Students Empowered to Lead
In the 2011-2012 school year, Washington Christian Academy implemented a new student and family life venture that now enriches the lives of all members of the Middle & Upper School community. The principle goal of this initiative was to empower students by giving them the opportunity to create and manage their experience at WCA.
This program is based on the “house” concept, a long-standing tradition in both colleges and boarding schools. In that model, the group with which a student is associated is based on the residence or house in which that student lives. Individual houses have their own elected leadership, charters, and traditions.
The model WCA uses is based on the same premise, though without dormitories. Students in grades 6-12 are all placed into one of four houses: Arcola, Hewitt, Hampshire, and Franwall. Each house is named after each of the street names WCA has had since its beginning back in 1960.
The unique vertical structure of the house program helps students develop relationships and partnerships that cut across traditional classroom and grade level boundaries. It allows younger students access to the fine young men and women in the Upper School as they participate together in community and service events, a recipe for true discipleship.
The highlights of the house calendar are our four house festival days. These days include a variety of events and activities engaging the entire community, including competitions between the houses to see who will be the winning house at the end of the year.
The House Program gives each of our Upper School students the chance to step up to student leadership and responsibility. By taking responsibility for their own community, students have a richer, fuller experience of life at WCA. It also allows for mentoring from faculty, who are also members of the houses. The program enables students to have a higher sense of ownership in school life and a greater voice in creating the future of WCA.
Festival days are held twice during the school year – once per semester. These days are held in addition to club meetings, service days, and other special events a house might sponsor. On festival days, there are a variety of events and activities engaging the entire community, including competitions between houses, house meetings, presentations, performances, and workshops. Festival days, along with other house sponsored activities, are held in addition to traditional WCA events.