Veritas House System and Mentorship
At Veritas, houses are led by captains, appointed on the basis of their character and leadership. Captains in turn are assisted by several upperclassmen. Houses are also supervised by House Deans selected from the Veritas faculty. Over the course of the year, all students in the house will formally and informally contribute to their house’s flourishing and success. In addition to their place within the cultural life of the school, providing occasion for mentoring and encouragement, houses also compete throughout the year in a variety of activities. Reflecting the holistic life of the school, houses will engage in contests centered around school spirit, academics, sports, and more. Points for their conduct and successes will be awarded throughout the year, with the highest achieving house ultimately winning the annual House Cup.
What Is The Purpose Of A House System?
The house system is a traditional feature of British schools. Though historically associated with boarding schools, where a student’s “house” was also his dormitory, it more broadly indicates a basic grouping of pupils. Designed to organize and enrich student life while allowing older students to assume leadership amongst their peers, house systems are gaining increased attention among universities, public and private schools (classical Christian schools in particular).
What is the purpose of a House System?
The house system at Veritas is designed to help build smaller communities within the larger school community so that all may belong to something meaningful; all may grow in faith, friendship, and charity, and that all may thrive as they strive to live life to the fullest, now and in years to come.
Through the houses, friendships are strengthened, faith is lived, and school is more fun! At Veritas, education works to invest in its students a culture of virtue, wisdom, purpose, and courage. All parts of our institution bear a responsibility to advance this culture, discipling students in their mind, spirit, and body to excellence for the sake of Christ and his kingdom. The chemistry class, the drama class, the volleyball team, and the mock trial team all exist because they can uniquely offer students a valuable way of becoming more virtuous, wise, purposeful, and courageous – a means of more wholly becoming true and faithful disciples.
The house system follows in this same vein. The community and relationships of Veritas have been a hallmark of the institution. Even though Veritas is still a small community, there is always a danger of students wanting to remain unaccountable and unchallenged by their peers, and the danger of associating only with their close friends. Teaching, exhortation, accountability, leadership, and challenge come in the forms of relationships. To preserve and enrich a community with students reaching across lines of grades, classes, and interests in order to establish meaningful relationships that manifest encouragement, accountability, leadership, challenge, and joy, is the house system’s primary goal. By organizing the Veritas into houses, a way is made for the students themselves to take ownership of and leadership in pursuing these aims.
The House System is not intended to instigate division or strife within Veritas. Rather, houses seek to counteract natural divisions by making a place for all students (regardless of their grade, interest, inclination, or circle of friends) to know and edify one another.
What’s Behind The House Names?
Traditionally students are divided into a number of houses, which are often named after heroic
leaders. At Veritas, each house is named for an outstanding king-leader in Western culture who
represents an ideal, a cultural “archetype”, for the kind of men and women Veritas seeks to produce:
● Alfred, the Scholar-king
● Beowulf, the Dragon-Slayer King
● Charlemagne, the Peacemaker King
● David, the Shepherd King
These names recognize and highlight the distinct way that piety, servanthood, character, and
leadership can transform the world. Though students are not assigned to houses on the basis of any
perceived personal characteristics, the houses seek to impact their worlds by following in the path of
excellence illuminated by their namesakes.
How Are House Points Earned?
Houses earn points towards the House Cup based on the achievements of their members as a whole.
Points will be tallied on a monthly, quarterly, semester, and annual basis in the following categories:
● The house with the fewest tardies
● The house with the fewest dress code violations
● Fall Fun Day/Field Day Competitions
● Spirit Participation
● Service Projects
● Academic Bowl
● 100% participation in Formal Dress Days
Each category is weighted equally, and can earn the following points:
● 1st Place: 100 pts
● 2nd Place: 90 pts
● 3rd Place: 80 pts
● 4th Place: 70 pts
The house with the most points will be awarded on a biannual (semester) and annual basis:
● Biannually: The two houses with the highest point totals at the close of the semester will win a special lunch.
● Annually: House of the Year Award (Engraved Cup, plaque, and photo for each house member), House Banner displayed prominently during the following school year.
How Does The Mentorship Work?
House System is a natural avenue through which older students can mentor younger students. There are several levels of fellowship/mentorship. First, opportunities for building general relationships within each house are:
● Short Prayer Meetings in small groups within the House at the end of the Chapel
● Tuesday Lunch by each House
● Before and after school (if necessary, with the help of House parents)
Second, within each house, select upperclassmen (juniors and seniors, or possibly sophomores) are paired with a seventh grader (and possibly an eighth grader) to spend a little time together each
Third, the same upperclassman is paired with an upper primary student and a lower primary student, so that there is a small group of four or five students. What this small group can do together is free and flexible, from playing together, praying together, memorizing Bible verse together, or having lunch together. Each house will do things together as mentioned above that provides opportunities for older students to encourage the younger, but the small group will provide a closer level of accountability. All the pairing is done out of student’s own free will, under the guidance of the House Deans. Older and more mature students are encouraged to take on the mantle of mentoring the younger students. The House Dean will coach and guide the mentors and the mentoring process. The recommended length of mentoring relationship is at least one semester, regulated by the Deans.
Fourth, all secondary students will be assigned a Faculty Mentor (one of the two Secondary House faculty member), who will serve as the student’s mentor.