Oakdale Christian Academy - Review #5
About the Author:
|College Enrolled||Greenville College|
|Home Town, State||Rockville, MD|
|Years Attended Boarding School||2|
|Activities During Boarding School||Statistician for the Basketball team. Sang in choir and traveling quartet. Spanish club. Photography/Darkroom.|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Oakdale's quality staff, challenging academics, Christian discipleship and work skills program each combine to make a well-rounded experience for students. The rural campus brings isolation to the school that is a positive trait -- limiting access to many of the less desired aspects of our society (drugs, alcohol, tobacco, etc.). The small student body (around 50) results in long-lasting, personal relationships between and among students and staff.For the first time in my life I was forced to face academic, spiritual and social challenges in an environment that could not be duped by half-hearted attempts at quality and sincerity. The small group of dedicated adults nurtured my growth at a key stage in my development. The lack of urban (or suburban) distractions coupled with the opportunities for Christian discipleship prevented my slide into un-healthy lifestyle choices. Oakdale gave me the time and incentive to meet a higher level of expectations that resulted in a successful college experience and fulfilling career.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
Due to the influence of Oakdale, I am a more tolerant person, maintain higher standards, practice good character, live a moral life, all good things. But most of all I grew spiritually, learned what it meant to walk with the Lord and was baptized into the faith (in the frigid waters of the Red River early on Easter morning of 1980).
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
As trite as it may sound, I regret never having taken a typing/keyboarding class. I wish I could have started in ninth grade, instead of as a sophomore.The rules are probably stricter than what your parents have when you live at home. But since all students are measured by the same standards, it is easier to live within the expectations. When you are older you will realize how important these boundaries were. Take a weekend and visit the campus. Talk to the students; no one is forced to attend or remain enrolled; which really makes for a cooperative campus.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The small size and caring staff. Life-long friends. My high-school roommate served as my best man and I as his. Even after twenty years, we visit each other’s family (250 miles apart) a few times a year.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Don't give up too soon. Everyone has to make adjustments to a new place. Change is hard. Over the years I have talked with several kids who "dropped out" of Oakdale. For each of them, without exception, they said it was the biggest mistake of their life.Homesickness is real. You can be lonely in a group of laughing people. But friendships take time to grow -- don't give up too soon.Sometime while on campus make arrangements to be at the peak of the hill on the north side of campus at sunrise. The view is awesome.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Some of my friends’ parents called the Oakdale staff miracle workers. Academic standards are high; but admission requirements are not. This means that an incoming student not performing at their potential has much work to get caught up. Oakdale is proven over and over again that the staff work along side of students to help them catch-up and surpass their grade level. Personally, I was able to graduate from high school a full year early due to the challenges offered by the academics of Oakdale.The school is small enough that anyone with any interest in a sport can nearly be assured a spot on the team. Even the weakest players are given opportunities to participate and grow into leadership positions. While the school’s athletics may not be competitive at the level of the local public schools; they are certainly inclusive, rigorous and fun.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The school is small enough that anyone with any interest in a sport can nearly be assured a spot on the team. Even the weakest players are given opportunities to participate and grow into leadership positions. While the school’s athletics may not be competitive at the level of the local public schools; they are certainly inclusive, rigorous and fun.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
Choral music, vocal ensemble, instrumental and contemporary performance opportunities are all encouraged at Oakdale. Drama is studied at several grade levels and performed in chapel or at the campus church by small groups, including puppetry. The senior play is a highlight of the spring. Appalachian crafts are interwoven into the curriculum as appropriate; the annual Honey Festival in Jackson and Wooly-Worm Festival in Beattyville expose students to the artistic heritage of the mountain people. My favorite would have been the guy's quartet.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
I was involved in Bible Quizzing. This is a national competition, using the Bible as the source material, testing for knowledge, quick recall and memorization. Both years that I attended Oakdale we were able to go to the national finals; placing third nationally during my junior year. I was in choir and a traveling music group, did some photography and darkroom work and won the county science fair in 1981. Other activities offered included: student council, intramurals, speech competition, puppets, cheerleading, softball, basketball, volleyball, and others I cannot remember.One of the outstanding opportunities offered by Oakdale is the chance to serve in leadership roles. Each class elects their own officers as well as the school-wide student council. With fewer than fifty students many young people are groomed for future leadership positions while serving in offices that they might never obtain in a larger school.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Now there are several dorms on campus; when I attended there were only two: the Boys and the Girls. Significant improvements have been made since I was there in the quality of the rooms and the accessories. Spacious lounges, laundry facilities and kitchen/kitchenette facilities are in each dorm. Being nestled in a rural area the campus is quite safe, but security precautions are taken, nonetheless. Each dorm is headed by a set of dorm parents, supplemented by an assistant that covers some weekends/days off. Since all of the staff and faculty live on campus, it is not unusual to have students in staff homes, or to see faculty in the dorms. In many respects the dorms reflect a large family. My most positive recollections of dorm life were the various guys who were my roommates over the two years I attended. I correspond regularly with many of them; and one particularly has become a life-long friend. We visit each others families a few times a year.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Lunch and supper are served in the Dining Hall daily. Most meals are casual, cafeteria/buffet style; with occasional semi-formal or formal dinners or banquets. The food is above average, comparable with a nice family style restaurant. Staff are requested to eat with the students and most attend all meals. Kitchen/clean-up duty is rotated among the students with staff and/or student leadership supervision. Breakfast is normally prepared in the dormitories. Most fun would have been the dress-up banquets – I learned much about manners, but had a great time doing it!
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Oakdale is ten miles from the nearest town (Jackson, county seat, population
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Needless to say, most socializing takes place on campus. The students schedule is full of activities. They are never bored due to lack of things to do. In addition to the expected sports activities, because the campus includes several mountains; hiking, supervised rappelling and other outdoor activities are popular recreational outlets. Many social events are as simple as a game of Monopoly around a pot of hot chocolate or an impromptu computer game tournament in the lab.The school maintains a code of behavior that encourages co-ed socialization in groups rather than as couples. “Pairing-off” is not prohibited, but little opportunity is available for one-on-one dating. When I attended it was called simply: “hands-off policy”. I think there is now a new name.A school bus and several vans are available to transport students to concerts, drama, shopping, field trips, hiking, rappelling, swimming, camping, etc.My favorite social experiences would include: serenading my girlfriend in front of sixty people, traveling to other cities in the guy’s quartet, having supper in a favorite teacher’s home and riding home (600 miles) singing at the top of my lungs with six other students in a staff member’s van (and we ran out of gas at 1am).
|7:30 AM||I'm late for breakfast, again.|
|8:00 AM||Find my way to class|
|12:15 AM||Lunch, I'm starving|
|4:00 PM||Get ready for campus work program|
|4:15 PM||an hour of work (cut grass, clean classrooms, collect trash, cook dinner, etc.)|
|5:15 PM||wash up for supper|
|6:30 PM||Study hall for those ineligible (I was never ineligible) Intramurals|
|7:15 PM||Social or on Wednesday Night the local kids come to campus for Bible Club|
|8:30 PM||Basketball practice (or other clubs)|
|9:15 PM||finish homework / get ready for bed|
|9:45 PM||lights are supposed to be out by now.|
|10:00 PM||Dorm is quiet|
|8:30 AM||Five minutes before breakfast is over -- served in the dorm|
|9:00 AM||Sunday school is OK. Chance to talk about different stuff.|
|10:30 AM||Worship service. Good music. Something special. Sermon isn't boring.|
|12:00 AM||Why is Sunday Dinner always five minutes late?|
|12:45 AM||Free time (On Saturdays we get to go to town) hike, swim, fish, read, study, sleep|
|5:15 PM||lite supper in the dining hall (leftovers, often)|
|6:00 PM||Sunday night church (I'm not sure they still have this)|
|7:00 PM||In dorm socials (not co-ed)|
|9:00 PM||Last call for popcorn|
|10:00 PM||Turn that flashlight off and go to sleep|
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