Month: June 2014

Balancing Work with Play

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This Monday, I was very happy to welcome students back to campus for the start of our summer session. It gets pretty quiet here between sessions and since OHA’s best feature is “who” we are, it is more difficult to give the kind of admission tours I like without our students on campus.

Our summer session involves at least 5 classroom hours a day, six days a week for 5 weeks. We understand that this academic intensity can be something of a grind for our students. So each school day also features afternoon recreation and trips that take advantage of our beautiful surroundings in the Blue Ridge of the Appalachian Mountains. Canoeing, hiking, and swimming play a big part in what students remember about summers here. Attending the summer session is a golden opportunity to make significant strides in grade improvement, and is a great way for new students to begin their Oak Hill experience.


This balance between work and play continues during the regular school year as well. Here are a few examples:


  • Advisee Groups. Each of our faculty members has a small group of student advisees with whom they set and achieve a variety of goals. The faculty members provide another touchstone for parents, and, in general, serve as mentors for their advisees. They also take their groups on outings such as bowling, fast food trips, nail trips, movies, etc., as well as outings to perform community service.
  • “Warrior Weekends.” These special weekends (at least 3 spaced throughout the year) generate a lot of buzz among our students. They quickly learn to look forward to these occasions, wherein our faculty and staff plan a menu of small group activities and outings, as well as campus-wide special socials. Students can sign up for 3 or 4 events throughout the weekend, such as attending plays, concerts, and professional and college sporting events; going to nail salons, renaissance fairs, zoos, special restaurants; participating in activities like cooking, fishing, skiing, and snowboarding, to name a few.


  • On-campus Opportunities. Of course, students do not have to leave campus for entertaining and enriching things to do. Our schedule is full of things like horseback trail rides, paintball fun, intramural sports tournaments, movies, karaoke, youth group and club meetings.

What I want to highlight here is our commitment to providing a healthy balance for our students. They will be pushed (and will push themselves) academically, but they wll also grow through great social and recreational interaction–making lots of friends and memories along the way.