Sacred Hearts School implements a new House System
LAHAINA – Beginning its second year under the leadership of Dr. Miguel Solis, Sacred Hearts School continues to morph into an educational institution that is now keeping up with top schools on the Mainland.
Dr. Solis has started the year strong by adding new additions to curriculum and culture. The first is Distance Learning Spanish Class twice a week for middle school. He also started a House System, making Sacred Hearts School only one of two schools in Hawaii to have one.
It helps to understand what a House System is by thinking of the Harry Potter books and the four great houses of Hogwarts. The students of Hogwarts gather in the great hall as their names are pulled from the famous sorting hat and placed in one of four houses: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw.
Sacred Hearts School has created four houses named after leaders that brought positive impacts to the State of Hawaii. Now every Sacred Hearts School student, family member and faculty belong to one of four houses: The Pi’ilani House, The St. Marianne Cope House, The St. Damien House, and the Keopuolani House. The houses compete throughout the year for points to earn a cup trophy.
The initial stages of this House System began in the spring of 2019. Dr. Solis invited Annette Damien, the activities director from Chaminade College Preparatory in California, and Alyssa Flowers, a seventh-grader in student leadership. The two met with SHS faculty and the Hearts Student Council to offer a first-hand perspective on how the House System works and the importance of having one.
Annette shared that Chaminade has 720 students, and their system began in the last decade with eight houses.
Annette said, “A House System changes how everyone makes connections positively. It builds integrity, motivation and keeps people in check, to win the House Cup at the close of the school year in clear view.”
Alyssa, who is in the Hunter House back home, appeared before the Hearts Council confidently sporting her house shirt with her Pillar of Character on her sleeve. She shared that her mother, Christine, was also a member of the Hunter House, which was named after a former principal when she attended Chaminade as a middle schooler.
Annette and Alyssa facilitated fun games with the council to better understand student culture on campus. While they got to know each other, the kids shared what they loved about their school. Some answers were the close sense of community and feeling cared for at school. They also worked together with the council to come up with names, crest ideas and Pillars of Character.
Alyssa commented, “It’s so cool to be here on Maui and be a part of this creative process! You never get to see other schools often and experience how they do things.”
Dr. Solis continued to fine-tune the system over the summer by meeting again with the Hearts Student Council to design the house crests. Houses also have designated colors and Pillars of Character.
For example, The St. Damien House is also known as the Red House. They signify life, energy, nature and ‘aina. Their Pillars of Character – Honesty and Commitment – will be given lots of attention in November and May.
All four houses have a designated color, Pillars of Character and a crest.
Solis said, “I feel very passionate about this House System. I have experienced first-hand its success during my own time at Chaminade and know the sense of connection and belonging it creates. Not every kid is involved with outside school sports or activities. It gives everyone something to be excited about and be a part of something big.”
Each house is comprised of students from all grades, from the Early Learning Center up through eighth grade, so connections throughout the classes are happening. New third grade teacher Samantha Miller had fun giving out house assignments to her students.
“I made a sorting hat and invited each of my little ones to come up and pull their house assignment from the hat! We laughed and had a great time,” she said.
“House points increase for spirit day participation, charity drive involvement, academic achievements, fundraisers and various other ways throughout the year,” added Dr.Solis.
In Potter tradition and style, houses began to earn points by showing up at Back to School Night, and the Pi’ilani House is in the lead! Excitement is stirring around campus as flags with their crests go up! Everyone is working together to tie the House System into old traditions, create new cultures and have lots of fun competing for that House Cup later in the year.