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Boarding School Experience Preps For College Life

As I watch our students preparing to depart for our two-week Spring Break today, I’m reminded that one of the greatest similarities between boarding school and college is the flow of the school year.  Like college, Oak Hill Academy’s schedule is punctuated by significant breaks.  This is important for a few reasons:

  • The Oak Hill Academy student body currently represents 24 states and 20 countries.  That’s a lot of plane travel!  Logistically, students need considerable stretches of time to make travel home worthwhile and meaningful.  To this end, in addition to our Spring Break, we have a 10-day Thanksgiving Break and a two-and-a-half week Christmas/New Year’s Break.
  • Because our students all board (we do not have a lot of day students from the surrounding area in rural Grayson County, Virginia), it is healthy to reconnect with family and friends after an extended period of focused study and busy campus life.  We attend school on most Saturdays (half days) and frankly there just aren’t any “days off” in the boarding school schedule.  These breaks are equally important for our parents and families, as they are excited to catch up and reconnect with their students as well.
  • An important part of our students’ experience is learning to finish strongly while anticipating scheduled breaks.  Our students have to guard against, in the words of a past OHA principal, “mentally packing their bags too early.”  With the college calendar of breaks preceded by deadlines and exams, this is vital training.  We are intentional in helping our students learn how to see things through and delay the gratification that comes with breaks.

By the way, there is a lot of planning and coordination involved in providing shuttle service for over half of our student population.  Buses are chartered to get kids to flights from Charlotte, North Carolina’s Douglas International Airport.  Travel plans are confirmed with each family.  More local families (a relative term) are coordinating ride sharing permissions with each other as we have a strong contingent of students from Northern Virginia, Maryland and the D.C. area.  In the midst of the excitement, there are a multitude of details that are handled by our transportation coordinator.  A big THANKS to you, Mrs. Cooper!


Right now, as I brace for a much quieter campus over the next few weeks, I’m still excited about the current admission cycle.  As more than a quarter of our student body graduates in a typical year, I’m enthusiastic about how next school year’s enrollment is shaping up already.  I’m also very involved in working with summer session applicants.  Oak Hill Academy’s summer school session is a great opportunity for grade improvement and for new students to gain momentum and settle in heading into next school year.  Please feel free to contact the Admission Department, especially during Spring Break, at or simply call (276) 579-2619.

In the meantime, A Happy Spring Break To All!  Bring on the snow!

Oak Hill Academy Stories: RJ Currington, Class of 2013


I first met RJ as a somewhat shy, reserved rising 8th grader while he attended Oak Hill Academy’s summer basketball camp.  RJ is a 2013 graduate who spent 5 years on The Hill and the growth I saw in him was phenomenal.  8th graders at Oak Hill are taken care of by the upperclassman and RJ was everyone’s little brother that first year.  Through his career at OHA I saw him progress from the shy, but talented, Red Team Varsity player and an under-the-radar, but likeable student in the school building into a student government leader, mentoring upperclassman, who was a major contributor to some of the best Gold Teams in recent years.

RJ is entering his senior year at DePaul University in Chicago – not far from his hometown.  He is a pre-law student and has spent his summer interning at a law firm (last check he was targeting the Los Angeles area) with the goal of becoming a sports and entertainment industry lawyer.  He balances all of this while playing shooting guard for the Blue Demons.

RJ’s story reflects one of the greatest opportunities attending Oak Hill Academy has to offer:  the chance to grow and discover confidence.  Our small classes and student body really encourages students to take leadership positions, both formal and informal.  Watching RJ grow over those 5 years was truly a highlight of my tenure at Oak Hill Academy.