By: Molly Muller, 8th Grade Dean and Middle School Social Studies Department Chair
One of my favorite aspects of being a teacher is that every year is a new beginning. This year, I have the opportunity to oversee a new program at Forest Ridge. The Forest Ridge House Program launched on the first day of the 2019-2020 school year.
House programs have traditionally been part of the English boarding school experience and research shows that these programs can be powerful community builders that foster unity, belonging, and identity through cross-grade relationships.
All Forest Ridge faculty, staff, and students have been sorted into one of four houses. The houses are named after the Sacred Heart founding mothers: St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, Mary Aloysia Hardey, and Janet Erskine Stuart. Collectively, these women founded and led the Society of the Sacred Heart, helped it grow across the world, and created educational opportunities for girls.
The House Program is led by our four ASB student leaders who came back early from summer vacation to design the program and create structures to support its launch. It’s particularly fun for me to work with these seniors because I taught all of them as 8th graders.
When the student leaders introduced the program to our community during a spirited all-school assembly, they identified their goals: to grow our school spirit, increase the sense of belonging, and foster student leadership through healthy competition for the House Cup. Each house will have the opportunity to earn points through structured activities and every-day actions such as participating in sports, doing service, or living out the Sacred Heart Goals and Criteria.
With the goals out of the way, the ASB leaders presented the House color reveal. Large boxes opened to reveal colored balloons that correspond to each house. Barat is purple, Duchesne is green, Hardey is red and Stuart is blue. Houses also have a symbol, motto, and quote to inspire their leadership. In the coming weeks, the students of each House will design a crest that will be displayed on campus and put on t-shirts.
ASB saved the best for last—they ended the assembly with games! Students and faculty competed to identify the name and artists of song clips, identify memes, hula-hoop and answer trivia. It was so fun to see brave fifth graders volunteer to participate on their first day at school and enthusiastic faculty name the pop songs their students love. Events like this remind me of how special our community is. We create a supportive environment where girls can thrive and take risks. I am excited to see how the House Program helps the spirit of our community shine.
At the end of the first week, Duchesne and Stuart are currently leading the competition for the House Cup, but Hardey and Barat will have the opportunity to fight back in the coming weeks. I can’t help but say…let’s go, Barat!
- Forest Ridge Blog