Sacred Heart of Jesus School added a new chapter to its history in April when the student body was sorted into one of four houses — Fides, Spes, Caritas and Fortitudo — in the school’s new house system.

The first phase of the house system implementation will begin with the new school year, when students and faculty start earning points for their respective houses through monthly competitions. These competitions are an extension of many programs already in place at Sacred Heart, such as canned good collections for the food pantry, label collections, Accelerated Reader and field day.

“A system of discrete contests fosters engagement because each house has a legitimate chance at winning the contest regardless of the outcome of earlier contests,” said parent Mike Henderson, school advisory board secretary and House Points Committee chairman.

Under the point system, houses would place first, second, third or fourth in each contest throughout the year and earn points based on that placement. The house with the highest cumulative total would earn the House Cup for the year, a news release said.

Social outreach activities for each house will be added during the 2019-20 school year. Both the activities and the recipient organizations will be student-recommended.

“The outreach component of the house system is so important,” said Caritas Head of House Hannah Owens. “We’re waiting a year to begin this phase to ensure that the system is in place and ready to move beyond the boundaries of the school.”

New students for the 2018-19 year will be sorted into houses in late August, including incoming prekindergartner Olivia Ashworth, daughter of Fides Head of House Kacey Ashworth. “I’m so excited that Olivia will not only be joining me at Sacred Heart but also joining as a member of House Fides,” Ashworth said. “The house system will take our bonding to a different level. I can’t wait to interact with her as members of the same house.”

Student leaders also will be selected during the first year and become part of each house leadership team. The house system will be a visual part of the school as well. House banners are being installed on the front of the school. House flags also will be flown to indicate which house is leading in the monthly competitions. A new display system is being installed in the Main Hall that will include each house logo, a portrait of original house members and a bulletin board to display information.

The 2018-19 school theme reiterates the concept of the house system: Four Chambers, One Heart. The theme logo includes the four house logos.

“Just as the four chambers make up the heart, our four houses make up the Sacred Heart of Jesus School family,” Laird said.

“We are a school that prides itself on its traditions and history in Baton Rouge.” The 2018-19 school year marks our 90th year of educating students in the greater Baton Rouge area, Laird noted. “The house system is an excellent opportunity to build on our traditions as we approach our 100th anniversary.”

The four houses are based on four of the seven virtues, each with its own assigned saint or venerated figure, colors, and logos. The logos are pulled directly from the school logo, a shield surrounding the Sacred Heart of Jesus. That logo, in turn, was inspired by the Sacred Heart hat has adorned the entrance to the Main Hall since the school was expanded in 1950.

House Fides (faith) is represented by Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque, a French Catholic nun who promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus after experiencing several private revelations of the Sacred Heart. The house color is gold, and the logo is the shield.

St. John Paul the Great, who served as pope from 1978 until 2005, embodies the essence of House Spes (hope). The house color is light blue, and the logo is the radiant.

House Caritas (Love) is represented by Ven. Henriette DeLille, an American Creole woman from New Orleans who founded the Sisters of the Holy Family. The house color is red, and the logo is the heart.

St. Edmund Campion, an English martyr, epitomizes the spirit of House Fortitudo. The house color is silver, and the logo is the crown of thorns.