The sorting hat has come to Garneau! This year, the new Student Activity Council (SAC) have decided to start a program to increase student participation: the house system.

Illustration: Sheri Kim

SAC has started this system to “promote school spirit and participation through friendly competition and by bringing students together.” SAC President Lisa Wang states that she was inspired to implement this system after seeing its success in other schools such as University of Toronto Schools.

Lisa said, “The concept is pretty simple especially if you’re familiar with the Hogwarts Houses.” At the start of the school year, all students and teachers were randomly sorted into one of four houses: blue, green, yellow, or red. Through the house system, SAC aims to bring students closer through camaraderie and competition. Teachers are also encouraged to help foster school spirit in their respective houses.

The house system also encourages students to interact with people from different grades and programs. For example, during sport intramurals, participants can sign up with their house if they can’t form a team themselves. SAC hopes that by uniting students towards a common goal, MGCI can become closer as a school.

During spirit events, points can be earned for participation in SAC events. Currently, SAC is awarding five points for buying a MGCI T-shirt. Points could also be rewarded through shows of spirit such as cheering the loudest at a pep rally or simply participating in an activity. Points will be regularly updated online as well as on banners SAC will post in the galleria. The students of the winning house will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win a prize.

Lisa does foresee several problems that may hinder the house system. She said, “One big problem we face is apathy. The house system won’t work if students fail to participate, but this is a risk we take with all initiatives.” She also acknowledges the difficulties of bringing together so many students, saying “We decided to go with four colours to keep things simple, but even split into four house colour, there are well over four hundred students in each house. ”

Many students and teachers are receptive to the idea but want to see it in action. Vice-President Ms. O’Flynn-Wheeler said, “I think it’s awesome. Anything that makes students feel included is awesome to me but I want to see [the system] applied. The proof is in the pudding.”

The proof is coming next week as SAC kicks off their first Spirit Week. The house that earns the most points for Spirit Week alone will earn a plaque with their house name which will be displayed in a display case. First period teachers have been asked to award points to those dressed according to the theme of the day while students with spare first period are free to visit the SAC office at lunch to collect points. All students are also invited to participate in spirit events in the cafeteria. 

SAC will be revising and modifying the house system throughout the year in accordance to student response. Details such as how points can be earned and house-related activities will be adjusted as the year goes on.

To find out which house colour you belong in, check here.