Month: July 2014
Graduation day always amazes me here at Oak Hill Academy. Living together in a boarding school environment, particulary a small one like our school, means that we become so familiar that we can take for granted how strong the bonds are that we are forming. Graduation day brings that into focus, and to a smaller degree, the end of any school term highlights how close we’ve become both as a staff and student body.
On July 25, I had the pleasure of seeing two of our veteran students be acknowledged in a small graduation ceremony in front of their peers who attended our summer session. What stands out is that many of the heartfelt well wishes and hugs came from students new to our school, for whom the summer session was their first term at Oak Hill Academy. These kids hadn’t known each other five and a half weeks earlier. It still amazes me how quickly students find their place in our community and among their peers and form relationships. This is a special place and graduation day reminds me of that every time, even if it was a small ceremony at the end of our summer session.
My best wishes and congratulations to two of the best of Oak Hill Academy as they enter the next phase of their lives: Min Yeol as he returns to Korea for compulsory military service before going on to college and Kimy as he begins a soccer career at Iona College in New York. You’re both leaving your mark on Oak Hill Academy and I know you’re taking a part of Oak Hill with you!
I’m often contacted by parents who are looking for a transformative experience for their children. They are attracted by Oak Hill Academy’s structured and supportive environment and, on a social level, many are looking for new setting. During tours with prospective students, I often emphasize that many students find enrollment at Oak Hill Academy as an opportunity to redefine themselves. I’m then asked how we do it.
Here, I’d like to address that question with a couple of examples.
- Routine and good study habits: Our students are very busy with extra-curricular activities after school, there is a healthy amount of social time, and they have a lot of athletic and artistic opportunities. However busy our students are, they get good at turning off the “busyness” of the day and taking care of business in nightly study hall from 8:30pm- 10:30pm. This builds very good habits and academic stamina. They have a lot of expectations placed on them in the classroom, but they have the time built into their daily schedule to meet them. For many students, this is a simple, but powerful new habit.
- Spirituality: By starting our day in homeroom in prayer and short devotions, students are encouraged to consider this aspect of their daily lives. Our church attendance each Sunday is also a memorable part of their Oak Hill experience.
- Socially: Our student body is very close-knit and there is a sense of belonging that each student feels as part of a small community. It is a great place to try new things, develop new interests and build strong interpersonal skills and relationships.
Recently, our leadership group on campus did an exercise to identify “4 pillars” of an Oak Hill experience. Transformation was seen by our students as a hallmark of their time here. I would look forward to discussing your student and exploring, with you, the many more ways our students grow. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.