Though fans of Harry Potter will be familiar with the house system, many may not realize that the system dates back hundreds of years to when schools in England first implemented houses to promote loyalty, competition, and camaraderie. At Providence, houses are used in the secondary school in much the same manner. Each student is inducted into a house at the transition into 7th grade (or, for new students, when they join Providence at the beginning of the year).
Many schools have an ASB (Associated Student Body), which provides opportunities for student leadership development. The house system is similar to ASB in some ways, but also offers some unique benefits to students in grades 7-12:
- Students and faculty elect leaders to form the House Council, which serves as the student leadership team. From within the ten-member House Council, students elect a President, Vice President, and Treasurer to plan and coordinate events along with the other Council members and provide social and spiritual leadership in the secondary school.
- Houses compete with each other for the annual House Cup. Through a variety of team-building academic and athletic events, houses accumulate points in competition for the privileges earned by the winning house. Of course, winning the House Cup comes with various privileges for students in the winning house.
- Houses provide service opportunities to the school and greater community. Students on the Student Ministries team coordinate mission-oriented projects each trimester, and the House Council looks for opportunities to serve students in the grammar school. One such opportunity is the annual Reformation Day celebration, where the secondary students are charged with planning and conducting the games and contests for the students in the grammar school.
- The house system helps promote a sense of community, offering students opportunities to spend time with each other in various social settings, and enhances student culture by integrating grades 7-12 so that students get to know others outside of their grade level.
The ultimate goal of the house system is building community and promoting an edifying social and spiritual climate in the secondary. And, as Harry Potter fans know, the house system injects a healthy level of competition, energy, and excitement into the community.