Rigorous Academics

Honor Societies

National Honor Society (NHS) - Catherine McAuley Chapter

The National Honor Society is a national organization dedicated to scholarship, service, leadership and character among high school students. Membership is an honor bestowed upon a select group of juniors and seniors by the Faculty Advisory Council on behalf of the faculty.  Minimum criteria for selection are: 3.75 cumulative grade point average, completion of the Mercy service hour's requirement by the due date, leadership in activities and satisfactory conduct.

Requirement for Acceptance.

  • Maintain an overall weighted GPA of 3.75.
  • Have demonstrated leadership skills .
  • Have demonstrated commitment to community service.
  • Have a completed teacher recommendation.
  • Have a completed Application with an essay about why they qualify for membership. See link here.

Selection is made by a faculty council (5-7 members) and approved by the Head of School. The Advisor facilitates the meeting but does not vote. 

In order to maintain status and receive a stole at graduation a student must:

  • Maintain overall weighted GPA of 3.75.
  • Completed an additional 20 hours of service (10 of which are in tutoring).
  • Attended monthly meeting, the Induction Ceremony, and Service activities.
  • Are in good academic and behavioral standing at Mercy.

California Scholarship Federation - Catherine McAuley Chapter

The California Scholarship Federation is a statewide organization which honors outstanding academic achievement. Membership is determined by a point system based on semester grades. Sophomores, juniors and seniors may apply for full membership; freshmen may apply for associate membership. Applications for membership are accepted in September and January, during a two week enrollment period announced by the CSF moderator. Students must submit a copy of their report cards. Copies of additional report cards may be obtained from the Registrar for $1.00.

Students who earn membership for four of the six semesters of their sophomore, junior and senior years are Life Members and are entitled to wear the CSF honor cord with their graduation gowns. Students who earn membership for all six semesters of their sophomore, junior and senior years become Life Members with Highest Honor and are entitled to wear the CSF honor stole with their graduation gowns.

The California Scholarship Federation exists to promote and recognize high standards of scholarship, service and citizenship on the part of students in California schools. For more information, students should contact their counselor.

Please turn in forms to the College Admissions Office. Forms are available in pdf form below and are available in the main office. Application forms are due to the Ms Ohanessian within the first 6 weeks of the semester. If you have any questions, please contact Ms Ohanessian at (650) 762-1151.

CSF List of courses and application form.

American Sign Language Honor Society

The primary mission for the American Sign Language Honor Society is to encourage and recognize high academic achievement in ASL studies for high school and college/university students. Like honor societies for other languages, the ASLHS seeks to enrich the learning experience of those studying ASL.

To be part of the American Sign Language Honor Society, to graduate with American Sign Language Honors and to wear honor cords at graduation and induction events, the following conditions must be met:

The student:

  • is a student at a high school that offers ASL and is invited by the ASL teacher;
  • Has studied ASL for at least three years;
  • Possesses an overall grade point average of 3.5 / B+ in her ASL coursework;
  • Possesses an overall grade point average of 3.5 / B+ in all other subjects;
  • Completes at least two (2) hours of community service that benefits the Deaf community or attends one (1) teacher approved Deaf event, and completes the required follow up for the service/event.

 Laurent Clerc Medal

The Laurent Clerc Medal is the only ASLHS honor open to ASL students at both the high school and college levels if the following eligibility requirements are met:

  • is a student at a high school  or college and is invited by the ASL teacher;
  • Has studied ASL for at least four years;
  • Possesses an overall grade point average of 3.7 / A- in  her ASL coursework;
  • Possesses an overall grade point average of 3.7 / A- in all other subjects;
  • Completes at least four (4) hours of community service that benefits the Deaf community or attends two (2) teacher approved Deaf event, and completes the required follow up for the service/events

For additional information please contact the Mercy World Language Department or the ASL teacher.

English Honor Society - Triumvirate Society

National English Honor Society:

 NEHS is open to high school students and select faculty who have demonstrated exceptional ability in such areas as literary analysis, media studies, composition, linguistic study, and creative writing, and who meet the requirements of membership.

  • Section I. Candidates for membership must have been in attendance at the school the equivalent of one semester prior to being considered.
  • Section II. Candidates must have completed the equivalent of two semesters of English prior to induction as members.
  • Section III. Candidates must have achieved a minimum overall grade point average of a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) prior to induction as members.
  • Section IV. Candidates must have achieved a minimum English grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) prior to induction as members.
  • Section V. Candidates achieving the minimum requirements may apply for membership in NEHS. The application process will require candidates to demonstrate their desire to be a member of NEHS. The Mercy application processes include an application essay. Acceptance is based on demonstrated academic performance, interest in NEHS, and applicant character.

Active membership in NEHS at Mercy requires that the student contribute to the literary magazine, contribute to the tri-school creative writing club, and complete writing center/tutoring requirement.

Students who have been an active member for two consecutive years will receive cords at graduation. 

Scholarship opportunities are always available through NEHS.

For more information contact the English department at Mercy High School.

La Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica - La Virgen de Guadalupe Chapter

The Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica is an honor society for high school students enrolled in Spanish and Portuguese and is sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. Formally organized as the Spanish National Honor Society in 1953, the name was changed in 1959. At present there are over 1,700 national and international chapters.

The purpose of the society is to recognize high achievement of high school students in the Spanish and Portuguese languages and to promote a continuing interest in Hispanic and Portuguese studies.

Any secondary school student who has maintained an honor average in the study of Spanish or Portuguese for a minimum of three semesters and is in the 10th grade or higher is eligible. Definition of "honor grade" is left to the discretion of the individual sponsor but it should be remembered that the SHH is an honor society for those students of high academic achievement.

For more information, contact the Mercy High School World Language Department.

La Société Honoraire de Français - Antoine de St. Exupéry Chapter

The French Honor Society at Mercy High School is sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French which recognizes high achievement in French at the secondary level.

Student Membership
General Eligibility Requirements to be met by all students:
a. Membership shall be based on scholarship in general and scholarship in French in particular, leadership in French activities and interest, either in a group or as an individual.
b. Membership shall be restricted to those actively engaged in the study of French in a secondary school.
c. Candidates must be enrolled in the fourth semester of French.
d. Candidates must be in the 10th, 11th or l2th grade of high school. Exception made for those second semester of Level II because of extensive junior high school work in French.
e. Transfer students must have spent at least one full semester in the high school before becoming eligible.
f. Selection of candidates shall take place as determined by the Foreign Language Department.

Scholastic Eligibility Requirements to be met by all students:
a. Candidates must have maintained an A- average or higher in French during the semester of selection as well as a cumulative semester average of A-. This latter average is to be based on the grades of the three preceding semesters.
b. Candidates must have maintained a B- average or higher in all other subjects during the semester of selection as well as a cumulative semester average of B-. This latter average is to be based on the grades of the three preceding semesters. French may not be used in calculating this average.

For more information, contact the World Language Department at Mercy High School

Math National Honor Society - Mu Alpha Theta

Mu Alpha Theta is the National High School and Two-Year College Mathematics Honor Society with 99,000 student members in June 2013 in more than 2000 schools. We are dedicated to inspiring keen interest in mathematics, developing strong scholarship in the subject, and promoting the enjoyment of mathematics in high school and two-year college students.

Mu Alpha Theta achieves these goals by:

  • Providing a method for schools to recognize and encourage those students who enjoy and excel in mathematics.
  • Organizing a national convention for students and teachers to participate in math-related events and interact with others from across the country.
  • Rewarding outstanding extracurricular achievement by offering special awards to both students and their faculty advisors.
  • Providing mathematics competitions to participating members at their own school through the Log 1 Contest, the Rocket City Math League, and the Mathematical Minutes Video Contest.

The national requirements for individual membership in a local chapter are as follows. These are the minimum requirements; chapters may elect to have stricter standards but not lower ones. Students are encouraged to participate in Mu Alpha Theta club meetings and activities, even if they do not qualify as members:

  1. Members must be high school students in grades 9 through 12.
  2. Members must be registered with Mu Alpha Theta at the school at which their permanent records reside.
  3. Members must have completed the equivalent of two years of college preparatory mathematics, including algebra and/or geometry, and have completed or are enrolled in a third year of college preparatory mathematics.
  4. On the 4-point grading scale, members must have at least a 3.0 math grade point average.

Mercy High School Requirements:

The above plus:

  1. Members must be enrolled in an advanced honors (H Alg 2/Trig or higher) or AP math or computer science class.
  2. Members must possess, on a 4-point scale, at least a 3.2 overall GPA and a 3.3 math GPA.

For further information please contact the Mathematics Department.

To apply to join MuAlpha Theta please fill in this form.

National Art Honor Society

Members of the National Art Honor Society are recognized for their artistic talent as well as service. Members of NAHS from the Junior Class create portraits for orphaned children for the Memory Project. Members actively serve the neighboring community of Burlingame by representing the Mercy High School Visual and Performing Art Department at functions including, but not limited to, the annual Mercy Arts Fest and the Fabulous Works of Art Elementary School Art Competition.

National Honor Society for Dance Arts

The National Honor Society for Dance Arts recognizes outstanding artistic merit, leadership and academic achievement in students studying dance and fosters an appreciation for dance as a true art form and one worthy of recognition and prestige.

National Social Studies Honor Society - Rho Kappa - Townsend Chapter

The National Social Studies Honor Society, also called Rho Kappa, honors excellence in the field of Social Studies. Students who succeed in gaining acceptance will graduate with blue and white cords to signify their accomplishment. Students at Mercy high school are eligible if they meet the requirements below. 

  • Junior or Senior.
  • Have a weighted overall GPA of 3.5 or higher.
  • Have a weighted GPA of 3.5 or higher in their social studies courses.
  • Have completed 4 semesters of Social Studies. 
  • Have demonstrated Leadership.
  • Have demonstrated a commitment to community service.
  • Completed the application with a teacher recommendation.

Students who meet the requirements above are approved by Social Studies Department may apply to join Rho Kappa.

To maintain their status and graduate with cords students need to:

  • Maintain their weighted 3.5 overall GPA.
  • Maintain their weighted 3.5 GPA in their social studies courses.
  • Complete a total of 100 hours of community service during their 4 years at Mercy.
  • Attend monthly meetings, the induction ceremony, and service activities.
  • Remain in good academic and behavioral standing at Mercy.

Applications are Due Oct 1st. The link is here.

Science National Honor Society

Science National Honor Society:

SNHS will be the prominent scientific organization that will engender a new group of young thinkers who will be the future of industry, research, and scientific exploration for America.

We pledge to:
  • Encourage and recognize scientific and intellectual thought
  • Advance the students’ knowledge of classical and modern science
  • Communicate with the scientific community
  • Aid the civic community with its comprehension of science (middle school science fair)
  • Encourage students to participate in community service and in turn, encourage a dedication to the pursuit of scientific knowledge that benefits all humankind

Membership for a student in the SNHS is conferred during the last two years of secondary school education. A student must have and maintain a 3.0 grade point average (4.0 scale) to be a member. In addition, the following qualifications must be met and maintained:

  • A member must be enrolled in at least one honors or AP level science class during the eleventh grade year.
  • A member must be enrolled in at least one second year honors or AP level science class during the twelfth grade year.
  • A full member must have taken at least one AP level science class and be a second year member.
  • A member must maintain a B+ average (3.75 on a 4.0 scale) across all science courses.
  • Jr. members must provide 4 hours of peer tutoring during each semester as outlined in the bylaws and Full members must provide 7 hours of peer tutoring during each semester.

Tri-Lingual Scholar Society - Nancy Preston Chapter

The purpose  of  the Tri-Lingual  Scholar  Society is to  recognize  high achievement in the concurrent  study of  any two  of  the following world  languages:   American Sign language, Spanish, and/or  French by students of  Mercy High School,  plus 4 years  of  study of  English,   and  to promote continuity  of  interest in world language  studies. 

  To be eligible for  membership in the TLSS,  students must meet the following criteria:

  • Student must be actively  enrolled in  a  4th  year  level  World language class  (ASL  4,  Spanish IV/IV AP  or  French IV/IV AP), and English IV
  • Student must be concurrently enrolled in a  second  language for  at least two  or  more  years
  • Transfer students must have  spent one full  year in concurrent studies at Mercy High School  before  eligibility.
  • Student must have  an overall GPA  of  85% or  higher.
  • Student must  have  a cumulative  world  language average of  3.5 or higher from all previous courses.  
  • Student must never have  failed a  class  due  to  attendance.
  • Student must  have a good behavior record and no discipline issues on record. 

 The  World Language teachers of  the upper level  classes  will  offer  applications to  all students. Students who believe they meet the qualifications in Section 1 may apply to join the “Nancy Preston” chapter. 

Continuing membership:

  • Each year members commit to fulfilling an activity from each of  the following categories: Academic Commitment and Community Commitment.
  • Academic commitment may be defined  in part as:  concurrent enrollment in two World Language classes and English level 4 while maintaining an overall GPA of 3.5.
  • Community Commitment may be defined as 10 hours  of  community  service. At least 5 of the hours must be either provided by one of the World Language Honor Society chapters, and/ or related to Mercy High School Service Club.  
  • Students meet bi-monthly at the discretion of  the TlSS  sponsor  with  a 75% attendance rate with the  purpose of discussing, planning, and  generating participation for: the initiation ceremony,  ASL/French/Spanish tutoring,
  • Students must continue to demonstrate academic integrity and character:
  • If a student does not continue in the study of concurrent languages, she is no longer considered an active member of TLSS. 

For further information please contact the World Languages Department.

Tri-M Music Honor Society

Mercy High School students belong to various Honor Societies. Please check out the additional links to view information on these Honor Societies.

National Honor Society (NHS)

California Scholarship Federation (CSF)

Science National Honor Society

Spanish Honor Society

French Honor Society

Tri-M Society

Mu Alpha Theta

The Tri-M Music Honor Society is the international music honor society for middle/junior high and high school students. It is designed to recognize students for their academic and musical achievements, reward them for their accomplishments and service activities, and to inspire other students to excel at music and leadership. Through more than 4,500 chartered chapters, Tri-M has helped thousands of young people provide years of service through music in schools throughout the world.


Tri-M shares and supports the objectives of every dedicated music educator-to increase student and school involvement with music and to make a stronger and more unified school music program. Tri-M offers a complete system of rewards that help inspire students and recognize excellence in individuals and chapters. With this system, the society builds self-esteem and provides a channel of personal fulfillment.


Tri-M is a program of MENC: The National Association for Music Education, the largest non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of music education. Through its many programs, activities, publications, and conferences, MENC addresses all aspects of music education and works to ensure that every student can be a part of a balanced, comprehensive, and high quality program of music instruction.


Tri-M was founded in 1936 by Alexander and Frances Harley, incorporated and renamed Modern Music Masters in 1952, and in 1983 recognized as the Tri-M Music Honor Society, a program of MENC: The National Association for Music Education.


Mercy has been a part of the Tri-M Music Honor Society since 2005. A special induction ceremony is held during our fall semester for new members.

For more information, contact the Mercy High School Visual and Performing Arts Department.