Alex Rodgers attended Oak Hill Academy for three years and was a highly visible member of the Lady Warriors basketball team, served as an honor court member and was active in many other groups on campus. She was fortunate to have quite a few college options with her combination of great grades, active campus involvement and basketball ability. She eventually chose the opportunity of attending Princeton University, a decision she calls “the best decision I’ll probably make in my life.” As she fast approaches graduation in a couple of weeks, we take the opportunity to catch up with her.
What have been your biggest memories during your college experience as you look back?It would be obvious to talk about the tremendous success I’ve been able to be a part of with the women’s basketball team at Princeton (The Tigers finished the season 31-1 and made history with the highest national ranking and NCAA seeding ever for an Ivy League program and Alex’s senior class has amassed a record 98 wins), but I’m really going to remember most how I’ve grown. Coming out of Oak Hill Academy where I had friends and interacted with people from so many backgrounds, I was prepared and had the confidence to take advantage of those kinds of opportunities here. Oak Hill is where I first learned to step outside of my comfort zone and take leadership roles. I’m glad I did! Through the PU Religion Department, I’ve been able to participate in a human rights conference in Cuba, and through the PU Athletics department, I was able to spend significant time in Senegal and Paris. But lately what I feel like I’ll remember most is writing my senior thesis!
What was your favorite class at OHA? I’m graduating with a degree in Religious studies and I’m sure that was influenced by how much I enjoyed Reverend Turnmire’s Survey of World Religion course my Junior year at OHA. That class did a lot in inspiring me to develop a world view and get a lot of college level writing experience. I feel the same way about the World Cultures class I took with Mr. Hill.
Alex and her teammate participated with her coach and a professor in a short film analyzing the physics of the three point shot.
What was the most valuable thing you learned from your Oak Hill experience? The power of relationships is easily the best lesson I learned at OHA and something that has continued through my college experience. There is a special bond that you share with your classmates and teachers at Oak Hill Academy – it’s a special community.
Do you feel that boarding school prepared you for a better transition to college ?I think it did, yes. A lot of boarding school relied on routine, responsibility, and accountability. OHA gave me the tools to be able to establish all 3 principles on my own in college which is an even more intense and demanding environment.
What advice would you give a new student to prepare them for success at Oak Hill Academy? Know that you can redefine yourself once getting to Oak Hill. If you commit to the process you will hone in on study skills, personal skills, and life skills. Growth in all of these areas will add to any and all of your future endeavors, whether you want to be a professional athlete, politician, business person, or whatever.
These sentiments were echoed by Courtney Banghart, Head Coach of the Princeton Women’s Basketball team: Alex came to Princeton as a confident learner. She had valuable time management skills and was accustomed to the independence of living away from home. She was used to learning alongside a range of students from diverse backgrounds. Also, Alex knew how to ask for help. She understood the power of relationships, something she surely learned in her time at boarding school, and began building connections in her first days at Princeton.