Société Honoraire de Français

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Student Membership fee?

A:  The Student Membership fee is required for each student who is inducted into the National French Honor Society.  This fee is $3 per student.  It is the only fee that is required in order to officially induct students.  Each inductee will receive a membership certificate (unlettered).  All other merchandise is optional, including the lettering of student names on certificates.

As per the by-laws of the SHF national constitution, the student membership fee must be submitted for all new inductees at the time of their induction.  Student membership fees may be submitted to National Headquarters at any point during the calendar year.  A charter may go inactive if no student membership fees are submitted within a two year period. 

Q: Do we need a local constitution?

A: It's always a good idea to add to the by-laws of the SHF national constitution which purposely remains vague in certain areas to accommodate many different schools. If membership will be forfeited should certain standards not be met, then the process must be described in the local by-laws. If parents contact the national office to ask about selection or dismissal criteria, they are referred to the particular school and sponsor. 

Visit the link, SHF members give back! to learn more about voluteer work and services of local SHF student members.

Q: When do most schools hold initiation?

A: Initiations are most often held In the spring (April and May) and usually in level III (another reason for a by-law, because the national constitution allows membership in the second semester of Level II). SHF is for high school students only.   For information about les Jeunes Amis du Français, the honor society for middle and elementary school students, click here

We strongly suggest that SHF chapters order materials as early as possible.  During the months of  March-June, the SHF receives on average 100 orders daily.  As the number of orders go up during these months, so does the processing time of materials.  Please order 2-3 weeks in advance, when possible, for all shipping services. 

Visit our page, How to place an SHF order, to find out more about who can place an SHF order and what to submit when placing an SHF order.

Q: Can we initiate foreign exchange students?

A: We encourage you to do so. You might want to establish at the local level associate (for the exchange period) and honorary (for guests and administrators) memberships in your local constitution.

Q: Does the SHF have an emblem I could use on invitations?

A: Yes, a fleur-de-lys with the symbol of France, a rooster, overlaying the fleur-de-lys with the name of our society above and laurel wreaths surrounding it all. A small gold foil seal and a blazer patch are available with this insignia.

Q: What can SHF members wear at graduation?

A: The SHF red, white and blue honor cord is a typical adornment to a graduating SHF member.  As per the by-laws in the SHF national constitution, the SHF honor cord may be worn by all SHF student members at graduation.  However, this does not prohibit an SHF chapter from creating their own local by-laws in which the SHF honor cord is worn by a designated group of SHF members (i.e- AP/ Honors students, etc.).   Also, individual schools may have policies as to what adornments can be worn at graduation.

Q: Can a student who discontinues the study of French wear a cord at graduation?

A: As long as he/she has not been involved in any incident which would damage his/her honor status, there is no clear reason in the national document to deny the honor cord at graduation. The chapter policy should appear in the local constitution/by-laws.

Q: What can be worn at initiation?

A: We currently have available custom SHF pins, t-shirts, tassels, and cords.  These materials can be purchased through the the AATF on-line store or by submitting the proper order form.  See How to place an order for complete details on who can place orders, and what the correct procedure is in doing so.

The SHF sponsor and school of a chapter will decide when SHF materials are to be given to their student members.  For example, the student Initiate certificate and the casual pin are typically given to new inductees, while second year students might receive the 2nd-year certificate and formal pin.  Graduation cords and tassels may be given to all SHF student-members, or they may be reserved for student members who have taken advanced level French courses.  Whatever the chapter policy may be, it should apprear in the local constitution.

Q: What are the seals? 

A: There are two seals: (1) a sticker, ¾” round, a fleur-de-lys overlaid with the French rooster, the name of the society and laurel wreaths surrounding it, and (2)  a gold diploma seal, 1” round, gold-foil seal with fleur-de-lys at north, south, east, and west points and centered with Special Recognition of Excellence surrounding the centered fleur-de-lys. Teachers can affix the small gold foil sticker to diplomas, invitations, plain buttons, and the newly designed 8 1/2" X 11" certificate. The larger one fits completely over the graphic on the certificate.

Q: What's the competition for travel scholarships?

A: In 2015, we gave 10 $1000 Travel Awards and 20 $50 Creative Writing Awards with prizes. 

Typically, applications to these awards must be sent and postmarked by 1st day of February of each year.

Q: Who selects the winners of Travel and Creative Writing Awards?

A: The SHF president makes the final selection.

Q: What is the news from the most recent meeting for SHF sponsors?

A: The 2016 SHF breakfast in Austin, Texas was a very successful meeting.  Along with AATF Past-President Ann Sunderland and national SHF President Sharon Rapp, and incoming President Abbe Guillet, the SHF sponsors spoke about participation in events outside of the classroom, common practices for induction ceremonies, and new items offered by the SHF that can help strengthen and improve SHF chapters and ceremonies.  The SHF is still in the process of researching and creating a custom SHF banner and SHF log book for induction ceremonies.

Q: How are grades to be handled in determining eligibility for invitation to membership?

A: Semester grade of “A –“ or above in French; average of “A –“ or above over last three semesters of French; average of “B –“ in all other courses over last three semesters.  If your school uses a numerical grading system, the minimum grade in French for the semester prior to invitation, as well as the average for French courses in the three semesters prior to invitation,  must equal or exceed the lowest number for an “A minus”.  If averages are calculated on a 4-point system (A = 4, B = 3, etc.), an “A minus” would begin at 3.5.  Also, if your school awards a 5-point “A” for AP or IB classes, it is permissible to include the “bonus point/s” in the calculation.  The words must have maintained a “B” average or higher (section 3.b. in the by-laws) mean that when all subjects other than French are averaged, the average must reach or exceed the lowest “B minus“ in the school’s grading system, both for the semester prior to induction and for the three semesters of high school work prior to invitation.  There is nothing in the national document which disallows a grade of “C” or lower—unless it pulls a student’s average below those listed above.  Course work includes all work transferred to the high school transcript for academic credit, whether from middle school/junior high years or from post-secondary work.  If your school provides an interim grade for the block semester (roughly equivalent to a semester grade for a year-long course), use the two grades for French I plus the interim grade for French II to determine eligibility—while the French II block is still in progress.  Advanced students would be eligible based on final grades (or interim, if available) for previous courses.  Suggestions for your local by-laws: State  the way/s the minimum average (“A minus“) in French will be determined.  State the method/s for determining the minimum average (“B minus“) in all other courses.  Include a statement about continuing membership both from an academic, participation and honor code standpoint (even though older copies of national by-laws do not mention the latter).  Lastly, the national officers accept the sponsor’s decision on student eligibility. 

Created: October 18, 2001
Last update: February 5, 2017