House Competitions Add Unity and Fun for Lower School

Gabriel Prenga

The Lower School students, the doors to their classrooms, and their school year have all been filled with colors and competitions. These included a spring art competition, Family Field Day competitions, and their monthly spirit days when everyone wore their specific color to support their house.

The expressive art competition, where students could express their visual or digital art skills, was a culmination of a school year full of competitions. Lower School staff and students were separated into four houses—named after ICSB’s first four Directors—each with its own mascot and color: the Hiltibran house, with the raven (holló) as their mascot and navy blue as their team color, the Welsh house with the hornet (darázs) as their mascot and yellow as their team color, the Ragsdale house with red as their team color and the fox (róka) as their mascot and Young with turquoise as their team color and the stag (szarvas) as their mascot. The Houses have been in a point-run competition all throughout this school year. When students show acts of kindness, or care and effort when not required, or when they show excellence, a point might be given. Other than that, everyone has an equal opportunity to grab the trophy in one of their athletic or participation competitions.

In the kickoff event, the retreat or spirit week, each student could support their team by participating and earning points. This was the second year Lower School implemented this competition. It was originally inspired by the British schools and its purpose was to create a stronger community and to make the students of diverse ages and cultures together. One of the creators of the house competitions, Miss Jessica Jenkins, said, “I used to teach at a British school in Nepal and learned about houses there. It is a fairly normal thing in British schools, and I really enjoyed being part of a house.” She added that “with the new Lower School division, we wanted some way to bring the students from different grade levels together.”

This friendly competition adds something special to ICSB middle and early grades. First-grade teacher Miss Hannah Hocutt said, “It has been fun to mix the grades and to participate with others with whom we don't normally interact. I have really liked seeing the middle grade students connect with the early grade students during these activities.” It does not interfere with the school learning process, but it is also not rare enough for the students to forget it. Every house earned numerous points during the ‘21-’22 school year, but Ragsdale House (named for the school’s first Director, Russ Ragsdale) finished first with 331 points. Close behind, Welsh came in second with 324 points, followed by Hiltibran with 301 and Young with 254.

Second grader Mátyás Vitári said, “I enjoyed being with new and different people. I think the house competitions bring people together.” The competitions keep a nice balance in the student's year. So far, they have added fun, connection, growth, and memories to the Lower School years the students will spend at ICSB. Hopefully, this will be the case for years to come.

Pictured above are the many decorated classroom doors and beautiful artwork entered as activities in last year's Lower School House competitions.