Hatch offers selfless service

Rebecca Burnett, Morgan Willingham, Logan Burnett and Tonya Hatch after National English Honor Society Inductions in October. (Contributed)

Rebecca Burnett, Morgan Willingham, Logan Burnett and Tonya Hatch after National English Honor Society Inductions in October. (Contributed)

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist
“We’re moving our induction to fall,” National English Honor Society Sponsor Tonya Hatch said.  As the teacher who brought the “Much Ado About Literature” Chapter of NEHS to Pelham High School, Hatch always has the perfect plan for celebrating students who excel in the language arts.
Finding Hatch in the parking lot unloading a trunk full of cake and the ingredients for punch, we worked together on moving the makings of a reception inside as we discussed the MIA status of our school punch bowl. She also had a plan for that. From the emails about the event, her extreme efforts to insure that all eligible students are included, her consultation with the NEHS executive committee, her printing of programs, rehearsing the induction ceremony with the officers, arranging for the space for the induction and the reception, Tonya Hatch brings NEHS to fruition at PHS.
Hatch also asks someone of literary significance at school to speak to the group at each induction. This year her choice was the woman who, by adding senior AP English literature to her schedule of honors English 9, has become the alpha and omega of PHS English—Rebecca Burnett.
Sponsor of the award-winning PHS Battle of the Books team,  junior varsity scholars bowl coach, and the woman who brought the first book club to PHS, Burnett shared some of her best literary wisdom accrued from the lines of many good books.
Burnett began with “It’s not about you,” a much loved first line from Rick Warren’s book “The Purpose Driven Life.”  She reminded students that an honor society is a service society and encouraged them to enter with a heart prepared to serve reminding them “to use their wisdom to change the lives of others.”
Finally, Burnett encouraged students to put a twist on John F. Kennedy’s call to service and “Ask not what their school could do for them, but to ask instead what they could do for their school?”
As a woman who has lived that service to PHS inexhaustibly for the past decade, Rebecca Burnett serves as a shining example.