NIST has a quite a unique house system. This system is similar to the Harry Potter houses but instead of 4 we have 6 different houses: Red, Yellow, Green, Orange, Purple and Blue. The houses would compete in various different activities throughout the academic year which will ultimately contribute to the House Cup which is awarded to the winning house at the end of the year. This house system presented various student leadership opportunities as every house had a President and a year level representative from each year level.
I have been involved in the leadership team for the NIST House program for the past few years. I was elected as Red House President when I was in year 11 and I have been able to develop my leadership and management skills.
Before the current house system, there was a teacher coordinator assigned to each of the houses. This decreased the responsibility that the student leaders had to take on. But just three years ago, the system changed and now the house system was entirely student ran and there is only a single teacher to coordinate everything.
There are a lot of responsibilities that comes with being a president of a House. First of all, I had to conduct regular assemblies to my house of 120 students. Next, I had to help in the planning of the annual house competition event known as Spirit Day. Finally, it was my duty to direct and organize activities in order to raise funds for a charity that Red House sponsors. All of these responsibilities must all be fulfilled in order to be a successful House leader.
House assemblies take place every month. The aim of these short 30 minutes assemblies was to celebrate the success of each individual in the House. Successes can range from academics to sports or to extra-curricular activities. Celebrating everyone’s successes would improve House spirit and make everyone feel special within this large House. Everyone;s birthdays were also celebrated. Anyone who has a birthday in the month of the assembly would get a red Kit Kat. These activities promote House spirit and allow everyone to get to know one another better. However, as the House consists of students from years 7 to 13 there was a wide age range and all have different interests. This posed a big challenge to me, as I had to make sure I sustain every student’s attention and interest on the assembly. I have tried many different ways to make this work, but things that the younger students find amusing, the older students might find immature or childish and vice versa. With a lot of trial and error and consultation with my house members, I was able to devise a good strategy to keep everyone entertained. It seemed that everyone would enjoy a good video, so I would include a lot of video clips in my presentation to keep everyone entertained for a bit before moving onto the next subject matter. This would increase their attention span. I had also learned to keep presentations short so an activity such as jeopardy or a quiz could be played afterwards. This experience made me more aware of what I needed to do to keep the attention and manage a large group of different aged people which is a great skill to have for similar presentations.
Spirit Day is a time where the whole secondary school comes together to have a day of inter-house competition. There are a wide range of events which range from doudgeball to theatre sports. To plan this big day, a lot of collaboration between the house leaders must be taken place. It is decided for every house to have two events which gives a total of 12 events. Each of these events needs to be run by someone in the House. As a tradition, Red House would always have the doudgeball and Pull for Peace events. Even though these events seem quite normal, they attract a big crowd of people to watch. Planning for Spirit Day starts well in advance. Facilities needs to be booked, equipment needs to be brought and on top of that a lot of administrative approval is needed. Through aiding in the organization of these huge events, I am able to learn the basic skills of how to manage events of this size. I am also able to gain a better understanding of how to coordinate with other student leaders and increase my communication skills with the management of the school and the Thai staff that work here.
With “training” from organizing Spirit Day, it was time for Red House to conduct our own fund raising event. As a tradition that has been going on for 7 years, Red House would always have a Valentine’s Day rose sale. The event was not hard to plan but managing the event was very important to make sure that everything goes smoothly, especially when dealing with a large sum of money. Roses were sold by a pre-order system in which we would sell order forms to people 2 weeks in advance. Then 2 days before we would contact our rose supplier and order the amount of rose people have pre-ordered. With 8 year level representatives from each year level, I was able to create a rose sale selling schedule where people would sell the slips in the morning before school and at lunch times. The amount of slips sold would be counted every day so a total amount of roses would be known and a large hectic final count of the slips at the end wont be needed. After the rose selling days are over, we would then add an extra 100 roses to the final rose number to make sure that we did not miss count the number. On February 13th, the ordered roses order would be delivered to school and all the house representatives would gather together and staple a slip onto a rose. Once all that is completed, the roses are sorted into the homerooms. Finally in the morning of the 14th, we would arrive to school early and deliver all the roses to the corresponding homerooms. Even though this was a great task, the good management of the event made allowed it to run smoothly. Finally, Red House was able to raise over 40,000 baht in the last two years, which was an amazing management experience for me
I believe my role as the Red House president had made me a better leader and helped me gain a lot of important management skills. These skills would be very useful to me when I am going to join the workforce. It was a very good experience of my high school life and the accomplishments that we have achieved as a whole house would be remembered for a long time.