At first glance, Cambridge School has implemented a new system that might resemble Hogwarts. Being a Christian school, it has nothing to do with witchcraft or wizardry, but it has divided the students into four different houses.
Faculty members can give out points to reward good deeds as well as demerits, but they are given collectively to each house rather than the individual student. The point totals are announced each week at an assembly, which is highly anticipated by the students, according to student counselor and house advisor Emily Bush.
Each house has about 25-30 students ranging from grades 6-12. The houses bear the name of an honorable Christian monarch or emperor, and each has a symbol such as a trinity knot or fleur-de-lis. One student leads each house, accompanied by a male and female faculty advisor that will stay with the group all the way through graduation.
“It’s kind of paradoxical how dividing a school can actually help unify it,” Bush said. “Even the brand new sixth graders can talk to the seniors because they now have something in common.”
In planning the new system, faculty and student council members looked at other schools for examples. They researched to find ways to apply the house system to the Cambridge student body.
Dean and professor of theology Blake Schwarz attended a conference this summer to gather ideas as well.
“I spoke with the headmaster about different options to help build morale, open up leadership opportunities, and give faculty members a way to honor acts of virtue,” Schwarz said.
Each year Cambridge has a school retreat at Sky Ranch, and this year the houses competed against one another in tug-of-war and other field day-type competitions, skits and Bible studies, all the while earning points for their houses.
“What happens is it makes [students] find what they all have in common and encourages that camaraderie,” said Cambridge director of development Alecia Jenkins.