AT THE BEGINNING OF LAST WEEK, ResLIFE staff implemented a new idea for boarding: the creation of a house system. Inspired by and modeled after of the traditional British boarding house system seen in prestigious schools such as Eton, Winchester, or Harrow, a great deal of boarding schools across the globe have adopted the approach. Contrary to current belief, the house system came around before Harry Potter!
Houses help to encourage a sense of identity, belonging, and security in addition to fostering a sense of community and accountability. It develops a healthy sense of competition that is matched by an overall sense of companionship and, hopefully, trust. Students will remain in the same house for their entire academic career at TGS.
I have been told, “It’s nice to know that I will be in the same house for all four years,” which leads me to believe it is already working. While the house system originally referred to the actual building in which all students ate, slept, and studied together, the structure has been adapted at a multitude of schools – both boarding and day schools – because it is that successful. I have already seen salient benefits just within the past week and am curious to see long-term results.
Despite all of us living within one residential facility, the students have been divided evenly amongst three separate houses. This year’s numbers worked out perfectly, as everything is divisible by 3. 36 students created houses of 12 with one “House Master” (a member of ResLIFE staff). Each house is home to 6 of our grade 11s, 4 of our grade 10s, and 2 of our grade 9s.
We will be electing “House Captains,” grade 11s who have proven themselves as good and efficient communicators. The House Captain will also assist in the development of housing programs, such as (but not limited to) sporting competitions while remaining a positive role model for the rest of the house and study body. Being a House Captain is something that can be highlighted on future university applications, as it is a position of trust and leadership.
Our houses are named after points on the compass – a tool that is used to guide people when they are lost and is reflective of our global community. Currently, we have Northland house, Southland house, and Eastland house. In future years as our student body continues to grow, the potential for the addition of Westland House remains.
Within the past seven days, house colors have been assigned based off of TGS colors, mascots have been (or are being) chosen, logos and coats of arms are being developed, and mottos, handshakes, and chants are coming together. Each house can have unique values that they represent and hold strong to while being reflective of the greater TGS core values.
Here is what has been developed thus far:
House Master: Ms. Jones
House Captain: not yet elected
House colors: black and white
House mascot: (potentially) Wolf
House motto: not yet determined
House Master: Mr. Garvey
House Captain: Not yet elected
House colors: Red and black
House mascot: Owl
House motto: Videmus in nocte (We see in the night)
House Master: Ms. Lefebvre
House Captain: Not yet elected
House colors: Red and white
House mascot: Lion
House motto: Not yet determined
Last Wednesday marked the first of many weekly house dinners. Southland headed off to a well-known restaurant chain, while Northland took to a Mongolian restaurant. Eastland decided to stay within the residence to order delivery, as a member of the house was feeling ill.
Our first sporting competition was held this past Saturday, seeing Eastland take on Southland on a local football pitch. Later, Northland took on the earlier victor, Eastland, in a battle to see which house would come out on top. Those students who decided not to play were supportive of those in the action and were making up rhyming chants of encouragement. I was beyond thrilled. A multitude of students were enthused about the match during the days leading up to it, and all seemed to have good time. The friendly sense of competition that is meant to exist between houses certainly made itself known.
It is difficult not to become completely engrossed in the work of these houses, but honestly, I can not find a negative in that–nor would I want to. What we are all working together to create is not just something for ourselves within this year, but something that will last for years to come. We are creating a legacy.
P.S. Go Eastland.