Following the tradition of schools in Australia and England, Harding’s House System provides an organizational structure that brings students from all different grades together. Each student is assigned to a “House” that integrates students from kindergarten through grade eight. Each house is comprised of about 50 students, with 4–5 students from each grade. Within the houses, students are assigned buddies with whom they participate in organized activities.
Houses are named after the Harding founders and others who have been significant to the school’s history. Each House has its own unique t-shirt that students may wear each Tuesday to show House spirit.
A buddy system of older and younger students paired together for both fun and academic activities creates role models and life long friends. Every kindergarten student is paired with a fourth and eighth grade buddy who have themselves been buddies since they were in kindergarten and fourth grade.
KINDERGARTEN BIRTHDAY BELL
The bell tower atop Harding’s kindergarten building is host to one of the most memorable traditions for children. On their birthday (or half birthday for children who do not have their special day fall during the school year) every kindergarten child rings the bell the number of times as their age. As it rings throughout campus and the neighborhood everyone knows that someone is turning 5, 6, or 7!
DOG TREAT FRIDAY
At Harding, every member of a student’s family is known and valued- even those with four legs. Dog Treat Friday is a weekly event where canine passengers riding along to drop their human off at school are handed a dog treat through the window in the car line.
The weekly assembly brings the entire school together to sing the alma mater, celebrate announcements about each other’s academic, athletic, and community achievements, and watch a wide variety of student and guest speaker performances. Each assembly is led by an eighth grade host who leads the 550+ person meeting.
Harding's outdoor classroom contains rows of bricks inscribed with the name and class year of each individual graduate. Every spring, the bricks of that year's graduating class are installed, enabling eighth graders to enjoy their brick every day until graduation. The graduation bricks remain an important campus destination for alums upon return visits to campus.
Each year Harding’s student council designates a week to celebrate school spirit. The week features creative themed dress days for middle school students and culminates in a football game that raises funds to support research for
The day before Harding’s graduation each year is perhaps the most touching ceremony to conclude a student’s time at Harding. In the rose ceremony each eighth grader and his or her buddy cross the theater to meet each other in the middle of the stage. Eighth graders are presented with a rose from their buddy as a symbolic gesture of the kindergartner carrying on the Harding traditions and community code even after their buddy has graduated.