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Oak Hill Academy Student Affairs Director offers observations and a hopeful outlook for our Spring Semester.

We are more than one week into our second semester, and midway through “phase 2” of our COVID mitigation plan as we work toward a more normal semester here on “The Hill.” We’re tucked away safely on our beautiful campus, but not unaware of important transitions in our world happening this very day.

Overall I have been impressed with how well students have adjusted to returning after a nearly seven-week semester break. They know the routine, and have embraced this opportunity to be together as a school community. We have enjoyed several small snowfalls, and some chilly outdoor meals. We’ve had fires at the pavilion and games in the dining hall. We’re getting back into the rhythms of the school day. After sheltering in their rooms for several days, students were finally able to leave the dorms last Thursday. And let me tell you: I have never seen teenagers so excited to go to class!

I am proud of this generation of young people. They embrace the challenges before them, challenges that I never faced, or even anticipated. We are learning how to navigate this time together. And we’re learning patience. We’re learning how to safely have athletics, how to safely go to class, and how to adjust to a new set of norms.

What is totally normal is that this far into the new semester, the novelty and initial excitement begin to wear off. 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.

My encouragement to students right now is to look at the big picture–where they want to go, what goals they have set, and how being here provides opportunities. We all have days of trudging along, focusing only on the struggles of the moment. Let’s appreciate that we are in a unique situation right now. And this situation is not widely available to most students around the country: we have the chance to learn and grow together, face to face, in little Mouth of Wilson, Virginia. So embrace a positive mindset and look for the opportunities. Talk to that teacher. Join that activity. We are in a position to have a great semester!

What a year! Our theme of #together fits so well. We are in this journey together–with fellow students, with faculty and staff, and with you all back home. We continue along in this journey, knowing there will be bumps. But we know there also will be plenty of bright moments, as we grow–together.

Mr. Aaron Butt
Director of Student Affairs
Oak Hill Academy