In 2011 Notre Dame High School became Chattanooga’s first and only school to develop a HOUSE system in which all students, faculty, and staff are divided into one of four “Houses” which complete throughout the year to earn points for positive contributions made to our school.
At its core, House allows us to live out our Catholic identity all the more fully while providing mentoring opportunities between the more experienced veteran students and those still learning the ropes. One’s House affiliation becomes one’s smaller family unit within the larger Notre Dame family. We are communities that provide social and spiritual support for one another, and we recognize that all members have something positive to contribute to Notre Dame—both Our Lady and our school.
Each “House” is christened after one manifestation of Our Lord in Scripture. The four Houses are Fons Vitae (Fount of Life), Fortis Bellator (Mighty Warrior), Lux Vera (True Light), and Rex Gloriae (King of Glory). Houses are mixed by grade-level and gender, and students remain in the same House all four years as a student. God has a hand in choosing your House your first year at Notre Dame, as the sorting process is completely randomized. Where you are, there you should be.
The Houses also function as Notre Dame’s organizing principle for leadership opportunities, Mass participation, Games Days, dances, pep rallies, community service projects, and more. Each House consists of a faculty member who serves as Head of House, two senior captains, and multiple prefects (sophomores, juniors, and/or seniors) who assist the captains in planning and executing all House events. Each year the House Heads appoint two senior captains to lead the charge, while House members elect their own prefects. In this way, students have multiple opportunities to develop leadership skills; as an example, rather than having one senior class president, we have eight senior captains—a model which encourages more students to get involved in the leadership of their school.
As you can imagine, we take a lot of pride in our Houses and celebrate virtuous behavior and involvement in school social, spiritual, athletic, artistic, and service components. Students may earn points for their Houses by contributing extra community service hours and by participating in various House competitions throughout the year. Each month the House with the most points earns the privilege of wearing their House t-shirts on Thursdays to school. (No ties, gentleman!) And at the end of the year there’s a big revealing of which House earned the most points total. The House Cup is awarded to the champions, along with a special, tangible, surprise reward. (The gift that keeps on giving, of course, is the bragging rights for the next year!)
Fons, Fortis, Lux, and Rex—which House is your home away from home?