House System hits five year anniversary mark


Joseph Zuloaga '23

Provincials Melissa Nagar, Vance Whipple, Chris Fern, and Leo Magnaye ’05 lead the four houses at Riordan.

Joseph Zuloaga ’23, Editor in Chief

Five years ago, a pioneering idea changed student life at Riordan.

At the start of the 2017-2018 year, the homeroom system was replaced with the House System to foster more camaraderie amongst Crusaders of all grade levels, through competition, accumulating points through the year, all leading up to the Chaminade Cup.

Four houses: the House of Bolts, the House of Cana, the House of Pilar, and the House of Russi were created under one roof to highlight aspects of Riordan and embrace the Marianist traditions of the school.

Van Whipple, the new provincial of the House of Russi, was nervous stepping into the shoes left by Valerie O’Riordan, but quickly adapted to the position with help of his fellow provincials. 

He said, “My favorite part of the house system, other than Russi winning, is our ability to have robust competitions, but still come together at the end. While you may see our drive for victory in public, what you don’t always get to see behind the scenes is how we celebrate each other’s victories and success. That’s a rare find and something that I think is awesome about this house team and system.”

For the provincial for the House of Cana, Christopher Fern, the House System means family spirit. “I love being a part of the Riordan Family but I also love having a special connection with my fellow Cana Crusaders. It’s a great way to have something else in common and something else to be excited for. Whether it’s fun games, charity drives, or spirit dress, having something to be excited to show up for and be tested to be your best is what keeps me fired up!”

The House System has come a long way since Roman Peregrino ’18 led the school as the first student body president under the new system. Co-Student Body Presidents Areeshah Farooq ’23 and Mahkai Hunt ’23 are now tasked with leading the school during this special year. 

Farooq from Pilar highlighted that being president is not as easy as it might seem. 

“As president there are many things I have to account for, which at first glance don’t seem important but really make an impact on [events]. The logistics of how each moving piece fits into the entirety of an event is crucial and something I’ve grown to enjoy.” 

Hunt from Cana adds that the House System made his experience at Riordan all the more enjoyable. 

“[It’s] a great way to make strong friendships especially because of R-time. With R-time you are able to meet in smaller groups with people from your house and do activities that make a tight bond between each other and the house teachers.”

Since its inception in 2017, the House System has seen its share of memorable moments. The House of Cana rose to the top in 2018, winning the first Chaminade Cup, and the House of Russi succeeded them in 2019. 

During the slumber of Covid lockdown, the House of Bolts surprised everyone with two Chaminade Cups back to back, in 2020 and 2021. Recently, Cana reclaimed the title at last year’s Crusader Games, with Pilar winning the Gauntlet.

As time passes by, the House System continues to evolve as it seeks to increase school spirit with daily homeroom R-Time meetings, monthly house games, as well as many other spirited events to further foster community. 

Fern hopes for more annual events in the coming years. “Currently Frosh Olympics and Crusader Games are huge traditions for our community, and last year’s Holiday carnivals have the potential to be as well if we build on what we did last year.”

“The house system is an intrical part of the school’s camaraderie and spirit. You can feel the school pride vibe and energy on house competition days,” Whipple recapped. 

“My hope is that the house system continues to grow. It’s one of the only aspects of school that bridges all of the divides and lets anyone, from frosh to a seniors, come together as a team. It’s something that is unique to Riordan and makes this school a special place.”