By Olivia Wyland ’19 (Seton House)
My parents, friends from other schools, college interviewers, and even my hairdresser have all, at one point or another, asked me, “what is the House system?”. “Well,” I think aloud, “Have you ever watched Harry Potter?”
Now, Trinity is known for its prestigious college-prep reputation, but it has not been transformed into Hogwarts or the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. In fact, the House System has given Trinity a greater sense of passion and a stronger community. Here’s the rundown:
There are two School Captains, one senior boy and one senior girl, who consult with the House System Leader, Sister Susan. There are four House Deans, who are teachers: theology teacher, Bill Boia (De La Salle House); biology and anatomy teacher, Jo Reider (Immaculata House); theology teacher, Jude Olivetti (Loyola House); and English teacher, Michele Stager (Seton House).
Next, there is one House Captain for each House. These are normally seniors who work with the House Dean to brainstorm and design events for the House as a whole. They also consult with the House Coordinators. There are four House Coordinators per House: one for activities, one for service, and two for planning religious events. These Coordinators work closely with Sister Susan to plan and carry out school events such as Homecoming, school Masses, service events, and assemblies.
So far so good, but what are all of these references to dementors about? No, that’s just more Harry Potter talk. At Trinity, we have 32 Mentor Groups, eight per House. Each Mentor Group has a Leader. Mentor Leaders are paired with a teacher, and they are normally Junior or Senior level. These people plan daily activities to do within their Mentor Group. Each Mentor Group is comprised of about 16 kids from each grade level.
Within each Mentor Group, there is one Service Leader and one Activity Leader. These can be students of any grade level, as they attend meetings with the Coordinators to help plan events and make announcements to the Mentor Group.
Okay, okay, wait. What does it mean when you are placed in the Immaculata House, for example? Does it mean you have some sort of characteristic that put you there? The answer is no; all Houses have well-rounded members that are evenly distributed by grade. All siblings are placed in the same House, but all other placement is random.
Still, one question remains: Why the House System, though? You see, Trinity faculty and staff have seen a rise in student initiative within the student body as a result of the House system. By giving students leadership positions in a more structured environment, they are more likely to blossom to their full potential. Between weekly meetings, creating new ideas from scratch, and working with different types of people and interests, student leaders have a chance to gain experience that not a lot of other teenagers get in high school. Not to mention, it is something that will raise eyebrows and nod heads by anyone who will read your resume.
In addition, what’s not to like about a little friendly competition at school events? Each House earns points that count towards the House Cup, given to the House with the highest points at the end of the school year (Voldemort is not included at the end of the House Cup. Moving on!). Points are rewarded for winning events such as Field Day, but they can also be deducted for misbehavior such as detentions. The points system helps motivate students to not only focus on scoring points for their Houses, but to also keep their personal behavior and daily decisions a reminder that doing good benefits the whole. At the end of the year, only one House can win a free day trip to a surprise destination along with the House Cup. May the best House win!