History of the House System
Historically, the house system was a traditional feature of many British boarding schools where a student would be assigned a “house” (dorm). Led by the House Master (adult dormitory supervisor), student activities and competitions were organized with other houses throughout the school year in order to develop student leadership among peers. Today it continues throughout the British Commonwealth and has been adapted by classical Christians schools in America.
The House System at Heritage Oak School
At Heritage Oak, students are placed in houses for many of the same reasons. Every aspect of school life is designed to help students grow academically, spiritually, in character and in comradery. Our House System is designed to help facilitate our goals for all graduates and our school-wide learner outcomes through four Pillars:
- Honor & School Spirit
- Community Service
Each house is named after a Christian “knight” who served as an example of living out their faith in an exemplary fashion through uniquely different callings. As men of flesh and blood, they each had individual challenges and struggles they wrestled with, but their lives were overwhelmingly devoted to the King of kings and they fought the good fight until death. It is our hope that they continue to serve as a reminder to our students that they can and should live out their own faith with honor and excellence in whatever vocation or situation God places them.
House of Bonhoeffer: Dietrich Bonhoeffer was an outspoken theologian, pastor, and anti-Nazi dissident in Germany during WWII who was a leader in the Confessing Church, started a seminary, and died at the hands of Hitler for espionage just two weeks before the Allies liberated his prison camp. He wrote the classic, The Cost of Discipleship.
House of Edwards: Johnathan Edwards was an 18th century theologian, pastor, and missionary to the Native American Indians of Massachusetts for most of his adult life. He was known for his long walks in the woods to commune with God (when not locked in his study) and was passionate about the sciences, particularly Newtonian physics, which he believed was supported by Scripture, proving God’s providence in binding the atoms to hold the universe together (Hebrews 1:3). In an effort to support scientific research and set an example for others to do the same, he volunteered to take the smallpox vaccine. As the vaccine was still in the early stages of development and being weak in health, he died on March 22, 1758 from contracting smallpox from the vaccine.
House of Liddell: While most people remember Eric Liddell’s running abilities, conviction to maintain the Sabbath, and his subsequent Gold Medal in the Men’s 400 Meters, few realize he was a rugby player and later went on to become a missionary to China for 18 years. During the last 2 years of his life, the Japanese had invaded China and Liddell was held in an internment camp living under harsh conditions. When given the unusual opportunity to be released, he requested another woman who was ill to be released in his place. He died in the camp before the war ended as a result of untreated brain cancer.
House of Wilberforce: British parliamentarian William Wilberforce was a contemporary and friend of John Newton, a former slave trader who greatly influenced him to work toward ending slavery in Britain. He once said, “God Almighty has set before me two great objects; the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners,” the latter being to reform parliament and bring about a return to morals in politics. Wilberforce worked tirelessly, often suffering physically due to complications from possible chronic colitis. After 20 years of diligence, he saw the end of slave trading in Britain. Three days before his death, Parliament voted to abolish slavery entirely within the British Empire.