Month: December 2013
Several years ago, we began hosting a student each year from Ricks Institute in Liberia, Africa. The experience has been beneficial for our school community and for the students from Ricks who have spent a year on “The Hill.” Our relationship with our sister school has also grown through bi-annual visits from Ricks’ Head of School, Dr. Olu Menjay, who shares his inspirational and positive messages with the students of Oak Hill Academy. We are happy to work with Ricks Institute as its staff and students persevere, rebuild and grow while their country recovers from several years of civil war. I sat down with Dr. Menjay on his recent visit to talk about our partnership and common goals:
While communicating with prospective students, I am frequently asked about our policies. Many students seem to focus on three areas: our cell phone policy; participation in sports; and getting extra academic help. I thought it would be helpful to share my responses with you in this forum.
Cell phone policy: Our students are required, while they are on campus, to turn their cell phones in to the Resident Life Directors. Cell phones may be checked out and used on many of our frequently offered off-campus trips. We do have scheduled “cell phone Sundays” when students have access to their phones (provided they are in good standing academically, etc.) on selected Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. For the most part, you can understand this to mean that while you are on campus on a day-to-day basis, you will not have access to your cell phone. Students communicate with friends and family mainly through the dorm phone and email (you have a laptop as a student here with email capability but no social media access). We also make Skype available by appointment. This may appear to be a somewhat strict set of rules, but we have found that it really helps our students stay focused and develop really close relationships with their peers on campus; and it really cuts down on drama!
Participation in sports is not mandatory here. We have a ton of non-sports activities (ski trips, paintball, equestrian, music, theatre, chorus, leadership group, youth group, community service opportunities, etc.) that keep our students active even if they do not play on a sports team. There is a fitness culture on campus, with many students (boys and girls) taking advantage of available fitness equipment and our track area. Our running club has become popular and this club “morphs” into a track team in the spring, competing in a few local tracks meets each season. These are a few of the ways our students combine socializing and fitness.
Personal academic attention might just be what we do best! Our teachers are available every day after school in what we call “8th period” for extra help, help with homework, or simply for a check-in to see how you are doing or what we can help to improve. If we identify a particular challenge with study skills, like note taking, reading, etc., and it is affecting your overall grades, we also have a program called “Resource Room,” an afterschool study hall to help students stay organized and on top of things. Specific subject help is available during the 8th period, and through tutorials offered every day. Most of our faculty live on campus with their families, so we are not “running to the parking lot” after school. You get a lot of extra help here.