Harry Potter. Dumbledore. Gryffindor. Those are likely the first names or images that come to mind when you think of the Regents House system. It is a fair and simple way to contextualize the structure of the Regents House system, but not the heart of it. Instead of only celebrating the wins or mourning the losses of a Quidditch match, our primary goal for the House System is to give students opportunities to actively lead and shape the culture at Regents. Our hope is that through weekly service projects, friendly competitions, House worship, and through connecting the Grammar and Upper schools, a pervading love for one another and the Lord will deepen.
Structure: So, who plays Dumbledore in this scenario?
The simple answer is no one. While our wonderful administrative team creates the structure and organization of the school as a whole, the House system is meant to be a student-led organization, with the support and guidance of the House Coordinator, Mrs. Lawrence, and the main House teachers – Mrs. Burklin, Dr. Hurst, and Mr. Modar.
Our House system has four houses based on the churches of old – Jerusalem, Rome, Oxford, and Kampala, with the latter serving as the church of today. Each of the Houses has a Steward and a Vice Steward to lead and be the voice of its members. Our thoughtful and creative Stewards this year are:
- Anna Claire Powers and Kaitlyn McKenna serving Jerusalem
- Susannah Vermillion and Gabe Shipp serving Rome
- Mason Baker and Haylee Harman serving Oxford
- Katelyn Anderson and Quint Middlebrook serving Kampala
In order to create diverse Houses, our Stewards help to place new 7th grade students each year based on the student’s House choice, grade level, gender, and personality. These newcomers are then welcomed the first Friday of school by their House members in a unique and meaningful way.
What We Do: Leave Your Broomstick at Home
One of the most fruitful components of the House system has been the connection between the Grammar School and Logic/Rhetoric School. With the pairing of Buddies, we are able to expand the boundaries of fellowship across all grade lines. Because of the natural admiration that younger students have for older ones, our Logic and Rhetoric students are able to be models to younger students about behaviors and attitudes that are acceptable. We accomplish this with monthly picnics, letter writing, games at Field Day, and during the day-to-day encounters on campus.
While the Buddy system is a bright highlight, we have a lot more going on behind the scenes that set the rhythm of each week and year.
- Beginning of the Year Kick-Off – Building camaraderie takes time, and we do that by taking a day at the beginning of each year for various team-building activities. This year we had the opportunity to go to Escapology, an escape room, in Tyler.
- Mid- and End-of-Year Competitions – Houses pair up to plan and organize a fun competition to wrap up the semester. Our competitions aim to involve all students in a variety of song, dance, skits, and building challenges.
- Wednesday Worship – Students gather with their Houses every six weeks to worship God in song and discussion.
- Friday Service Projects – Each Friday, following a weekly rotation, time is allocated for in-school service projects and games. Our service projects entail everything from playing with Grammar School classes so that their teachers can have a moment to eat their lunch uninterrupted to cleaning classrooms and changing air filters. Our games range from the typical card games you play at home to goofy games the students make up, like flag football but with a stuffed animal instead of a football.
- Adopt a Non-Profit- This year, we are trying something new. Each House has adopted a non-profit organization to serve throughout the year, based upon the organization’s needs.
House Points: Gryffindor Receives 50 Points!
In order to encourage camaraderie, compliance, and discipline, we have modeled our point system after the Oxford model (popularly expressed in Harry Potter), with the major exception being that it’s not arbitrary. Instead, the Stewards and staff give and deduct House points based on behavior-related actions, not academic ones. Our hope is that through positive peer pressure, students will strive to make personal choices that positively affect others.
At Christmas and the end of the year, the House that has earned the most points wins the House Cup, which is a handsome Greco-Roman bust of Apollo. The winners have the opportunity to add one extra item to the Cup, leaving their distinctive mark. Over the years, Apollo will gain character by morphing into a symbol that represents the personality and history of each of the Houses.
Continuing to Grow: Harry Grows Up, But We Continue On
As we enter our fourth year of the Regent’s House system, we are finally able to build off of the solid foundation previous Stewards have established. Now, we can focus more closely on establishing our leadership training for our Stewards, our daily connection with Grammar School, and our service to those both in the school and Nacogdoches community. We are thrilled to watch our students take ownership of their school and look forward to what it will become in the future.