Red Deer Public School District

The Power of H changes the culture at Hunting Hills

Home, Honour, Health, Hope and Heart - what do those words mean to you?

To staff and students at Hunting Hills High School, they are words to live by.

Last fall, staff and students at Hunting Hills High School implemented a school theme - The Power of H - which encompasses the philosophy of the school.

HOPE - Have a goal and strive towards it with a positive attitude.

HONOUR - To respect oneself and others and act with dignity, integrity and pride in our actions.

HEALTH - Be healthy mentally and physically and to be in an environment that makes one feel comfortable.

HEART - To show compassion, empathy and care towards yourself and others in all that one does.

HOME - A place where you feel safe, comfortable and welcome.

Those words and definitions were the result of students and staff collaborating ideas of what they wanted the school’s identity to look like.

“We took the words that our staff had generated and we went to our Grade 9 leadership, as they are the beginning group in the school. They took the words and they brainstormed and came up with huge lists of what they thought it meant,” said Christine Chappell, Vice Principal at Hunting Hills High School. “Those definitions were posted all over our gathering area for everyone in the school to see and comment on.”

Since the staff and students have embraced The Power of H, the culture of the school has changed.

“We’ve had people come through our building, people who have come to our building for years and they comment about the different feel now compared to the past.” said Darwin Roscoe, Principal at Hunting Hills High School. “Our goal is for the kids to feel less stressed.  It’s about reducing the competitive environment and looking more at citizenship.  We want students to have the ability to voice their concerns if they have concerns. I have been here for three years and for the first time we have students coming to the office asking to do different clubs or events. They are helping shape the school.”

Trevor Pikkert, Vice Principal at Hunting Hills, said students are focusing on a bigger picture as a result of The Power of H, which in turn is helping with their success.

“If you focus on the result, such as doing well on a test, anxiety goes up and results go down. If you are constantly focused on academics and that you have to do well on assignments and exams, you may actually do worse. If you focus on being healthy, getting enough sleep, dealing with and coping with stress - it will lead to better results. It’s the process that leads to better results, not just focusing on results. The kids are owning it. It’s part of their identity and culture.”

In addition to The Power of H being part of the school’s identity, students and staff can also be nominated for The Power of H Awards. “The recipient will be presented with an award and it will be specific to an H word,” said Pikkert.

Students receive a certificate as well as a lanyard branded with The Power of H. They can also  use branded sticky notes to encourage others when they see students act out a word.

“We’re really seeing the students embrace the concept,” said Roscoe. “Students will leave encouraging messages for others using the sticky notes. It’s a neat thing to see.”

As students move forward, Roscoe said staff hope they will carry the Power of H with them.

“Our hope is that 10 years from now, they are still thinking about the words and what they mean. They still live their life by them. When they leave this building, we want them to be impacted for life,” he said. “These students are the people who are going to run our society and while academics remains important, we want honourable people, we want people with heart - it’s bigger than a school. It’s about society and where we want our world to be. It’s about developing character with our kids.”