Official Launch of House System!
St. Cecilia’s College launched their House System on Tuesday, November 22nd, St. Cecilia’s Feast Day. It was a timely date to establish the programme, given that the unveiling ceremony was a celebration of music within the school and St. Cecilia is of course the patron saint of music. Saint Cecilia was known to epitomise kindness and a sense of fun through music; the eighty- strong school choir’s rendition of ‘The Sound of Music’ did justice to that notion and was a natural accompaniment to the ceremony.
St. Cecilia’s Principal, Martine Mulhern, marked the momentous occasion in her opening remarks: “Today we mark the beginning of a new era in our school - your ‘new house’ will be your new home within school. In thirty years’ time, you will look back with pride and nostalgia that you were here when St Cecilia's new house system began. You were part of the St. Cecilia’s family.” The Most Reverend Bishop Mc Keown, members of the Clergy, Board of Governors and representatives from the School’s Parent Teachers’ Association attended the launch where the entire school community gathered to celebrate.
The House System structure came to fruition with the input of: pupils, staff and members of the Parent Teachers’ Association (Friends of St. Cecilia’s College) and the School Council. The Council, which has a strong voice in the college surveyed students regarding the naming of the Houses. The results being: House of Hope, House of Faith, House of Grace, House of Courage and House of Peace. Colours denoting each House will be Red, Yellow, Green, Turquoise and Grey. These will be reflected in bespoke ties which have been specially designed for students within each of these houses. Five members of staff volunteered for the honorary roles of house leaders who will work in tandem with pastoral and leadership teams in the College.
The premise behind the House system lies in the idea that pupils can be part of a smaller family within the larger school community. The aim is to encourage all students to aspire and to achieve as fully rounded young people, both inside and outside of school, therefore embodying the school motto; “Aspire Endeavour Achieve.” It is expected that students will have a sense of pride, belonging, group loyalty, ownership and a sense of community from being part of the House system.
This sentiment is echoed in Government research published earlier this year in The Independent newspaper which showed that sixteen per cent of pupils did not feel ready to start secondary school at the time of transfer and three per cent were still worried a term after they began. Through the house system younger pupils will be familiar with older students –removing the fear of being little fish in a big pool. New pupils will feel part of their new environment as quickly as possible. This will therefore be conducive to a successful transition from Primary to Post Primary, It has been found that according to a recent SSAT report: “Happy students will be successful."
Pupils’ academic, sporting and personal achievements will be rewarded within this system throughout the school year. Extra-Curricular activities in Houses should enrich, broaden and round off the experience of the students.
The House organisation will be an integral part of the well-being structure at St Cecilia's College which already has a full compliment of courses embedded in the personal development programme, including mindfulness. It is hoped that development of personal and social skills and well-being will be a natural progression for pupils who are in House communities.
Pupils will be allocated to a house and will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of events and competitive activities that promote leadership, creativity and collaboration. St. Cecilia’s recognises that every pupil in the school has something to offer so all ranges of gifts and talents will be recognised within the house structure. Mrs Mulhern’s closing statement reflected this citing that the house system would be supporting a well-ordered, stimulating and enjoyable atmosphere in which deep learning and personal goals could flourish.