In 1984, MCC began with two Sporting Houses. The emphasis was solely on sporting competitions, and the overall House Shield focussed on points gained from participating in the Swimming, Athletics and Cross Country carnivals.
However as the College student population rapidly grew, it was felt that with this emphasis on sporting achievement only, some students were being ‘missed in the crowd’ and there was a need to ensure that all students felt connected and included in daily College life.
Enter God’s inspiration! After attending an anti-bullying workshop where the presenter stated that the more connections a student has within their school, the lower the incidence of bullying, the then Director of Secondary, Mrs Lesley Tunnah, began seeking out a way to include students in as many different activities as possible. In 2005, following discussions with interested and passionate staff, the concept of House Families was born. The vision of each House Family was to be like the supporting strands of a spider’s web ie. many connecting network strands supporting and holding everything together.
These new House Families were named after four pioneering missionaries in Australia, Lloyd Averill, Annie Dennis, Thomas L Evans and Florence Young.
Initially supported by a mentoring program, where Year 12 students visited with Year 9 students and Year 11 students visited weekly with Year 8 students, all students in Year 8-12 met together in their House Family Groups on a daily basis. All points for sporting competitions, Gold Awards, reading challenges, Open Day Bottle stall contributions, service activities etc. were now being added to the overall House Family points tally announced weekly at the College Assembly.
Students were encouraged to collaboratively compose and learn House Family war cries and to dress in their House Family colours. A reversible bucket hat with House Family colours and a House Family wrist band were added to the College uniform.
In 2007, four House Family Coordinators from the Secondary teaching staff were appointed. Time was also set aside each week for a House Family Meeting with students from Year 8-12 meeting and planning together as a House Family, and as a result student ownership of their House Family continued to grow.
In 2008, appreciation for the uniqueness of each House Family was able to be highlighted with the introduction of a House Family Celebration morning at the end of the school year. Each group of House Family Captains was encouraged to present a video summary of the events in their House Family over the year, their own reflections as leaders, and to announce the House Family Captains for the following school year. This has become one of the students’ most important events of the year, culminating with the announcement of the overall House Family Champion and presentation of the shield.
In 2011, after the Junior School moved to Providence Campus, the Head of Campus at the time – Mrs Alison Bannister, sought to include the younger Prep to Year 5 students in the House Family culture. With visits from Senior House Family Captains and Mentors teaching students war cries with enthusiasm, the Junior Campus now takes its House Families and their colours very seriously!
The College looks forward to the House Family culture moving from strength to strength. Family is God’s idea – it’s where we learn to belong and to include everyone, even if initially they’re not the people we might choose to spend time with. House Families also allow students and staff to have fun together!
Averill, ‘Mighty in Spirit’, Dennis, ‘a Force to be reckoned with’, Evans ‘to Soar and to Serve’ and Young, where ‘Teamwork makes the Dreamwork’; the College House Families embody acceptance, sharing and fierce loyalty to their co-family members.