Oak Grove School - Review #1

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About the Author:

College Enrolled Lafayette College
Home Town, State (Country) Philadelphia, PA
Years Attended Boarding School 5
Activities During Boarding School Yoga, music, ceramics, community service and I was allowed to hold a job off campus at a local retirement community.

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Focus on the education of the whole student. Respect for individuality and personal expression. Non-competitive approach to sports and learning. Travel all over the southwest and the world. Coed, international, vegetarian family style boarding environment.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
Oddly enough, I have committed my career to serving Independent Schools at this point, perhaps not as a direct result of my OGS experience, but this is the sort of environment that best serves all of the types of students I am fortunate to be able to serve - rich, poor, all religious backgrounds, ethnically and racially diverse. The focus at each is always maximizing the gifts that each individual child brings to the table without judgment and with an open heart.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
Be prepared to be known more than you expect to be and be prepared to know others just as deeply. Be prepared most of all to learn more about yourself and your own abilities and limitations, and to appreciate a much larger world if you attend OGS.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The people. I am still in touch at some level with every single member of my class and most of my teachers from as far back as Group D (11 years old - equivalent of 7th grade).
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Besant House is as wonderful as you make it. So is the food. Love the support staff as much as your teachers and never miss an opportunity to get to know them and at least say hello. Take no one and no aspect of this unique and remarkable school for granted and you will be as satisfied as I have been in the end.

Academics:

1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Close relationships with our teachers and with one another were the hallmarks of the OGS experience. We worked exceptionally hard, but I don't think we had any idea just how well prepared we were for college level study. We were taught to think critically about every aspect of our studies, and to engage our faculty as intellectual equals in discussions. A certain fearlessness was cultivated in each of us academically and we became the very best sort of students at the undergraduate and graduate levels largely because of that early training of our most critical minds.

Athletics:

1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
At the time, the best thing about athletics was that everyone could participate and that we were non-competitive about our approach to sports. We were as likely to cheer or applaud an opposing teams good performance as we were our teammates'.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
Visual Arts, Music and Theatre participation were always governed by a sense of great passion for the pursuit of the art we were engaged with and striving for mastery in a particular area when possible. For example, if what you loved most in Ceramics was slab building, you were encouraged to pursue that particular aspect of your art as far as you could. If it was voice, similarly students were encouraged to sing as much as they could and develop that talent fully.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
Given the size of the school there were not a lot of specialized opportunities in this vein, but we were always encouraged to take seriously our individual roles in making the school itself what we thought it should be. Absent an actual Student Government, we all saw ourselves as responsible for the welfare of the school

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Coed living in Besant House was an awful lot like having numerous siblings of various races and backgrounds together. I loved the fact that we were never separated along the arbitrary line of sex - we were trusted enough to learn to live together and respect one another as we would family.

Dining:

1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Vegetarian! Buffet! Amazing Chefs making cuisine from cultures around the world. Breakfast was eaten at home, but lunch and dinner from the Main House was always an adventure.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Ojai is an amazing town to grow up in. Everything there is so leisurely and peaceful. Even the celebrities who lived there were at peace and able to wander the Arcade as freely as we were when we went to town.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Socially it was an awesome experience for its diversity. Not a lot of dating options in a class of 9, but my friends and their families were from all over the world and that became an important aspect of my life going forward without my realizing it. I was always at ease among people who didn't look like me or come from similar backgrounds, because no two of us were alike in that regard at OGS.

Daily Schedule:

Weekday
6:30 AMwake up
7:00 AMeat
8:00 AMschool
12:00 AMlunch
3:00 PMfree time and sports
6:00 PMdinner
9:00 PMown room time
10:00 PMlights out
Weekend
8:00 AMwake up
8:30 AMfree time, or town, or with friends, or travel
8:00 PMmovies at Besant
12:00 PMgo to bed
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