Announcing New House Names that Reflect Our Shared Values

By Dr. Joe Chai, Assistant Principal of Student Affairs
This past weekend, we were delighted to unveil the new names for our six Houses. 

As part of our student life efforts here at Maranatha, we endeavor to have our young people adopt postures that are emblematic of our shared culture and values across every space they inhabit. One of the ways we try and accomplish this is through our House program. For the last four years, a critical part of the Maranatha experience was that our students were sorted into one of six houses where they engaged in community building, friendly competitions, and service projects with other students across every grade of high school who comprised their House. Consider with me for a moment just how compelling the underlying principle of this program is: See, our natural inclination is to associate strictly with others in our grade, or others who look or sound or think like us, and it’s so easy to simply settle down into our tribes and insist that we remain there. Instead, we are intentionally curating opportunities through our House program where our young people actively rehearse these postures of caring for others younger than them, gleaning from the wisdom and expertise of those older than them, and working collaboratively with everyone to foster community, serve the world, and just plain have some fun. 

As aforementioned, our House program is reaching the end of its fourth year, and we have strong aspirations to continue growing our Houses so that they might become a robust and perennial feature of our student life efforts. One of the ways that we hoped to accomplish this was to think carefully about the names of our Houses and the virtues that they should represent. After all, if our House program was indeed designed to help instill and cultivate in our young people our shared values, then surely our Houses ought to be named after exemplars of fully realized visions of the Maranatha man or woman, people that we could point current and future Minutemen to and say, “This! This person represented Maranatha and the Kingdom of God well! This is who you ought to emulate!” 

To that end, over the last year, we assembled a committee of administrators, faculty, staff, and alumni who helped advise on who our House namesakes should be. It was a laborious effort, which is a good problem to have: there were so many deserving men and women throughout Maranatha’s history who loved Jesus and loved our students, thereby contributing richly to this place. Nevertheless, it was altogether a deeply encouraging exercise to hear all these amazing stories of the incredible legacies left behind by the forebears who helped prepare a sturdy foundation for us. We are pleased to announce our new House namesakes moving forward.

The first of our six Houses will hereafter be named The Rouse House in honor of Mr. and Mrs. John and Kay Rouse. The Rouse House will celebrate the chief virtue of ENDURANCE, a fitting remembrance for two individuals who faithfully completed the longest tenure of any faculty or staff member in Maranatha’s history. Mr. and Mrs. Rouse’s influence is felt across virtually every corner of the school, including the visual arts and social studies classrooms, the cross country fields, the Admissions office, the Principal’s office, and especially the Head of School’s office. 

Next, the second of our six Houses will hereafter be named The Zambrano House in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Joe and Jen Zambrano. House Zambrano will celebrate the chief virtue of COURAGE, an appropriate tribute to Joe and Jen who served Maranatha for 14 years in a myriad of ways, including teaching History, coaching Cross Country and Swim, guiding numerous missions trips, and leading the legendary Adventure Club. This Adventure Club in particular inspired students to challenge themselves in things like free diving, spear fishing, rafting, and the like, and in the process, our students developed their own bravery and courage. 

The third of our six Houses will hereafter be named The Harrison House in honor of Mrs. Cleonie Harrison. House Harrison celebrates the chief virtue of FAITH, and those of us who know Cleonie should be nodding their heads vigorously in agreement right now. Mrs. Harrison served Maranatha for 14 years as a Spanish teacher, department chair, and service trips coordinator. She was an avid fan of our chapel program, and loved every opportunity she had to stand before the student body and share God’s word with them. Above all, Cleonie was and remains a prayer warrior, and the Maranatha campus felt the deep impact of her consistent and passionate prayers before the Lord. 

The fourth of our six Houses will hereafter be named The Cuxil House in honor of the late Mr. Juan Cuxil. House Cuxil will be celebrating the chief virtue of ZEAL as a tribute to this namesake's breathtaking passion for Christ and for young people. Mr. Cuxil (known affectionately as “Señor) served Maranatha for 24 years. Among his many, many accomplishments, Señor is credited with starting the inaugural soccer program here at Maranatha and even earning the coveted CIF Coach of the Year award. Towards the end of his life, Mr. Cuxil battled bravely with cancer, but he never wavered in the very thing that he was most passionate about. Mr. Cuxil above all else wanted students to fully know and follow after Jesus, and he made that his top priority in the final years of his life. 

The fifth of our six Houses will hereafter be named The Barnhart House in honor of Ms. Diane Barnhart. House Barnhart celebrates the chief virtue of BEAUTY, and how fitting that tribute is. Practically a Maranatha institution all by herself, Ms. Barnhart is credited with instilling several generations of Maranatha students a deep and abiding joy for the arts and all things beautiful. A number of her students have even gone on to enjoy incredibly successful careers as artists as well. 

And finally, the last of our six Houses will hereafter be named The Newkirk House in honor of Mr. Ed Newkirk who served Maranatha for 38 years. His many roles included Theology and Science chair; ASB Advisor; and coach for several sports ranging from Basketball, Softball, Track, and Swim. He was a key part of the team that helped Maranatha turn a corner to become a strong academically-minded school, and to help realize a vision that being Christ-centered and college-preparatory were not mutually exclusive outcomes. Just as importantly, there are so many stories of Maranatha students, particularly Maranatha student-athletes, who encountered in Mr. Newkirk a vivid picture of what grace looks like: a man who insists on high expectations, freely dispenses grace when you fail and fall, and compassionately walks alongside you as you become the very best version of yourself. It should come as no surprise to anyone that the chief virtue for House Newkirk is GRACE. 

GRACE. BEAUTY. ZEAL. FAITH. COURAGE. ENDURANCE. These are the very ingredients that comprise a portrait of Maranatha excellence. Our new House namesakes have been incredibly faithful laborers who helped advance God’s kingdom and Maranatha’s mission during their years here at the school and are worthy of our honor and esteem. 

We are delighted that each of the namesakes, including the family of the late Señor Cuxil, were able to join us this past weekend for the community announcements. We took the opportunity to film them sharing their reflections on what makes Maranatha so unique and special. We invite you to watch their conversation -  CLICK HERE