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.