Alumni of The Oaks: Extended Content
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Little Things Make a Big Difference
Mr. Kortepeter and Mr. Prible were my favorite teachers.
The way Mr. Kortepeter taught was really great; he knew how to relate to us. He’s good at making you interested in reading and art. Going into his classroom, I felt more responsible than I had in any other classroom, which is something that most eighth graders crave I think – to be treated like an adult. I remember we could have coffee on Fridays and that was so cool to me that we could get ourselves coffee. None of us liked coffee, but we got to keep our own mugs. There are just little things that he does all year that make you feel responsible.
I remember in fourth grade being right across from Mr. Prible’s room. We could always hear the fifth graders laughing really loudly and we were always jealous and really excited to go to fifth grade. I built it up so much in my head. Mr. Prible was always the cool teacher who did weird things. I don’t remember the context, but I remember there was a day he stood up on one of the desks with a guitar and started singing and walking around. I remember it coming out-of-nowhere, but I don’t remember what he was singing about. I just remember he was standing on a desk singing and playing the guitar and we were all laughing really hard.
A Relationship With Faith
My dad is a pastor and he started a church before I came to The Oaks. That church has always been our home, and that’s always been a really present part of our lives, which I’m really thankful for.
The Oaks set up a standard and foundation for how to view faith, and how it is in every piece of what we do and what we study. It helped when transitioning to high school and college where you have to learn how to do that on your own, instead of having teachers guide you. Learning how to implement faith in everyday life and how to do something as repetitive as Lauds for yourself. As much as I miss that from The Oaks, it has been really good for me to figure it out on my own.
The Value of Being Heard
I think it was my seventh grade year that we started Houses, and all of a sudden we had this thing where you have to sit with this designated group of people. I hated it then, but looking back on it now, I really appreciate it. But I disliked it so much then that I wrote Mr. Hart [Head of School at Fall Creek, at the time] a letter. I typed it out, and I didn’t say it was terrible, but I talked about how it was putting us in this constricted box we have to fit in. That was always a central theme that I’ve wanted to push away from – being confined to any expectations – but you need to do that for middle schoolers.
Anyway, I wrote Mr. Hart this letter that basically told him that I didn’t like the Houses, and I was really passionate about it. He replied with a really kind letter and was very gracious. He listened to me and responded to my thoughts. He didn’t take away the Houses, but I thought it was really cool. Even in the moment, I was totally fine once I got a letter back from him. Just to know that I had been heard was a really significant thing for me, and something that made me really appreciate The Oaks.
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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.