The challenge and merit system (CMS) is the main way of recognizing students for extracurricular activities at the Grey School of Wizardry (GSW). (Granted, it also occasionally recognizes them for schoolwork, but for the most part it recognizes nonacademic activities both in and out of the Grey School.) In this way, the CMS and the Dean’s List (DL) are the two sides of how we recognize the nonacademic and academic achievement of GSW students. While academics are first and foremost at the GSW, we recognize that non-academic activities are part of creating a well-rounded student. Hence, the CMS.
In recognition of personal achievement and participation, the Grey School offers a system of merits. Students may earn merits for their House or Lodge through meritorious activity. Faculty members, Captains, and Prefects may award merits to students.
The Heads have assembled a general list of activities which may earn merits, complete with a suggestion of how many to award.
List of Common Merits
Personal Growth Merits
1-2M: Demonstrating acts of character, conscience, or ethics in a challenging situation [Actions performed must be significant and worthy. As an example, helping someone across the street or carrying groceries wouldn’t qualify. Standing up for someone in a difficult situation or engaging in a long-term campaign of some sort would. May only be awarded by a member of GSW staff, faculty, or admin. Proof required, ideally via witness.]
1-2 M: Mentoring another student. [Must involve a significant action, e.g., sustained work, rather than a single episode. May only be earned once per “term” (equinox-solstice or solstice-equinox).]
1-2M: Assisting a fellow student, staff, or faculty member in a manner that exceeds expectations. [May only be awarded by a faculty member and only for something really significant. As an example, this award could be given to students who help in Magick Alley. May only be given once per term.]
1-2M: Sharing magickal work or experience with one’s friends or family. [This must be a significant event requiring in-depth planning, at least a couple of hours worth of activity, and learning. It requires both preapproval and a summary report. May only be awarded by Head, and only once per term.]
2M: (Youths Only) Passing a Red Cross First Aid, CPR, swimming or lifesaving course, achieving a rank or relevant merit badge in a youth group (Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, etc.), or passing a martial arts rank. [Proof is required and the recipient must make a forum post explaining what he or she did.]
Creative Growth Merits
1M: Submitting any creative work to a magickal market. [Requires proof of submission.]
1-3M: Creating a magickal tool. [Requires a 100 word report and at least one image. Use 1 merit for simple, quick tasks and 2-3 for more complex works, e.g., a “from scratch” wand or stave. May not be given for work done as part of a GSW class.]
1-3M: Creating a piece of magickal garb. [Requires a 100 word report and at least one image. Use 1 merit for simple, quick tasks (e.g., making and consecrating a cingulum) and 2-3 for more complex works (e.g., a “from scratch” cloak). May not be given for work done as part of a GSW class.]
1-2M: Establishing a Website, blog, wiki, online journal, or other site on one or more magickal topic(s) [Must be maintained for two months or more. Requires a 100 word forum report and a public link to the site. Merits vary according to complexity and rigor of the site. Youth students must have parental permission.]
1-2M: Having a piece published in Whispering Grey Matters [Only applies to non-WGM staff. Award 1 merit for a short piece and 2 for a full-page. Piece must actually appear in WGM to qualify.]
2M: Having any piece of creative or magickal work published in a magickal market, not for pay. [Proof of publication required. Work must focus on some aspect of magick or wizardry.]
1-3M: Creating a large magick-based project, such as a labyrinth, medicine wheel, magickal garden, etc. [Requires detailed report and photo proof. Merits vary according to complexity. Requires reporting as mentioned.]
2M: Having any piece of creative or magickal work published in a magickal market, for pay. [Proof of publication required. Work must focus on some aspect of magick or wizardry. Additional 1-2 merits may be awarded for book-length work.]
Educational Growth Merits
1M: Scoring 100% on a final exam or equivalent. [This will be the only “academic merit” that we keep—the students really seem to like it and want to retain it.]
1M: Reading a magickal book. [Must be new to the reader. Requires a 100 word report, posted on House forum. Fiction or nonfiction are allowed, but book must have magickal or wizardly significance. Youths may earn this 3x/term.]
1-2M: [Youths only] Earning extracurricular awards of merit and bringing honor to the Lodge; e.g., making the Honor Roll in mundane school, success in sports, other personal sacred or secular honors. [May be awarded only by Head. Proof required. Maybe be earned only once per term per “subject” (i.e., once for sports, once for honor roll, etc.).]
5M: Completing a high school diploma or GED. [Available to youths and adults. Must be completed during the student’s period of membership in the GSW.]
1M: [Youths only] Composing a brief, independent (i.e., not required) essay or article of a magickal nature, telling about a magickal insight, etc. [Must be at least 250 words and posted on House/Lodge forum.]
1M: Helping to plan/host a magickal ritual. [Requires a 100 word report and evidence of resulting magickal growth. May be earned coincident with participating in the same ritual.]
1M: Participating in a magickal ritual in cyberspace. [Requires a 100 word report.]
2M: Participating in a magickal group ritual in real-space. [Requires a 100 word report. Personal ritual may be allowed if pre-approved by Head and if the ritual is “special,” i.e., not a routine daily practice.]
1-2M: Visiting a sacred site (historical or contemporary) within one's home state [Requires a 100 word report and at least one photo.]
1-2M: Attending a magickal class, program, or workshop outside of regular GSW classes. [Requires a 100 word summary for each class attended.]
2M: Presenting a magickal class, program, workshop, or magickal ritual in real space. [Complete ritual or class/outline must be presented as proof. May not be earned at the same time as merits for participating or assisting in a ritual.]
2M: [Youths only] Maintaining one month of daily magickal practices. [Plan should be pre-approved by Head. Practices must be carried out at least six days out of each week. Requires a daily journal/log and a final summary report.]
2M: [Youths only] Attending a magickal festival (e.g., Starwood), Pagan Pride Day, Ren Faire, or other major magickal event. [Requires a 100 word report. Limit of 1 award per term.]
2M: [Youths only] Completing a course (in mundane school) with strong magickal relevance, such as Mythology, Latin, Folklore, with a C or better. Requires a 100 word forum report. One award per term.]
2M: [Youths only] Spending one month in a course of magickal study or discipline outside of the GSW. [Plan must be preapproved by Head. Requires a 100 word report and verification from the teacher or mentor. Limit to 1 award per term.]
3M: Completing a magickal certification or credentialing, e.g., a level of initiation, a Reiki attunement, etc. [Plan must be pre-approved by Head. Requires a 250 word report and verification from the teacher or mentor. Cannot be earned during the same term that merits are earned for Spending ___ month(s) in a course of magickal study or discipline.]
3-4M: Traveling out-of-state to visit a sacred site [Requires a 100 word report and at least one photo. Limit to 2 awards per term when part of a single trip.]
5M: Traveling out-of-country to visit a sacred site. [Requires a 100 word report and at least one image. Limit to 3 awards per term when part of a single trip.]
Grey School Participation
1M: Show House spirit. [May be given for activity, accomplishment, or attitude. May only be given by the Head of that group—not Prefect or Captains. Head must provide an explanation of why the award was given.]
1M: Recruit a student for the Grey School [Student must actually enroll, pay tuition, and enter the school.]
1M: Serve (in any position) on Grey Matters staff for one three-month paper cycle. [Service must be active. May only be awarded by a WGM faculty advisor.]
1M: Serve as club president for one term. [Service must be active and consistent. May only be awarded by the club advisor.]
2M: Develop, lead, and successfully complete House project involving at least 2 other members. [Award is contingent on the Head’s pre-approval and on actual documentation and evidence re: what was done. Project cannot be the same one completed for Lumos or another regular GSW activity.]
2M: Assist Grey School teachers, House Heads, Guest Instructors, or Head Master/Mistress in a school-wide task or project. [Task must be specifically defined and significant. A report must be made.]
2M: Serve a significant role in planning or carrying out an in person Grey School gathering. [One award may be received per event. This award does not apply to Conclaves.]
2M: Participate in an in-person Grey School “day” gathering (e.g., a Pagan Pride day). [The gathering may take place within or outside of one’s home area; the award is the same. Gathering must be for at least ½ day and requires an on-forum report, explaining what was learned, etc.]
1M: In-person meeting of other Grey School folks who you don’t see as part of your regular daily life. [Requires a forum report and confirmation. Must be awarded by Head.]
1-2M: Participating in an activist campaign relevant to magical concerns, depending on contribution. [Requires 100 word report and verification from a member of the campaign.]
1-2M: Participating in a service project devoted to the earth/environment. [Service should be significant and include at least 4 hours of activity. Requires 100 word report and verification. Service may not be the same tasks/events used for GSW classes, the Earth Day Challenge, or any GSW award—the activity must be independent and conducted for its own sake.]
2M: Participating in a religious or other festival belonging to another culture. [Requires 100 word report.]
2M: Helping to organize a magickal festival or other major event. [Requires 100 word report.]
2M: Creating a magickally-oriented video of 5 minutes or longer, and either presenting to a group or uploading to the Internet. [Requires 100 word report and access to the presentation. Youth students must have parental permission.]
List of Conclave Merits
Conclave Merits Policy
The following is the list of available Conclave Merits, as finalized by the Heads group in March-April 2009.
1) The following are the only merits that may be issued for Conclave participation. They should be used with discretion-- the idea of the revised merits program is to use merits to award significant personal growth, while avoiding the award or vast piles of merits. (Quality-- not quantity.)
2) GSW members who attend 2 or more Conclaves in a calendar year will qualify for merits for each event.
3) Conclave merits should be awarded after the Conclave ends. Awards are made by the Wizard in Charge or a WiC-designated GSW staff or faculty member who was also at Conclave.
4) Questions about this process may be posted here or emailed to the Dean of Students.
List of Conclave Merits 1) The Conclave Merits list will reside in the Conclave Handbook-- this is given out to Conclave planners, who could issue merits for the event. Having the merits codified makes them easy to award, while also avoiding over-awarding.
2) The list will also be posted in the General Handbook for everyone's info.
3) GSW members who attend 2 or more Conclaves in a calendar year will qualify for merits for each event.
4) WiC = Wizard in Charge, the GSW staff or faculty member in charge of Conclave.
1M: Participate in a magickal group ritual at Conclave. [Requires approval of WiC. Limit of 2 awards per Conclave.]
1M: Attend a magickal class or workshop at Conclave. [Limit of 5 awards per Conclave. May be earned on single or multiple days.]
1-2M: Help to organize a Conclave. [1 merit for a simple position; 2 merits for a main organizer or Wizard in Charge. Requires approval of WiC.]
2M: Plan or co-plan a Conclave ritual. [outline must be presented to WiC or Conclave organizer in advance. Limit of 1 award per Conclave. Planner may not also earn merits for participating in the ritual.]
2M: Present a magickal class or workshop at Conclave. [Class/outline must be presented to WiC or Conclave organizer in advance. Instructor may not also earn merits for attending the class. Limit of two awards per Conclave.]
3M: Participate in an in-person Grey School “overnight” gathering in one’s own state (e.g., a Conclave). [This is a onetime (rather than a “per day”) award. Gathering must involve an overnight stay and requires an on-forum report after the event.]
4M: Participate in an in-person Grey School “overnight” gathering in another state (e.g., a Conclave). [This is a one time (rather than a “per day”) award. Gathering must involve an overnight stay and requires an on-forum report after the event.]
5M: Participate in an in-person Grey School gathering in another country (e.g., a Conclave). [This is a one-time (rather than a “per day”) award. Gathering must involve an overnight stay and requires an on-forum report after the event.]
Using this formula, a participant who served on a Conclave committee, attended a ritual, went to four classes, and stayed for two nights at a Conclave in her own state would earn 9 merits.
A participant who came from out of state, served in a key planning role, planned one ritual, attended a second ritual, taught two classes, attended five other classes, and spent one night would earn 18 merits.
Types of Challenges
These are earned by a student who completes a task from the “List of Common Merits.” (See appendices.) There are also regular House/Lodge challenges. These are posted on the House/Lodge forum or site by Heads or Prefects. Topics vary widely. Heads are asked to post no more than 4 challenges (or 4 “merits worth” of challenges) each month for their House or Lodge.
The Prefect may post some or all of these. Most challenges should be worth 1 merit; every now and then, a more difficult challenge may be worth more. When possible, merits should focus on students reflecting on and reporting their own experiences, rather than simply looking up and regurgitating information.
These are department specific challenges, posted to the entire student body by the Dean of each department or their designee. A rotating system of All-School departmental challenges has been established by the Dean of Faculty to ensure that departments post challenges on a regular basis. The schedule is posted on the forums in Great Hall > School Spirit > All-School Challenges - here .
Merit value for each challenge should be in the 1-2 range. Note: Deans may delegate the task to a teacher or teacher’s assistant within their department. Deans may post additional challenges (above and beyond the above schedule) if they wish to; however this is not required.
These are individual challenges posted by any faculty member or a Captain. They may be posted to the all school challenge (or Captain’s) forum. Faculty and Captains may post these, but should not post too frequently (once or twice a month is probably reasonable). These challenges should be posted on the Great Hall forum and should not be large; value should not exceed 1-2 merits per challenge. These may be “flash challenges” (as soon as one person answers them, they end) or — and this is preferred — they may be answerable by any number of students, usually ending on a specific time and date.
Club or group challenges.
These are similar to House/Lodge challenges in that they are posted to the members of a club or group—such as the DADA club or the newspaper staff—by their faculty advisors or their officers. Merit value for each challenge should be in the 1-2 range. Ideally, only a few of these challenges should be posted, probably no more than one or two each month. In particular, it isn’t the purpose of clubs to focus on merits, so challenges in clubs should be infrequent.
These are team challenges posted by any faculty member or a Captain. The best example is the annual Earth Day Challenge, which runs in March-April. Mega-challenges are large in scope and time-consuming, and will only happen a few times/year and typically in conjunction with an event or theme. They will be posted to the all-school challenge forum. Team challenges operate within a specific time frame. All mega challenges must be pre-approved by the Dean of Students. As a guideline, merit value should not generally exceed 10 merits for each team member. All details of the challenge—tasks, start and stop dates, scoring system, etc.—must be explained when the challenge is approved and must be posted along with the challenge.
Individual merit awards exceeding 20 merits may not be posted within 2 weeks prior to the fall or spring equinox. This also implies that a large award can't be divided into and posted as several smaller awards. Similarly, no GSW students should have their student membership revoked during that time, as this artificially inflates overall House or Lodge standings. As part of this policy, faculty, Captains, and Prefects are also reminded to always post merit awards immediately after they are earned, rather than saving them for a later mass posting.
Please contact the Dean of Students if you have questions about this policy.