Similar to many traditional English schools, all students are placed in one of four houses: House of the Raven, House of the Shell, House of the Green, House of the Water. Each House is derived from the shield on the school's coat of arms and features a particular virtue as its motto. The houses cultivate camaraderie, leadership, and a healthy rivalry among the boys. They serve as the families within the larger family-like community of Western Academy. The student's placement in a House is permanent and siblings will automatically be placed in the same House. Student leadership is orchestrated through the Houses. Throughout the year the Houses compete; competitions include chess tournaments, academic projects, poetry competitions, athletic events, etc. The primary days of competition are festival days — days designed to help students have a sense of season and to truly celebrate a feast: they know the reason for the feast — the feast's gift — and can naturally rejoice in receiving the gift.