Oak Hill Academy, a small boarding school in Virginia that is coeducational and college prep focused, has a mission to provide growth in many areas, including spiritual growth in a Christian setting.
Many of the families who choose Oak Hill Academy place a high priority on finding a college prep boarding school that addresses their student’s needs, and has a foundation in Christian principles. These families found Oak Hill Academy through the search filter of “Christian Boarding Schools” and discovered a small, close-knit school community nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwestern Virginia. Our small school (approximately 150 students and nearly 60 faculty and staff) has been providing a Turning Point, since 1878, for students who were struggling in their previous school setting. Our mission is to provide a boarding school education that focuses on growth—academic, social, personal, and spiritual growth.
Today, we’re focusing on our approach to spiritual growth, something that has been an integral part of Oak Hill’s mission for 140 years.
Our school was founded by members of several small Baptist churches in the area, including the local congregation of Young’s Chapel Baptist Church, a beautiful, quintessential country church that still thrives today. Located on campus, services here have been an important and meaningful part of our students’ overall boarding school experience for generations. Throughout that time, the Oak Hill Academy student body has joined local church members for Sunday morning worship, providing a mutually beneficial overlap of local community and school community. Our students get to see faith at work in a real-world setting. The pastor of Young’s Chapel also serves as our Campus Minister and religion teacher, further cementing this relationship. Students are welcome in Young’s Chapel’s Sunday School and Bible Study; some have even joined the church choir. Some of our musically-inclined students participate in the school’s Praise Band. Under the direction of our music teacher, this group provides an avenue for students to become more involved in the Young’s Chapel services, and to provide music at our vespers services.
For our students who seek to grow their faith while on our campus, there is no shortage of opportunities. Weekly student devotions and quarterly vespers services over the years have blessed us with great messages. In recent years, the Oak Hill Academy Youth Group has emerged as another chance for students to explore spirituality and its implications for our lives. Service to others is a component of many spiritual philosophies, including the Christianity practiced here. Service projects are sponsored by various campus and community groups, and service activities are incorporated into our advisory program, allowing students to put their desire to serve others into action.
Another underpinning of campus life is the daily morning gathering in Fletcher Chapel that we call “Homeroom.” Our school community starts each day in prayer followed by a short devotion that sets our eyes toward God and prepares our minds for the day ahead. Homeroom represents a great example of the community focus that is reinforced daily in our small school.
Many of our students do not come to Oak Hill Academy with the conscious goal of spiritual growth. That’s fine. We know that, for some students, this may be the first time in their lives that they intentionally consider their own spirituality. We are proud to have a student body with diverse spiritual backgrounds. But however diverse, we come together in a community where we all are reminded that we are children of God, created by God, and loved by God. We pray (and often witness) that in this special school community, many seeds of spiritual growth are planted.