Fifteen years ago, James W. Lewis and Claes Nobel founded the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS). Its purpose was to recognize a select few high school students that have demonstrated impeccable leadership, scholarship and community commitment.
Since 2002, more than one million high school students from 160 countries have been invited to join the prestigious society. In December, Russellville High School senior Layne Boyd become one of the newest members of the elite group as she was awarded the honor for her superior academic achievement.
“On behalf of NSHSS, I am honored to recognize the hard work, sacrifice and commitment that Layne has demonstrated to achieve this exceptional level of academic excellence,” Nobel said. “She is now a member of a unique community of scholars–a community that represents our very best hope for the future.”
When Boyd found out she had been invited to join NSHSS, knowing the honor bestowed upon her, she was thrilled.
“I was ecstatic and overwhelmed, because I had no idea that I would receive it,” she said. “I just had this feeling of happiness because I’ve always worked really hard to maintain my grades while being involved in all these extracurricular activities that I’m in, and that’s been difficult.”
Boyd’s invitation to the esteemed society came as no surprise to those that know what she brings to the classroom. Beth Gilmer, a teacher at RHS, says Boyd is the type of student every educator wants in their classroom.
“Layne is one of the most conscientious students I’ve ever had the pleasure of teaching,” Gilmer said. “Her greatest asset, academically, is her willingness to go above and beyond what she’s asked to do. When she doesn’t understand something right away, she asks questions. She has a desire to learn as much as she can. Speaking as a teacher, that’s the kind of student that is just a joy to have in the classroom.”
Aside from her academic achievements, Boyd has been engaged in myriad extracurricular activities and community service projects.
“I’m involved with Hugh O’Brian Youth (HOBY) Leadership, I went to Girls State, I went to Governor’s School, I’m National Honor Society Vice President–I’m in a lot,” she said.
Adding to the list, Boyd is a member of Mu Alpha Theta, RHS Annual Staff, the HOBY Alumni Staff, the HOBY Academic All-Stars program and Franklin County Junior Leadership. Boyd also serves as the vice president of Future Educators of America, the treasurer of Future Business Leaders of America, Student Council treasurer, a HOBY ambassador and Christian Students United Project Manager.
Boyd was second alternate on the RHS Homecoming Court, the Franklin County Distinguished Young Women second alternate and Scholastics Category winner, and a two-time recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award.
As a member of NSHSS, Boyd will receive success-building benefits for life.
“We are proud to provide lifetime membership to young scholars to support their growth and development,” said Lewis. “We aim to help students like Layne build on their academic success by connecting them with unique learning experiences and resources to help prepare them for college and meaningful careers.”
According to the NSHSS, the mission of the society is to provide students with resources and tools to help further their education and explore their passions. For Boyd, that passion is science.
After graduating with an honors diploma this upcoming spring, Boyd plans to attend the University of North Alabama and major in general biology with a minor in chemistry. Her career goal is to become a family clinic physician.
“I love studying science,” she said. “I want to be a doctor. I’ve always wanted to work with labs and on mechanical stuff. That’s always been a dream of mine to do.”
As she enters her final few months of high school, Boyd hopes her dedication to academics and the community will be an influence on others to be the best they can be.
“I know that hard work pays off,” she said. “I’ve always tried to be the kind of person that inspires others to put out their hard work and their effort. I just can’t ever see someone going half-way or half-speed, because if you do you’ll never know what potential they’re made out of. That’s why I always try to inspire others to push harder.”