Since St. Benedict Elementary opened its doors in 2012, student enrollment has continued to increase. Almost doubling in size each year for the first 4 years has truly been a blessing. We often hear our headmaster, Mr. Jay Boren, say that any challenges that come along are welcomed as “good problems to have!” Amidst this wonderful growth of our school, we recognize the necessity of preserving a strong sense of community among our students. For this reason, SBE formed a new school-wide program in 2015 known as “Houses of Faith.” Each student at SBE is welcomed into one of our four “Houses”: the House of St. Thomas Aquinas, the House of St. Anselm, the House of St. Scholastica, and the House of St. Catherine of Siena. Each House is composed of students from each grade level with family members (siblings and even cousins) placed in the same House. SBE students remain in the same House throughout their time at SBE. Our Houses have their own coat of arms, Latin motto, colors, and even a secret handshake!
Once a month, we have House meetings during which students pray and play together. The meetings provide the opportunity for students in all grades to interact with one another and get to know each other. Our 6th graders proudly organize each meeting with guidance from their House Master (SBE faculty). They spend class time planning these meetings, as we believe organizing the meetings helps to cultivate necessary leadership skills.
Students likewise look forward to their “House Day,” in which they celebrate their saint’s feast day by wearing their House t-shirt and enjoying a special treat during lunch. Throughout the year, Houses strive to earn points through friendly competitions in order to win the House Cup. House competitions include participation in service projects, box-top collections, math challenges, and performance in activities during Field Day at the end of the year.
Our House saints were thoughtfully chosen. We emulate these saints for being great scholars and for their importance in the Church’s history. St Anselm, a Benedictine monk, is well known for having written the motto, “Fides quaerens intellectum” or “Faith seeking understanding.” St. Scholastica was the sister of our namesake, St. Benedict, and a Benedictine nun. St. Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican Friar, was arguably the greatest scholar that the Church has ever produced. St. Catherine of Siena, a Dominican nun, was one of the first women to be named a Doctor of the Church. The 6th graders spend time during the first meeting of the year to discuss their saint’s story, so as to educate the younger students and to build a sense of pride for their House.
During our upcoming November meeting, each House will gather on Tuesday, the 20th, to enjoy a Thanksgiving Feast together. There will be a sign up for students to bring in various items and the 6th graders will lead a discussion about our virtue of the month: Gratitude. It will surely be another wonderful day building our community at SBE!
Author: Christina Raplinger, Grade 5 Teacher