The new house system at Sacred Heart of Jesus School in Baton Rouge got a competitive start recently as the various houses held food drives to replenish the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish St. Vincent de Paul food pantry, which was flooded by heavy rains in July that destroyed all the food stored there.

School house systems, which originated in England, became familiar worldwide through Harry Potter books. At Sacred Heart of Jesus, there are four houses based on four of the seven virtues:  House Fides (Faith), House Spes (Hope), House Caritas (Love), and House Fortitudo (Fortitude).  Each house has an assigned saint or a venerated figure who exemplifies the virtue of that house, as well as house colors, a logo, and a faculty head of house.

House Caritas claimed a victory in the food drive challenge with a total of 923 pounds of donated food items. House Fides was second with 886.5 pounds; House Spes was third with 835.5 pounds; and House Fortitudo was fourth with 759 pounds. A total of 3,404 pounds of food was donated during the weeklong challenge.

The challenge followed a successful sorting day for new students on Aug. 17. After students opened their invitations and received their house T-shirts, they joined fellow house members on the school playground for a dance party, frozen treats, bubbles and sidewalk art. The day concluded with house members performing their house chants from the steps of the school.

A house challenge will be held each month until the end of the school year, with each house accumulating points. A house cup will be awarded in May to the house with the largest number of points.