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Clapham Blog

Getting to Know the Houses of Clapham

Posted by Clapham School on Aug 23, 2023 8:11:39 AM

Sorting ceremony 2023

Sorting Ceremony

Tuesday, August 29 at 8:30 am

We have an exciting year of House events ahead!

The House System exists to promote Secondary School student life and cultivate relationships across Secondary School grades.

 The entire Clapham community is invited to attend the Sorting Ceremony on Tuesday, August 29, where Class Six students will be welcomed into their respective houses. The ceremony will begin at 8:30 am with a brief chapel talk by Dr. LeMahieu. Then, on to the sorting!

Which house would you be in? 



Alexandria House embodies joyful discovery.

Alexandria, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, had a stunning lighthouse and extensive library. This city represents the hope that we have for our students. As the library is full of books, we hope that their education will be rich, and like the lighthouse, used as a light for others.
In heraldry (the system of assigning meaning to coats of arms), the dragon symbolizes courage and is perceived as a defender of a great treasure. The dragon is a mythical creature that never stops growing just as our pursuit of knowledge of God and His creation never ends.
The crest’s green color embodies freedom, beauty, and joy. Joyful discovery is the practice of paying attention to the beautiful, good, and true. As students cultivate this habit, they derive joy and experience the beautiful freedom of delighting in good things for their own sake. 
Finally, the motto Per Aspera ad Astra translates to “through difficulties to the stars.” We believe that joyful discovery is not easy. To see the beautiful, good, and true, takes effort. In struggle, students can know God more fully.



Athens House embodies excellence.

In the ancient world, Athens was a center of learning, fertile ground for Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum. Often referred to as the birthplace of democracy and cradle of Western civilization, Athens symbolizes the outworking of excellence in thought and action.
In heraldry, the pegasus symbolizes integrity, dutifulness, and fortitude, as well as eloquence and contemplation. The pegasus, a mythical hybrid creature, represents the dualistic nature of excellence that we hope our students will learn. Excellence is the result of diligence and deep thought, the result of both patience and effort.
The crest’s colors, gold and pearl, embody faithfulness, virtue, truth, and purity. These colors encourage our students to look to Christ for the full embodiment of these attributes, while seeking to imitate Him, diligently pursuing to be faithful and virtuous lovers of truth and purity.
Finally, the motto αἰὲν ἀριστεύειν translates to “ever to excel.” The phrase originally derives from Homer’s Iliad, when Glaucus explains his lineage to Diomedes, “Hippolochus begat me. I claim to be his son, and he sent me to Troy with strict instructions: Ever to excel, to do better than others, and to bring glory to your forebears, who indeed were great . . . This is my ancestry; this is the blood I am proud to inherit.” May our students build upon those who came before them and glorify their Heavenly Father.



Emmaus House embodies discipleship.

After His death and resurrection, Jesus appeared to a few disciples on the road to Emmaus. They did not recognize Him and walked together, discussing “Moses and the prophets . . . [and Jesus] explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27). Eventually, Jesus revealed Himself to them, and they rejoiced, running to the other disciples and proclaiming the truth of the resurrection. Discipleship is walking with the Lord, meditating on Scriptures, and seeing things new.

In heraldry, the phoenix symbolizes resurrection. Every disciple must be “born again” (John 3:3). The mythical bird rises from the ashes of its predecessor. The phoenix embodies the death to self that every believer must experience before experiencing life anew.

The crest’s colors are amethyst and amber. Amethyst embodies majesty, justice, and sovereignty, while amber represents worthy ambition. These two colors combined illustrate that discipleship, living in submission to the sovereignty of God, is a worthy ambition. We pray that every student at Clapham would be a disciple of Christ, proclaiming His majesty, searching out His justice, and surrendering to His sovereignty.

Finally, the motto Dominus illuminatio mea translates to “the Lord is my light.” This passage originates from Psalm 27. The full verse states, “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” Discipleship is death to self, a daily practice that takes courage and faith. We pray that this verse guides our students to stand firm in their faith, to be confident in the Lord, and to place their trust in Him.



Olivet House embodies servant leadership.

When Jesus went to pray in the garden of Gethsemane, he prayed in a garden of olive trees. This Mount of Olives, Olivet, is where Jesus gave Himself up for the salvation of God’s children. This servant leadership, the courage to lay down one’s life, is the central vision of sacrificial love and true strength that we present to our students.

In heraldry, the hippogriff symbolizes truth, power, and the duality of Christ’s nature, both man and God. As a hybrid creature, the hippogriff points to the humanity and divinity of Christ as our example, and the reality of our sinful natures as we seek to serve Christ as humble servants.

The crest’s colors are ruby and ebony. Ruby is a symbol for martyrdom and an eagerness to serve country, while ebony embodies grief and wisdom. These two colors illustrate Olivet House’s dual vision, that true power is found in sacrificing oneself for others.

Finally, the motto μο ποιήσατε translates to “you have done it to me.” This phrase derives the context when Jesus is instructing His followers to serve the needy around them. In doing so, “as you did it to the least of my brothers, so you have done it to me” (Matthew 25:40). The call to serve others is a call to serve Christ from the greatest to the least. We hope that our students would go out from Clapham School and be servant leaders who point to Christ in the way that they serve and love.



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Topics: Insider, Biblical Worldview, Chapel, Upper School, Christian worldview, Clapham, Classical Education, Events, Joy, Values, Middle School, Student Life, Christian Education, Culture, House System