H2H: Should We Have Houses After Four Years?
December 4, 2017
Speaker for the House: Why The System Works
The four houses, Hercules, Poseidon, Orion and Pegasus, play a big role at our school. Our pep rallies and advisement classes depend on the houses to lift up our spirits. That is why we should keep houses in years to come.
There are many reasons as to why the houses should stay, but I would say that the most important part is that it makes our school stand out compared to others. I have moved to many different schools, and the fact that we have houses that make our pep rallies more interactive truly makes our school a more fun and engaging environment.
“I really like the houses system because it creates a homely atmosphere in each house and gives the school a lot of strength,” freshman Mano Bellamkonda said. “It is also really fun to sit with our houses in the rallies because it creates a lot of competition and the greed to win every activity.”
Some people may be upset with the way that the houses are structured because their friends are not with them. However, having nobody that you know in your advisement gives you the opportunity to create new friendships. After four years, you may get to know people in your advisement better than the friends that you eat lunch with.
“I think that it’s a great way to build camaraderie between the different grade levels,” science department chair Erin Arredondo said. “So I like the concept of houses because it provides a lot of potential for older students, particularly as they become juniors and seniors, to become mentors with younger students.”
Advisement classes are supposed to guide and give students advice. Without these classes, students can go down the wrong path and make bad choices. “My favorite part of advisement is the fact that we can enjoy some time off of our classes and learn about important study and life skills,” Bellamkonda said. “It is a great and positive environment to be in, and it is also really fun to show our house spirit.”
This school should maintain houses because it makes our school stand out to others and increases our school spirit.
Where Was My Sorting Hat? An Argument Against the House System
Students are currently divided into four houses: Hercules, Orion, Pegasus and Poseidon. Though the house system is fulfilling its temporary purpose in the initial years, use of houses should not continue once all four grade levels are filled.
Each advisement is randomly placed into one of four houses because Portola is a relatively new school and does not currently have all four of the traditional high school levels. By randomly selecting which advisements are in each house, many students are left isolated because their friends are in different houses, even though they are in the same grade.
“When an entire class is separated into four groups,” returning sophomore Jaylin Moreno said, “your friend group gets smaller and smaller, and you are less likely to have friends in your group.”
During pep rallies, students are asked to sit with their houses to compete in contests for house points. Use of “house points” does not inspire or motivate many students. The reward of pizza or a trophy for winning the house cup does not result in a large enough motivation for students to pull their house’s weight. Since competitions are often on a large scale, competition between friends is rare.
Each advisement would be unaffected with transition because advisement is still a way for students to learn about school events and activities occurring on campus. The use of houses places an unnecessary filter that does not allow all students to sit with their friends and peers.
“I haven’t met any freshmen by house events,” Moreno said. “Maybe because there haven’t been enough ‘house bonding’ activities or whatever, but it’s just an awkward situation to meet someone new.”
Some may say houses help to introduce students in different grades, but students are not given opportunities to know people in their house since most of their time is within a single advisement class. Attending school events does not create many friends because of the awkward situation.
“In our houses, kids will tend to go to their friends that are in their class, which causes a divide between sophomores and freshmen,” sophomore Hannah Siekmann said. “This separation will continue with the allowance of houses.”
Each advisement has a single grade level, meaning the advisements would still be together when sitting with their title of “freshmen” or other grade. As the school accumulates more teachers, advisement counts will increase with the student population, therefore no problems will result because each advisement has students in a single grade.
Starting in the 2019-20 school year, we should integrate class titles to replace the useless house titles because it will boost the fun of pep rallies and encourage student participation.