Now in its second decade at SIA, the Academy’s House Program provides unique opportunities for members of the Upper School community to share positive interaction at all grade levels and in all academic disciplines and departments.
Our Five Houses
At the inception of the program in 2004, five Houses were created, each named for a significant figure in Academy history. As a school, we are proud of the people and traditions, which have shaped our development, and our House Program seeks to honor their lasting impact on our school.
Anton Methfessel was the founder of the school, originally the Staten Island Academy and Latin School. He was known for his "Old World Style," his love of languages and music. He was often seen playing his violin as he strolled from classroom to classroom. The flag that represents Methfessel House was designed with the German Flag in mind to reflect the roots of our founder. The two-headed eagle is a traditional symbol of royalty and strength. “He” is a regular visitor to our annual Founders Day assembly in October.
Edward Stettinius was the owner of the property where our campus now sits and his mansion once stood. He was also the father of Secretary of State Edward Stettinius Jr., who served under President Franklin Roosevelt. The Stettinius Mansion, which is the central image of the House flag, was the original home of the Dongan-Arden School and was the central building for Staten Island Academy until it was destroyed by fire in the 1970’s.
Dr. Harold Merrick is the Head of School with the distinction of holding the position for the longest tenure of any Academy Head, serving as “Headmaster” for 20 years from 1942-1962. “Merrick” is also the name of the physical house that sits on campus behind our athletic fields and the name of a local street that connects to Todt Hill Road, both named in honor of Dr. Merrick. The House flag depicts a phoenix, which represents re-birth, longevity, and immortality -- all attributes that the life and legacy of Dr. Merrick exemplify. Merrick House was the first-ever recipient of the House Cup in 2005.
Edith Willard and Elsa Mundorf were two Staten Island Academy teachers who had progressive ideas about education and left the Academy with the school’s blessing to begin their own school. Their school was successful, and they later brought the school and all of its students back into the Staten Island Academy fold in the 1930’s. The House flag contains images from the respective family crests of the Willard and Mundorf families.
Frederick Partington was the first official Head of School and a very influential figure in the shaping of the school Staten Island Academy would become. Mr. Partington was a nurturing educator, as well as a drummer for his battalion during the Civil War. The flag for Partington House has a central image of an elk, which is a symbol of stability and strength and is taken directly from the family crest of the Partington family. The motto for Partington House is “Fidelity, Fortitude and Honor,” three attributes of Mr. Partington.
The House Cup is a major source of pride on the Academy campus and students and faculty compete diligently for it. Houses compete throughout the school year in a number of categories: athletic events such as House basketball, soccer, volleyball and SAC Day contests; spirited competitions in House Jeopardy!; and artistic endeavors, such as the annual House holiday decorating contest, which transforms our Commons with colorful representations of a variety of different holiday themes and traditions. All of these events bring the entire Upper School together, providing a safe, fun environment for enjoyable interaction and friendly competition.
Willard-Mundorf was the winner of the 2018 House Cup!
While events still play a large role in the overall House program, a number of other components have developed over the years, which have significantly enhanced the House experience for the Upper School. Inspired by our Service Learning initiative, community service is now a major year-end category, with Houses earning points for the number of documented hours served, as well as for the percentage of House members participating in a service endeavor. To encourage and acknowledge House enthusiasm, spirit points are awarded following every event. Combined with GPA and attendance categories, these non-event classifications have helped the House program become a larger part of everyday Upper School life.