see Mr. Canestero for an application. Upon graduation, students will get to wear special cords that symbolize the students membership in the NYS Science Honor Society, affix a seal on their diploma, and have access to regional scholarships available only to members of Science Honor Society.

Chapter Membership Selection Criteria

  • First and foremost, it is based upon science scholarship, service, and personal character.
  • Candidates must have successfully completed a minimum of three semesters or equivalent of high school/college science (1.5 years).
  • Candidates must have a minimum weighted science average of 85%
  • Candidates must have a minimum scholastic average of 75%
  • Candidates must have two faculty recommendations, both of which must be from the science department.
  • Candidates must have shown interest and participated in science or technology related activities.



Mr. Michael J. Hoose, Superintendent

1 Valley View Drive
Cortland, NY 13045

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