Rooted in Community

The CDA Dallas House System
Living in the 6th century AD, St. Benedict of Nursia sought to lead a group of Christians through the collapse of the Roman Empire, desiring to preserve both his community and the Christian faith in the face of great cultural upheavals.

Our CDA Dallas House System is modeled after the communities formed by St. Benedict. In uncertain times not unlike our own, Benedict turned to Scripture and ancient Christian wisdom to guide his people towards a greater sense of stability and “rootedness” in God.

Reflected in our Four Pillars are the principles that have helped shape Christian communities for centuries as they have sought to live, work, and play together as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Discipleship is a life-long process. As Benedict did for his own communities, we view our communal life together in the CDA Dallas House system as a “workshop for the virtues” and a “school for the Lord’s service.” It is here in the House system that we first learn how to live and lead as Christians in an ever-changing world.


In keeping with our Benedictine influence for the CDA Dallas House system, our student and faculty leadership structure is modeled after St. Benedict’s model. This structure creates space for wise decisions to be made for the good of all who are involved, provides opportunities for student leadership positions throughout Rhetoric School, and ensures that all student voices are heard. Our House System is led by an Abbott, Priors, Officers, Oblates, and Novices.
  • The Abbott (Faculty) oversees the entire House System, serving as a first-among-peers in partnership with House Priors and House Officers.
  • The Priors (Faculty) are the appointed leaders of each specific House.
  • The Officers (students) serve in Primary leadership roles within their houses, work with Priors and the Abbott to run the House System year-to-year, and model servant-leadership to the Oblates and Novices. Officer Positions: President, Vice President
  • The Oblates (students) are those who serve in a Secondary leadership role within their houses, working to help a specific area of the House system in a given year. Oblate Positions: Treasurer, Chaplain, Secretary, Intramural Advisor, Academic Advisor
  • The Novices (students) are those students who participate in the House System but do not yet serve as Oblates or Officers. Even without a formal position, Novices model servant-leadership of their Houses by electing Oblates and Officers each year.

Pres. House of Lucia, Kate Wilson ’25

“The House system is new to CDA Dallas but we are loving being part of its early development on our campus.  It has  provided unique opportunities to build friendships between grades and to solidify our student  community.”

Pres. House of Tolkien, Madeiline Graves ‘ 24

“ House is a unique place for students to learn leadership, grow in friendships, and become a fun loving , inclusive community.  The House system provides an opportunity for students to grow in a safe place and get a taste of what it is like to work with varying personalities and skill sets. Students get a chance to use their talents, ideas and perspectives to create their own government system.  Above all, House develops maturity and dependence on Christ , who is the ultimate leader.  I count it as a privilege to be part of this system, as it shapes school culture and teaches me to love others well through service.”

Founded on Four Pillars

Four Pillars of the CDA Dallas House System
The CDA Dallas House system is built on the following four pillars. Each of these pillars guide our time together, our priorities, and our communal goals.
    • Labora/Work (Service, Craftsmanship, Artistry, Academic Excellence)
    • Ora/Pray (Spiritual Formation)
    • Requiem/Rest (Recreation, Joy, Play)
    • Duco/Lead (Student Governance, Servant-leadership)

House Structure

What does the House System look like each Friday?
Each week students are participating in a number of activities outlined below.
  • Requiem Days are set aside each quarter for leisure, fun, recreation, and rest. No points are earned on these days, and no work towards the House System is to be done.
  • Chapter Days are set aside each month for Houses to meet in their designated rooms while Priors, Officers, and Oblates conduct official House planning business with the help of all Novices.
  • Intramural Days are set aside each month in order for Athletic Competitions to take place. These can be one-time competitions, or multi-week tournaments.
  • Scholastic Days are set aside each quarter in order for Academic competitions to take place. These can be one-time competitions, or multi-week tournaments. Competitions may include Debates, Oratory (Speech) performances, Math/Science challenges, and more.
  • Artisan Days are set aside each semester in order for Artisan events to take place. These can be competitive or cooperative efforts where student musical, artistic, woodworking, or other artisan work is highlighted. (Something like an Annual Art Competition or a work day dedicated to constructing lockers for the Upper School).
  • Service Days are set aside each semester in order for large group service events to take place. Each House is responsible for planning one service day per school year. All Houses participate in the other House’s service days.
  • Feast Days are set aside throughout the year, coinciding with great Christian Holy Days, for students to gather together around "one table” to enjoy a meal and mark sacred moments in the Church and School Year.

House Of...


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