The PaRK IS community is organised into Houses. We launched this concept in 2015 with a contest to decide on a theme for them, and “Explorers” was chosen, as it aligns perfectly with our learner profile – we teach all our students the skills to become curious, courageous, driven and resilient to achieve their best, both academically and personally – that is what it takes to conquer the world and to succeed!

Originally, four adventurous men were selected as the names for each House. Then, during the school year 2020-2021, we decided to ‘re-imagine’ our Houses and re-design the logos, as the 4 great explorers of the sea, land, air and universe needed a female counterpart. Hence, all students had a vote, and the new Houses were revealed at the end of the school year.

The House System promotes a sense of belonging across age groups and a degree of friendly competition between students. It provides opportunities for teachers and students to develop all aspects of their growth and learning: personality, morality, creativity, knowledge and soft skills. The activities organised around the Houses promote values of fair-play, teamwork, citizenship, mutual responsibility, self-discipline, initiative, perseverance and resilience. Finally, participation in these activities contributes to excellence in the academic, social, sporting and cultural fields.

Here are our four PaRK IS Houses: Hillary & Tabei, Cousteau & Andresen, Vasco da Gama & Mother Teresa, and Armstrong & Johnson. Every House carries the name of two great explorers of human history, one female and one male, each representing a type of exploration.

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Hillary & Tabei

Hillary & Tabei

The Hillary & Tabei House is named after Sir Edmund Percival Hillary, a mountaineer, explorer and philanthropist, and Junko Tabei, also a mountaineer, author, and teacher. Hillary was the first confirmed person to reach both Poles and the summit of Mount Everest; Tabei was the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest and the first woman to ascend the Seven Summits, climbing the highest peak on every continent. Tabei is a symbol for women’s empowerment and for challenging female stereotypes.

This House cherishes and explores the following traits:

· A resilient and driven mindset to succeed even in the most difficult situations, without giving up, challenge after challenge – after all, to reach the summit of the world’s highest peaks you need to endure extreme circumstances!

· A love of exploration, displaying a curious and courageous attitude.

· A generosity towards others, following Hillary and Tabei’s roles as a philanthropist and teacher.

Cousteau & Andresen

This House is named after Jacques-Yves Cousteau, a French Naval officer and explorer, and Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, a Portuguese poet and writer. Cousteau was a multidisciplinary innovator, a researcher and explorer, and was also interested in photography, film and writing. Andresen was a writer of numerous books and poems where the sea was a central theme. She has won several literary awards in Portugal and abroad.

This House cherishes and explores the following traits:

· Creativity and innovation, based on Cousteau’s ability to question the best practice to put forth his life’s research, and Sophia’s imaginative writings and worlds.

· Communication and reflection, displayed in their creative works, from poetry, photography, or film.

· Respect, collaboration and empathy, for valuing and promoting the protection of the environment and nature, especially the sea.

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Cousteau & Andresen
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Gama & Mo Teresa

Vasco da Gama & Mother Teresa

This House is named after Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach India by sea. By sailing the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, he overcame several challenges which allowed the creation of a sea route between the West and the East, bridging the gap between the two. It is also named after Mother Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu, an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary who founded the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, a congregation of women dedicated to helping the poor and helpless in India. Considered one of the 20th Century's greatest humanitarians, she won the Nobel Peace Prize and was canonized as Saint Teresa of Calcutta in 2016.

This House cherishes and explores the following traits:

· Communication, empathy and respect, based on their ability to adapt and build bridges between very different cultures and ways of life.

· Autonomy and great thinking abilities, displayed in their extraordinary capacity to do what so many others had failed to do before.

· Curiosity and resilience, based on their willingness to explore the unknown, and a drive to succeed in their mission.

Armstrong & Johnson

This House is named after Neil Armstrong, NASA’s first civilian astronaut to fly in space and the first astronaut to walk on the moon. Armstrong was perseverant, hardworking and fearless, having famously said: "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." This House is also named after Creola Katherine Johnson, an American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S.-crewed spaceflights. During her 35-year career at NASA, she earned a reputation for mastering complex manual calculations and helped pioneer the use of computers to perform the tasks.

This House cherishes and explores the following traits:

· A love of knowledge, based on Armstrong's career as a University Professor and Johnson’s as a mathematician. Later, they encouraged and inspired students to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

· Confidence, courage and ambition to go into space and walk on the moon for the first time, in Armstrong’s case, and Johnson’s barrier-breaking work as one of the first African-American women to work as a NASA scientist.

· A hardworking, autonomous and exploratory attitude based on Armstrong’s intense training and Johnson’s determination to have a graduate degree, becoming the only African-American female student to integrate the graduate school at the time.

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Armstrong & Johnson