Alumni of The Oaks: Extended Content
Share this article
The Value of Service
One of the unique parts about being in the same building with the elementary school students [before the middle school was in a separate building] was that we could go into the lower school classes, and that was considered our service. Transferable skills were being grown and nurtured through our opportunity to work with younger students.
They would call us Miss Diamond or Miss whoever. At the time, I thought ‘I’m not ready for this!’ but it taught me responsibility at 12 or 13 years old and gave me the opportunity to do something outside of myself. I didn’t understand that or see the benefits of it until I went to college during undergrad.
Lessons from Great Teachers
Mrs. Grammer had more of an impact on me than I knew at the time. I was very outspoken, and if I had an opinion and you didn’t believe it, I questioned you. But Mrs. Grammer was fearless – ‘I see you. I love you. But I am going to hold you accountable.’ So every decision you make, every choice you make, there’s either a negative or a positive consequence. It came from a place where she wanted you to be the best when you left The Oaks, and I am forever grateful to her for that.
She always made it a point to invest in us and to bring out the best in us. That is something that money can’t buy: being passionate about the place you’re in. Now that I’m a working adult, I understand that you don’t get paid for the little things like that which truly matter.
I also valued the in-class conversations, that there was always an open forum for us to discuss real and hard things. I remember Mr. Kortepeter, especially, would have these open conversations with all of the 7th grade students. We were honest and were able to be vulnerable with a person who maybe didn’t understand every perspective, but we were given the opportunity to be ourselves. I could never repay him for that, because now when I go into law school and it’s time for the Socratic method, I’m ready.
Consistency is Key
I was always smart, so I could memorize and go on with my day before I came to The Oaks. That wasn’t the case here and this was the first time I was challenged in every single area, especially dealing with responsibility and self-control. But I would say one of the key things that helped was consistency. I think that’s something about The Oaks – they’ve always been consistent.
Every Wednesday we had Chapel, and for a kid that structure was so important. I knew every Wednesday I needed to be suited and booted, and ready to go, to praise the Lord. I knew that was part of my schedule. I knew that I would come into the classroom, and if we didn’t start with a conversation, we were reading or we were reflecting. I think that really helped me transition to high school where we were given an assignment and needed to figure it out from there. I was able to come in with a structure that nobody else really had unless they attended The Oaks.
Share this article
A special tradition for 5th grade students, the Patriotic Speech Festival is an opportunity to research and perform a memorized speech from a great American patriot.