RADFORD – Belle Heth Elementary School pulled out all the stops last week in its third annual House Sorting where all students are into one of four houses: compassion, grit, tenacious, and visionary.
This year, McHarg Elementary joined Belle Heth in the ceremony since McHarg students are attending school at Belle Heth due to construction on the McHarg campus.
The House Sorting was held on Sept. 17 and 18. The house system is a school-wide initiative that promotes positive behavior, creates multi-grade level friendships, and promotes community service. Each house – compassion, grit, tenacious, and visionary – is represented by a color, symbol, and hand gesture. The houses have a friendly, year-long point competition. Visionary was the House Champion for 2019-2020.
According to Belle Heth Principal Tara Grant, the house sorting is “an exhilarating and motivating ceremony where each student selects their house by drawing a colored slip of paper out of a cauldron. The color indicates which house the student will be a member of for life.”
Like many things in life, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the ceremony a bit, she explained.
“This sorting was different from past sortings due to the physical distancing requirements and that McHarg students were included,” said Grant. “All students in preschool through sixth grade have been sorted into a house.”
“House sorting is a big deal, so we had to find a way to make it a big deal even though we couldn’t have a normal assembly,” added sixth-grade teacher Cole Wilder. “With the help of student producers, we live-streamed the sorting to the entire school. We had students operating the streaming equipment, the camera, and others who cheered on students as they got sorted. I think it was even more fun than our normal sorting.”
“I liked the sorting. It was fun,” said first-grader Preston Hidalgo. “I got the house I wanted, Visionary!”
“I liked it too! It was loud and exciting and I’m also Visionary,” added Preston’s classmate Auggie Cassidy.
Under the house system, students will “help the school community by learning how to serve others and contribute to making the world a better place through community service,” said Grant.