The House System at Highlands Latin School Aiken
The house system at Highlands Latin School Aiken provides an increased feeling of identity, a sense of tradition, and leadership opportunities. It takes the place of the organizations, clubs and intramural activities typically found in schools and also allows students to achieve a remarkable sense of unity and spirit.
Student mindsets often change dramatically as a result of their house affiliation. Because of the competition and the identification of each student with a house, there is constant encouragement for students to do their best. In addition, older and more experienced students often mentor, assist, and encourage their younger or less experienced housemates. The positive attitudes of students toward one another and toward the school are remarkable.
Although it is in its infancy, the house system already has about it the feeling of history. Student leaders are proud to think that their successors will look to them as examples and early founders of their houses. Every house created a banner with the handprints of each student and a record of the year it was established. Handprints of new members will be added each year. The banners will be handed down over the years as a reminder of the contributions of each member to the house as well as the house’s accomplishments.
The house system provides both informal and formal leadership opportunities. Informally, students may lead a house project, coordinate a team, plan a social function, or simply extend a friendly hand to a new house member. Four formal leaders are appointed by the administration for each house. Each officer is held accountable to unique responsibilities:
- The Head of House is chosen by the faculty based on the level of maturity and responsibility each has displayed. He or she presides at House meetings and reports directly to the faculty.
- The House Tenant presides at the meetings and exists as the “right hand man” to the Head of House.
- The House Parliamentarian guides the house in achieving maximum efficiency in the implementation of its mission and guards the integrity of house meetings through structured and organized guidance.
- The House Scribe is the guardian of clear communication between the House Leadership and the House Membership, other houses, and the HLS student body.
Competition among houses develops a healthy level of both rivalry and camaraderie among students. House points are awarded based on academics, athletic activities, community service, and spirit. Academic competition is based on GPA. Athletic competitions include on-campus games as well as participation in leagues and teams outside the school. Community service points are based on member participation in service projects. Spirit is defined as eagerly participating in school events and extra-curricular activities with a kind and helpful attitude.