I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself as the Director of Student Affairs at Oak Hill Academy, and welcome you to our community. September just began, and the past ten days have been a blur as we help students settle in to a new environment and routine.
As the Director of Student Affairs, I would like to speak specifically to the residential life side of campus. Coming to Oak Hill is quite an adjustment for many of our students, and as Dr. Groves prophesied, there will be bumps along the way. They are away from home, away from family and friends, in an unfamiliar environment, and surrounded by mountains for miles in every direction. We ask them to relinquish their cell phones, limit technology, and be in their dorms by 8:30 at night. We expect them to be on time for assembly in the mornings, and dressed a certain way. We ask them to speak respectfully, and work out conflicts with their roommates. And we believe that all of these things are good and healthy opportunities for our students.
In the first few weeks the novelty of being here will wear off, and what is left is our mission: to provide students with the opportunity for a new environment, a turning point, and to both challenge and encourage them in this journey. I am at Oak Hill because I believe in our mission, I believe in our staff and our 140 years of experience guiding and supporting adolescents on their journey to adulthood. For me, it is that balance of challenging and encouraging that is so critical. We work to build relationships and community in the context of structure and high expectations.
We want you to know that we acknowledge the sacrifice you all have made to enroll your child here, and we take that responsibility very seriously. If you have concerns or questions, please let us know. We also ask that you trust us, be patient, and have confidence in the fact that we have been doing this a long time. I am proud of our school, and proud of the opportunities we offer our students.
Of course, life at Oak Hill is not all hard and full of structure. I have enjoyed hearing the constant sounds from the weight room and gym, seeing groups of students laughing on the campus store porch, and walking in the dorms to see students sketching artwork or playing the ukulele. New friendships are forming, and I see students stepping out of their comfort zones and trying new things.
On the first Sunday afternoon that students were on campus, we had a picnic outside the gym at the amphitheater. Students scattered over the grass lawn, and sat talking for more than an hour as the sun went down. Oak Hill is a special place, a challenging place, and our mission is for it to be a place of new beginnings and new opportunities.
I will be sending periodic updates about residential life on “The Hill,” and please look for my monthly blog on the website. I also encourage you to follow us on Instagram @oakhillacademy where we regularly post pictures and videos of students and campus life. Welcome to the beginning of a great year!
Director of Student Affairs
Oak Hill Academy