Is it a Gem?

Colette Combs, Editor

The 2018-2019 school year here at Pingree brought about some major changes, including a few pertaining to Student Government. The biggest change came not in the fact that we no longer have Class Reps, but in that the entire student body has been divided into gemstone themed houses. This past year has been Pingree’s first experiment with this structure. The House System was established in an attempt to increase participation at school events like sports games and concerts. Additionally, the system was intended to encourage comradery across grade levels between friend groups.  

The idea for the House system was first introduced at a student council meeting at the end of the 2017-2018 school year to get the feedback of class representatives. At the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, the system and competition for the house cup were officially announced, and students were sorted into their respective houses. There are six houses with names based on different gemstones, including Carnelian, Amethyst, Garnet, Sapphire, Titanite, and Emerald.

With this being the first school year with the House System in place, reactions to it have been both strong and mixed. One of the strongest criticisms against it is that it eliminated any real sense of student government, while arguments for it include the fact that this year’s school events across the board have seen a significant boost in attendance. The response to the system has been positive, but a few students have recently shared some constructive criticism of it.

A few students recently shared their voices on the topic of the new House System, including Emma Greaves ‘20 and Jazzmine Sanderson ‘20. The two agreed that while it is true that this year has seen a bump in attendance, it is not totally because of the House system. According to Sanderson, accounts like Higherlandernation on Instagram have helped raise enthusiasm for school events. Another popular criticism is that as we approach the end of the year, those students not in one of the top two houses no longer care about the competition aspect of the system. Greaves made note that she likes the system, but thinks the highlighted events could be improved on next year. “I think they need to do better with the scheduling of the highlighted events and have fewer of them. Also, they should spread out the event types between arts and athletics, because that distribution has been skewed all year and arts events still aren’t usually well attended. As a final thought, Greaves added, “I don’t like the names.”

Overall, the House system is still in its trial stages. As the school receives more feedback, the way the system is managed and the role it plays in student life will surely change. It may take a while for current students to adjust to the system, but soon it will become the new norm for the next incoming classes. While the system brings a lot of good to the community, it is important to take the criticisms to heart in order to build a better and more enjoyable high school experience for future Pingree students.