Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hogwarts By Any Other Name

Following the boys' 3 day week last week, Christopher started his first full school week with a 'team building' retreat. He left with his grade from the Montreux train station at 8:47 on Monday morning, and returned home yesterday afternoon. Judging from his filthy and wet clothes, not the mention the sparkle in his eyes, they had a great time.

The upper school is divided into 'houses' - Fribourg, Bern, Valais and Jura, Christopher being in the latter house. Disappointingly, there is no sorting hat, and the kids are placed in a seemingly random fashion. However, once a child belongs to a house, his/her younger siblings will automatically go there as well. Benjamin, therefore, will also be a member of the Jura house once he enters the upper school.

The houses each have their own mascot and coloured shirt, the Jura Jaguars sadly being forest green. Ick.

Each 'house' competes for points throughout the school year, and close taps are kept on who's in the lead, as results are posted and updated online at all times. Points may be earned for various activities, including charity events organized by a house, academic efforts and sports results. Points can also be deducted for poor behaviour, sportsmanship, etc.

The retreat was a way to kick off this year's competitive spirits among the houses, with all kids from each house bunking in separate quarters in a large Chateau in the mountains above us.

The kids spent Monday afternoon and most of Tuesday in various activities that required both physical and mental efforts. Among the activities were cross country runs to find clues over an area of several kilometers, building a tower out of spaghetti and marshmallows, and some intricate group work involving a bucket of water and rubber bands. Did I mention the bag full of wet clothes?

By yesterday morning, as the results were tallied over breakfast, Jura was announced the big winner. The prize - to be enjoyed at school today - was a huge Toblerone chocolate bar.

Of course, the real prize is the bragging rights that come with beating your schoolmates. Let's hope this team spirit continues and spills over into academic efforts. Now that would be a victory truly worth savouring!

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