New program at Thorsby enforcing positivity around campus

Published 3:03 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2022

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

Thorsby High School welcomed a new program to its campus this school year in the House System.

Built from a program at the Ron Clark Academy in Georgia, Thorsby students in grades 7-12 get the opportunity to choose a group activity to help promote a better environment.

Rebel students are split into three different houses – wisdom, devotion and kindness.

Every other Friday during the lunch period, students go meet with their respective groups for House Wars, and can earn points during these periods that are added back to the student’s specific houses.

Students get to choose the group they would like to participate in with over 10 different activities to choose from including art, athletics, newspaper, gardening and prom.

Students can also earn points for attendance and grades, but can also get points taken away for discipline issues such as detention or suspension.

Every nine weeks, the house who has the most points earns a party and 15 bonus points to use in whatever class the students pick. At the end of the year, the house with the most overall points will get a half day to have a party instead of classes in the afternoon.

“Our high school administrative team were trying to find ways to encourage students, have their attendance improve and students’ scores go up as well,” Bridget Caton, staff leader of the House System, said. “We’re trying to encourage students to have a motive for doing well.”

The idea behind the House System was brought to the Thorsby administration at the end of the last school year. Some Thorsby administrators have travelled to the Ron Clark Academy to get some ideas about how to maximize the Thorsby High School House Wars experience.

“We were 100% for it,” Holly Matson, Thorsby High School assistant principal, said. “(Caton) has taken lead over all of it, and we get to see from the outside looking in the results from it.”

The gardening group is building a garden behind the school in between two buildings for students to use like a senior courtyard. The art group is planning an art show that will be the same night the talent show is on.

Since the start of the school year, Thorsby staff can see a positive improvement on the Rebel campus.

“I do think it has promoted school spirit and positivity,” Caton said. “The talent show last year, the school spirit was amazing. It was one of the best days, and this year we’re going to open it up to parents and the community.”

Some of the other group’s students can get involved with include inspirational movies where students watch movies and discuss them as a group. The cooking group learns how to make different types of food and earn points for their house by making specific recipes. Athletics play games in the gym, help tend to sporting facilities and can earn points for attending Rebel sporting events.

There is also a prom planning group, a tutoring group, an interior design group that helps decorate the school’s hallways and bulletin boards and a group that produces the school newspaper.

“I like the different houses and different things the students can choose from,” Matson said. “I feel like it’s a pretty good list of interests that each kid can find something they would like to do.”

The purpose behind the House Wars at Thorsby was to give students motives to do well and stay out of trouble. As the first year of the program ends, the staff can see the environment on campus improving, and hopes the growth of the program continues into the next school year.

“It’s also about community but having fun too,” Caton said. “Most students think school is boring so this is a way we can incorporate academics and fun.”