Orange, yellow, purple, and grey. While these may seem like just Calgary Academy’s brand colours, they will now represent so much more during the 2022-23 school year and beyond. After a year of 40th celebrations and now moving into its fifth decade, there’s always room for new traditions to bring both students and staff together. The new Knights House System aims to do just that.
Mr. Noel, a Senior School teacher, was part of a group of dedicated staff members who had the idea to unite the entire school community in a way that hadn’t previously been done before. On the first day of school, the Knights House System was officially unveiled at a school assembly. As staff members excitedly filed into the gym already wearing their house colours, the room was buzzing with over 650 students wondering what was going on. While they had to wait a little longer to find out which house they were part of, now all Kindergarten to Grade 12 students and staff can proudly don their orange, yellow, purple, and grey shirts with pride during school events.
The common misconception of the Knights House System is that it’s simply about the colours and that it creates competition.
“While yes, the entire school community is separated into one of four colours, the Knights House System gives each student and staff member a dedicated community to earn points through exemplifying our REACH principles through a number of opportunities during the school year.” – Mr. Noel
You might be wondering what each of the four house colours represents. Well, that’s up for each house to decide! Instead of being sorted into a house that had a pre-determined set of characteristics for students to fit themselves into, each group will decide what their house represents to them. From creating their own name, and sets of norms, values, and more, this is a student-led initiative to design, co-create, and foster relationships across grades and departments.
“Our community was looking at ways to continue school enthusiasm past Junior School and to create opportunities around the school to create mentorship opportunities for our older students as well. The overall goal of the Knights House System is to create an opportunity for everyone in the school to have the means to unify with the long-term goal of building a sense of community throughout the grades.” – Mr. Noel
Most recently, CA hosted its annual Terry Fox School Run. Grade 12 students buddied up with younger students, predominantly from Grade 2-3, to help them through the run so no one had to go through it alone. It’s this display of altruism within REACH, for example, that would earn their houses points in a non-competitive way.
“It was really encouraging to see that we didn’t have to coach the Senior School students on how to buddy up for the Terry Fox School Run. It was a natural response to our asking them to walk with the younger students and they very much rose to that occasion.” – Mr. Noel
Throughout the year, there will be many opportunities for teams to earn points and wear their house colours to show that ‘We are all Knights.’
“The hope is that we are launching a new tradition that will be continued for years to come. In an ideal world, when students graduate, they look back with pride on the opportunities they were given to build community with every student and staff member in some capacity. The shift that we’ve seen in our school culture since its introduction has so far been very positive and I look forward to seeing it continue that way.” – Mr. Noel