In 2019, Bishop Lynch officially switched over to a House System. With eight different Houses, all named after Dominican Saints and Blesseds, each student, faculty member and staff member were assigned a specific House for the duration of their tenure at Bishop Lynch. In the first year, students slowly became accustomed to the role of the House system, their mentor groups, and their mentors.
At the end of the first year, the House System was met with an unseen hurdle with the CoVID-19 and a shift to an online learning platform. This shift made meeting in person and developing personal relationships with students and mentors incredibly difficult, but nevertheless, students and mentors work with their groups on Zoom for the remainder of the school year, over the summer and the start of the second year in the House System.
Upon returning to campus in October of 2020, the focus in the House System was shifted to mentor group development. The required CoVID-19 protocols and limitations on meeting spaces allowed for students to work almost exclusively within their mentor groups, developing and implementing various activities throughout the school year. Towards the end of the school year, opportunities to meet as an entire House arose, providing protected time and space for students to begin developing their individual Houses’ identity, beyond that for the House color and patron saint.
As we enter into the third year of the House System, the focus has shifted from mentor group development to the development of student leaders within the Houses. From the mentor group level to the House level to the School-wide leaders, students are provided with training from Essential Partners on dialogic training to be utilized in mentor group discussions and school-wide discussions. The use of discussion panels led by the Bishop Lynch Guidance Department are planned to continue for this school year as well, with topics and ideas coming by from student leaders. Additionally, Houses have started the process of identifying specific virtues, charisms, and mottos for each House, as well as mascots to represent their Houses, continuing to build student engagement.
Although this is the third year of the House System, this will be the first year of the Dominican Cup being offered to the House with the most House points collected throughout the year. Students, mentors, and all auxiliary members of the House will be able to earn points for their House through participating in academic, art, and athletic competitions, as well as student formation events and dress down days. House Days will continue this school year, although completely on campus. These days have been planned by student leaders and will reflect opportunities for all Houses to share in friendly competitions and activities, taking a break from academics during the middle of the day.
Looking to the future, the 2022-2023 school year will be their first graduating class of the House System. This class has been integral in maintaining the momentum of the House System from its establishment their freshman year, and we look forward to their contributions as senior leaders of the school. In addition, this fourth year of the House System will mark the integration of service into the House System as part of an opt-in program, developing a drive to serve others as individuals, as mentor groups and, eventually, as an entire House.