Houses offer students and teachers the opportunity to work with one another outside of the academic arena, and through various competitions that promote a healthy sense of school spirit, students establish connections that transcend classrooms and grade levels. Houses also provide older Middle School students with leadership opportunities through positions on our House Council and through the organization of school-wide activities.
In the summer of 2006, several Lausanne Middle School teachers were discussing unique ways to engage their students in meaningful, positive relationships with one another while fostering a strong sense of community. Greg Graber, Lausanne’s current Head of Middle School, was serving as Lausanne’s Middle School Dean of Students when these discussions began. He recalls, “We were looking for some way to ignite the passions of the children in terms of facilitating their development in areas such as community service, character education and school spirit.”
Lausanne’s current Headmaster, Stuart McCathie, and former 8th Grade English teacher, Spencer Reese both provided inspiration for the introduction of the House System at Lausanne. “Stuart grew up in England in the House System, and Spencer was working on his doctoral thesis in Harry Potter studies,” shares Graber. “Needless to say, both were well-versed in the intricacies of the House System.”
The origins of the British educational House System date back to the 1850’s. House System students are likely to be divided into a number of Houses. In these Houses, they compete in competitions. Much pride is put into these House contests. The prestigious House Cup is won at the end of the year by the House that accrues the most points from these competitions. Houses are named after famous saints, historical alumni, landmarks, animal names or colors. The four Lausanne Houses are named for the majestic sounding names of the streets which border the school’s campus: Massey (Dragons), Lendenwood (Moose), Monmouth (Bears) and Cottingham (Knights).
Lausanne students are initiated into the House process during the formal House Sorting Ceremony (ceremony introduction) when they enter the Middle School as a 5th grader or when they first enroll as a new student. Students remain in their particular Houses for their entire Middle School tenure. Per the traditional House System custom, some students are sorted into Houses as a “legacy” (put into the same House as an older sibling).
“I am really proud of what our students accomplish during their time in our House System,” said Graber. “They have a good time competing against each other, while at the same time building a sense of teamwork and unity with one another. It’s an integral part of the Lausanne Middle School experience and example of how we live out The Lausanne Way.”
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