The house system had its beginnings in academic institutions. In the early Middle Ages, students who desired an education would gather in a city where a Master Teacher was living. With this Master, they would share a house and devote themselves to study. The Master not only taught these students their academics, but also discipled them in their Christian walk. These gatherings of students were the foundations of the great universities of Europe. Today, the term "house" refers simply to groupings of pupils, with no buildings involved.
There are many benefits to having a house system. Our house system is designed with several goals in mind. The house system encourages and simplifies the assimilation of new students into the culture of PCS. Houses facilitate the passing on of our school culture to these students. Houses also make it easier for new students to develop friendships based on a common interest.
Houses expand the boundaries of fellowship across all grade lines. Students in grades seven through twelve are brought together in competition and work, enabling them to know one another in all types of situations. Because younger students often admire older students, the opportunities for leadership and discipleship are greatly increased.
Houses should create an atmosphere conducive to positive role models and peer pressure. As houses compete for the Paladin Cup, the students are motivated to encourage one another to follow the rules, study hard, and seek out opportunities for service. As students incorporate the school rules into their lives, teachers are able to focus less on discipline and more on academics.
It is in this tradition that PCS has divided its Upper School into groups of students, each led by House Master Teachers.
The goals of our House system are:
- To assimilate new students into the PCS culture
- To provide Godly accountability on campus between students.
- To enable students to form bonds of fellowship around common interests and goals
- To foster a desire to walk in obedience to the school staff and God
- To foster a love of learning and academic excellence
- To inspire a vibrant walk with God
- To more effectively serve the school and the community.
The competition among the houses involves a weekly assessment of accumulated points posted in the upstairs hallway. Points come from different sources. Each week the house with the most points is posted above the rest to announce their accomplishment. To encourage competition throughout the quarter, a lunch off campus is given to the house with the most points at quarter end.
There is one designated House Parent per house. This parent must be a parent of one of the students in that house. House Parents serve to enhance, support, and edify the current house system by assisting the House Coordinator, House Master(s), and House Captains in three main areas of support:
- Planning, organizing, and/or executing house-related events (i.e socials, service projects, etc.) on an “as needed” basis.
- Communicating house-related information to other parents and securing help or needed items from parents within the houses for house-related events.
- Bridging the gap between the house system and the Parent Council. House parents will communicate parent council volunteer needs to US families (via the houses) for such school wide events as hoe-down and thesis.
The House Offices
Each house is organized around teachers who serve as Masters for their house. Their responsibilities include supervising the house activities, encouraging the officers to complete their duties, and modeling a Christian walk before the students. House Masters, in counsel with the Headmaster, choose the students in their house most qualified to serve as house officers each year. Preference is given to upper classmen, while time on campus, character, and leadership skills are also considered. The Master hosts house meetings in his classroom. He may also call additional meetings after school or at lunchtime, provided there are no conflicts, and parents are notified of after school meetings. The Master makes sure house members use the time wisely to work on house projects, preparations for upcoming competitions, prayer, or other useful activities. This is a good time to get to know the members of the house. Masters are the personal point of contact for the students in the house and a main source of encouragement for their success at school. They should be encouraging the upper classmen to edify and teach the younger students and urging the younger students to imitate the right attitudes and behaviors they see in the older students.
The school Headmaster and House Coordinator appoint two House Captains to serve under the House Master. The House Captains, usually seniors, are responsible to make certain that the officers are completing their tasks and that students are in compliance with dress code and homework requirements. House Captains schedule and preside over house meetings and work closely with the House Masters to make their house successful. The House Captains are chosen based on observations of their leadership abilities, their spiritual walks, and their positive examples to other students. They are the spiritual leaders of the house and should see to it that the house prays together, works on projects together, and honors the Lord in all things. The House Captains are the official spokesmen for the house and may be called upon to represent their house in meetings, presentations, or other activities. The Captains must take initiative to make sure every member of the house is aware of his right to be heard in meetings and that the house as a whole is unified and moving forward with positive goals. The office of House Captain is awarded to students who have demonstrated a credible Christian witness and leadership abilities. The office is an honor and a privilege but comes with responsibility. House Captains should seek to serve as Captain with humility, faithfulness, and cheerfulness.
House Captain responsibilities are as follows:
- Set a godly example in attitude and action.
- Call and moderate all House Meetings, as requested by your Master.
- Act as a liaison between your House Master and the House.
- Inspect the House Record each week to determine if House members are establishing poor habits in the areas of homework, dress code, and tardies. Speak to such students one-on-one and encourage them to improve their actions and attitudes. Report habitual offenders to the House Master and help determine means of improvement.
- Work with House members to create challenges for the other Houses to perform during House Games.
- Ensure that all assigned chores and duties are performed each week in a timely manner. If one of the other officers is absent, ensure that their task is completed.
- Perform any other tasks or requests made to you by the House Master.
All House Captains must submit a Nomination Form to be considered for the position of House Captain.
The Recorders are responsible for the collection and distribution of data and all records associated with their house.
The Recorders’ responsibilities include:
- Tallying all the points earned and lost each week for their house and reporting their findings to the House Captain and House Master.
- Taking pictures throughout the year at all house activities.
- Providing newsworthy events and/or pictures to the House Web Master.
- Maintain a historical record of house activities through scrapbook and website.
- Keeping email list for their house up to date
- Taking roll in House meetings
- Asking Teachers for and Reporting points
- Recording video clips during house games for posting on website
The Chaplain assists his or her house in preparing short devotionals for house chapel meetings, leading in prayer, and any other service meant to promote the spiritual growth of the house.
House Design Team
The House Design Team consist of two or more students responsible for the creative projects and artistic representation of their house. These responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- House shirt design
- Web Design
- House Gala Project
House members who go all week with no tardies, dress code violations, or homework violations receive 25 bonus points for the house. Any member who violates the rules receives no bonus points, and will lose points for his house. Points are also given for winning or placing in games or academic quiz bowls. Standard points for a game event are 1000 – 3000, but can vary. Houses can earn points for completing the weekly Math Challenge.
Students can win teacher points for participation in class. Teachers are encouraged to give points for great answers, cross-curricular thinking, kindness, hard work, excellent assignments, etc.
Points may be awarded for students who volunteer to help around the school, or who cheerfully assist when asked.
Students can earn Community Service points by participating in outside service such as teaching Sunday School, Scout service projects, CAP projects, missions trips, etc.
House Chapel is a special time once a month for each individual house to worship together in a more intimate atmosphere. During House Chapel, students and teachers sing hymns, read God’s Word, share and discuss challenges, edify each other in Christ, and pray for one another.
House Competitions and Intramurals
In order to foster more opportunities for learning and growth in all areas, the Houses compete against each other throughout the year. Once a month, the Upper School has an afternoon of competitions to earn points for their house.
House Intramurals is our main avenue for competition between houses. It consists of a number of sport/extracurricular activities and teams that members of each house can join and represent their house by competing. These activities/teams are both athletic and academic, giving students an opportunity both to learn something new and exercise their God-given abilities.
The House names at PCS were based on creatures used in Scripture or other literature to represent attributes of God or godly character qualities.
The Gryphon, a combination of lion and eagle, has been used in literature to symbolize the dual nature of Christ as both God and Man. The lion and the eagle separately represent two of the four Gospels. The regal Lion of the tribe of Judah and the battle-ready King of the skies blend together to emphasize the right of Christ Jesus to rule and defend His people. Gryphons are challenged to be loyal to the cause of Christ and His Kingdom.
The Dragon, although frequently thought to represent only evil, has also been used to represent godly characteristics, particularly that of self-sacrifice. Known for its pride and passion, it is only in dying to self that true life is attained. This is one reason why the dragon, sometimes represented as a serpent, is used as the medical symbol of healing. Dragons are challenged to learn that honor comes through self-sacrifice and that purity is as gold.
The Leviathan, mentioned in both Job and Psalms, is a mysterious creature. He is pictured as being monstrous in size with smoke rising from his nostrils and a tail like a tree trunk. He is a picture of the might and majesty of God. Leviathan is also spoken of in Scripture as a creature God uses to execute His will. Leviathan, then, demonstrates strength in submission to authority. Leviathans are challenged to become humble in the service of our great God.
The Phoenix is traditionally associated with death, resurrection, and immortality. In literary tradition, the phoenix tears bring healing, and its song gives protection to the saints. Traditionally, a phoenix was impossible to tame, except by a true saint of God. Once every 500 years, the phoenix dies in flames and is reborn from the ashes. Phoenixes are challenged to seek mercy and to serve even the least among us.