By: Lauren Oberman ’20, 21st Century Journalism Class.
On November 3rd, Oak Hill Academy had another “Warrior Night,” an enhanced offering of Saturday night off-campus trips available for sign-up. There were four trips. Ms. Haas took a dinner and movie trip to see the Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Zoey Doan ’20 stated, “The movie was a little too predictable, but I did have a good time with my friends.” Ms. Bronson took a very excited group of kids out to eat sushi and get Starbucks. Kami Lewis ’20 said, “I really enjoyed hanging out with my friends and eating sushi.” The third trip was to Krispy Kreme and Five Guys, sponsored by Mr. P. Fisher. When asked, Tobi Salami ’20 stated, “I had a great time on the trip! I got to hang out with some friends and eat some really good food.” There was also a Fast Food Rodeo. The kids went to Wendy’s, McDonald’s, KFC/Taco Bell and Little Caesars Pizza. Corey Shupe ’19 said, “I ate a lot of food and had a really good time!”
Thank you to the faculty who drove students for this weekend’s Warrior Night. It was a good one!
From the Director of Student Affairs:
The last day of October. The leaves have changed colors and are already dropping, the air is brisk, the grass now often white with frost in the mornings. It’s hard to believe that we have already finished more than one-fourth of the school year here at Oak Hill, and we have only 16 days until Thanksgiving Break!
Last weekend we welcomed alumni back to campus for our Harvest Homecoming, and kicked off the basketball season with the Gold Team opening game against Faith Assembly Christian Academy. That afternoon a group of students joined in our annual “Color Run” around campus, and onlookers showered the runners with powdered color as they went by. As this was not just Homecoming, but also Harvest, we invited students to dress up in costumes for the basketball game, which made for a unique-looking group of fans in the stands. After the game, students gathered outside the gym for a tailgate dinner, along with music on the Campus Store deck and s’mores down at the amphitheater fire pit. We capped off the night with a showing of Beetlejuice in the chapel.
I feel we are finally “in the groove” here at Oak Hill. We still stress the little things – getting to class on time, keeping a clean room, using quiet time effectively, managing technology usage, engaging with others respectfully, clearing the table – all small things in and of themselves, but practices and routines that allow us to grow and develop into responsible, independent men and women who can build on this foundation and find our passions and callings.
As I have said many times, Oak Hill is not easy – it was never designed to be easy. We often ask our students to do things they don’t particularly want to do. It is harder to hide here; there are more opportunities for friction, conflict, disagreement, and impatience. But we grow through friction. We grow through disagreement and conflict. I believe we can grow even when someone is telling us to go back to the dorms on a 30-degree morning to change into the right school pants.
We know what to expect, when to be structured and orderly, and when to untuck and relax. We are a community. Sometimes we get frustrated with one another, sometimes we say the wrong thing or can’t keep our mouths shut. Sometimes we think things aren’t fair, and sometimes we don’t really want to get up in the morning, clean our rooms, put on uniforms, and head out into the cold.
This morning I didn’t particularly want to get out of my bed. The house was cold, and I was thinking of the work ahead to wake up my three children, get them breakfast, make their lunches, and get them into their Halloween costumes for school. But I knew it had to be done, so I put my feet on the cold wood floor, and began my day. That’s usually what it takes. So this is my encouragement for our students: Start by putting your feet on the cold floor, and take it step by step. There will be bumps, there will be conflicts, there will be setbacks, but there will also be joys, moments of levity, and moments where I get to see the payoff – like when I see my three kids all dressed up, headed to school in their costumes.
Oak Hill continues to be a Turning Point. Three-fourths of our students made either the “A” or “B” Honor Roll. Eighty percent of our students had fewer than 5 missing assignments over the past 12 weeks.
We keep pushing back those covers, putting our feet on the floor, and taking it step by step. This is an opportunity to show what we are made of, and to build a strong foundation.
Director of Student Affairs
Oak Hill Academy
Arthurline M.! Arthurline is from Liberia, Africa, and is in ninth grade at Oak Hill Academy. She was chosen for Student of the Week honors with the following recommendation: “Arthurline is always upbeat, has a smile on her face, and is so respectful to EVERYONE in the OHA Community. She goes out of her way to help anyone, and her work ethic is fantastic!”
Students are regularly nominated and chosen by the faculty and staff for making notable contributions to Oak Hill Academy campus life.
Dennis Wymer, art teacher and wrestling coach at Oak Hill Academy, is seeing a vision come to life in the second year of the fledgling Oak Hill Wrestling Program. Billed as a great opportunity for our students to push themselves and become extremely fit, Coach Wymer invites any interested student to try the sport out through a six-week preseason program. Since early in the school year, he has loaded up a van (that has become increasingly more full) and headed to a facility nearby for workouts held in conjunction with the Grayson County High School Wrestling team and coaching staff. This setup represents a special advantage to Oak Hill students as Grayson County is considered a Virginia public school “powerhouse” and regularly produces state-level finalists and champions. The Grayson staff includes a former NCAA and N.C. State University top wrestler. Coach Wymer also has extensive experience as a competitor and coach, and is assisted by OHA Dean of Boys Gary Crede and Resident Manager Byron Bussey.
There are regularly 6 or more students, boys and girls, attending these workouts and the results are energizing to the program. The experience among our student participants ranges from previous varsity level to complete beginner. Connor Sewitsky ’19 has participated in meets and camps throughout the Mid-Atlantic states and has college wrestling interest. Kevin Kennedy ’19, a pioneer of the wrestling team at Oak Hill Academy, was one of two students who made up the OHA team last year. He gained valuable experience at the Virginia Independent School State Meet and hopes to build on that success.
If the dedication shown during the preseason voluntary workouts is any indication, the Oak Hill Academy Wrestling Team is going to catch plenty of attention. In addition to being passionate about the sport, Coach Wymer sees participation as a opportunity for our boarding school to broaden its athletics options. And it’s working–as the numbers increase, as the excitement on campus grows, and pride is building for our newest sport: wrestling. OHA Wrestling’s season is set to begin December 1. Stayed tuned for more coverage of the action!
Shout-out to team member Dillon Phipps ’20 for the photos–thank you!
The influenza season is upon us. I noticed in the news that the state of Florida has reported its first flu-related death–a young child who had not been vaccinated. Now, I don’t know any specific facts about this particular case beyond the short news article I read, and I also don’t know if the outcome would have been different if the child had been vaccinated. Many people have reasons not to vaccinate and I understand them. What I would like to share with you are some facts related to influenza vaccinations as published by reputable sources. What I always recommend is to educate yourself so you can make an informed decision–a decision you are comfortable with–for you and your family.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that every person over the age of 6 months (who does not have other contraindications) should receive a vaccination for the flu before the end of October every year. Receiving a flu vaccination has been shown to reduce the chances of contracting the flu by half. If a child does contract the flu, the rate for hospital admission is reduced by 74% IF he/she has been vaccinated. This means the vaccination lessens the severity of the symptoms of the virus. Flu-related deaths in healthy children can be reduced by two-thirds if children are vaccinated. By receiving the vaccination, you are also helping to protect others from contracting the flu—especially those who cannot, for various reasons, receive the vaccine.
At Oak Hill Academy, we live in a secluded community. In many ways, our remoteness helps decrease the chance that the influenza virus will find its way onto our campus. However, there are still opportunities for our students to contract the virus whenever they travel off campus, especially for open weekends and the upcoming holiday breaks. The CDC recommends that travelers get vaccinated at least two weeks before traveling in order for the vaccination’s effectiveness to be at its peak before potential exposure.
The tight-knit community here, in which we all live in close proximity to each other, could make it difficult to keep from getting the flu if it does arrive on campus. One of the best ways we prevent our students from becoming sick each year is by offering to administer the flu vaccination to everyone—students and staff. During the first week in October, I administered the vaccination to all students whose parents/guardians requested it. I still have several doses of the vaccine available, so it is not too late for your child to receive a vaccination. If you would like me to do this, please send an email to email@example.com for more information about having this done.
Thanks for reading,
Betsy Anderson, RN, BSN
Oak Hill Academy Nurse
Oak Hill Academy
2635 Oak Hill Rd.
Mouth of Wilson, Virginia 24363
Phone Number 276-579-2619
Administrative Office Fax Number 276-579-4722
Academic Office Fax Number 276-579-2618
Ms. Cyndie Richardson
Dean of Girls
Mrs. Shaquera Clawson
Dean of Boys
Mr. Gary Crede
Director of Financial Affairs
Mrs. Rhonda Bowen
Student Expense Accounts
Mrs. Paula Phelps
Student Tuition Accounts
Mrs. Laura Phipps
Mrs. Regina Cooper
Director of Counseling
Mrs. Joy Groves
Mrs. Betsy Anders
Mrs. Anita Perkins
For additional contact info., visit the Faculty & Staff Directory.