Outdoor Education

OVS middle school high school

Volleyball Faces Rival This Weekend

140927_Volley Ball 013ccOctober 10 — The girls’ varsity volleyball team is gearing up for what promises to be a tight contest this weekend against Providence. So far the girls have experienced an up-and-down season with dominant wins over Besant Hill and Midland, only to fall this past week to Dunn and Laguna Blanca. The JV team will start at home Saturday against Providence, followed by the varsity squad at 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, the OVS boys’ club soccer team played its second match this week which ended in a tie against Oak Grove. Up next: Soccer will play on Garden Street on Saturday, October 18.

At the Lower Campus, the Middle School volleyball and soccer teams played their first games and show promise for the season ahead. The boys’ soccer team will play away next Tuesday, October 14, against Crane at 4 p.m. and then face Santa Barbara Middle School on the road on Thursday. Girls’ varsity and JV volleyball teams will play next Thursday, October 16, at different locations.

Visit the website calendar for game times and additional information.

Spring Backpacking

OVS Middle School students, led by faculty and staff, spend a week backpacking in the California wilderness.

Pons Dinner

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the OVS Pons Dinner celebrated with alumni and students from both Lower and Upper Campuses.


College Decision Day

College Decision Day

Gala in the Gallery



Solar Sunsets

solar sunset



Two years ago OVS launched an ambitious solar project that has significantly advanced the school’s sustainability goals. The project includes 1,001 photovoltaic panels that cover 19,016 square feet of hillsides and rooftops at the Upper Campus. Launched in 2013 with HelioPower and Southern California Edison, the project was designed to supply 85% of the electrical demand for the Upper Campus, saving more than $64,000 a year in energy costs and reducing the school’s annual carbon footprint by an estimated 299,000 pounds. With planned additional energy efficiency measures and greater conservation awareness, the school hopes to move close to 100% renewable energy in coming years.

In addition to solar, here are additional ways OVS teaches and demonstrates its commitment to environmental sustainability:

•    PK-12 environmental education in classes and activities
•    Comprehensive recycling programs
•    Retrofitted lights with energy-efficient bulbs and fixtures
•    Water-efficient irrigation systems and plumbing
•    Drought-tolerant and native plantings
•    Non-chemical fertilizers, pesticides and cleaning products
•    State-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant at Upper Campus
•    Partnering with local farmers in our dining halls to provide local produce and growing vegetables in the school’s own gardens

Photo by Peter Chang, Class of 2015

Seeing the Forest with New Trees

tree2By Lauren Rothman, Class of 2017

“Trees need people. People need trees. Welcome, Carl,” the 12 students chanted while trying not to slip down a precarious, dry slope under the beaming Ojai sun. They were gathered around a tiny, freshly planted oak tree that they named in honor of Carl Cooper, headmaster of Ojai Valley School’s Upper Campus.

This past Saturday, Ojai Valley School became home to 34 new coast live oaks, each named and welcomed as they were planted on a long, steep slope beneath the main classroom building at the Upper Campus.

The planting, on the heels of Arbor Day, was done in collaboration with Ojai Trees, a non-profit association founded in 2008 to maintain the health and beauty of the environment in Ojai, specifically the topiary.

“It was hard work, but it was worth it,” said senior Nakita Moler, one of the OVS Student Council members who helped with the tree planting. “I named my tree Jake, and if it grows to be really big and tall one day, and I come to visit OVS some time, I’ll think, ‘Hey, I planted that tree!’ ”

Ojai Trees co-founder Garrett Clifford, the father of three OVS alums, tirelessly works to maintain the health and inventory of the valley’s community forest.

“We realized that the urban forest in Ojai was predominately aging oaks and other natives, and that it was in less than good health,” said Clifford, who joined a handful of Ojai Trees volunteers at OVS on Saturday to help with the planting. “We needed to start planting if we want to continue having the trees we currently have in the Ojai Valley 50 years from now. If we plant trees today, 50 years from today we should still have the canopy.”

To that end, OVS has launched a significant forestation plan for the Upper Campus that will meet several goals.

In addition to further beautifying the campus, the newly planted trees will help stabilize the hillside on the north slope below Burr Hall, keeping the classrooms and the library on top of the hill, instead of possibly sliding down on to the soccer field below.

The forestation effort is part of a larger, environmentally proactive plan at the Upper Campus designed to replace existing grass areas with a drought-tolerant landscaping that will reduce water use for years to come, said Mac Lojowsky, the school’s director of facilities and grounds.

Over the next few months, Lojowski and his crew plan to remove 12,946 square feet of turf near the girls’ dorm. That area will be retrofitted with a new irrigation system, and will be beautified with decomposed granite walkways and 120 various types of drought-tolerant plants.

The project will hopefully be completed in about six weeks, Lojowsky said.

“This is a major project,” he said. “It’s going to immediately look nice, and it’s going to really look nice in about two years, and then incredible in about 20 years.”

Ultimately, the school hopes to advance its sustainability goals by becoming a net zero emissions campus, and the drought-tolerant plants, which will lower water use, will help move it toward that goal more quickly.

Two years ago, the OVS Upper Campus installed 1,001 solar panels on the south-facing side of the hill. Those panels now provide about 95% of the electricity needed to operate the school, according to Technology Director John Wickenhaeuser.

The panels allow the school to nearly be net zero with carbon emission.

“These trees early on, in their first 10 to 15 years, won’t do very much in terms of carbon capture,” said Wickenhaeuser, who also teaches AP Environmental Science. “But because they live to be 300 or 400 years old, once they get beyond 15 years, they start taking in carbon really rapidly. This is a long-term, down the road benefit from a carbon standpoint.”

In addition to reducing the carbon footprint, the project will beautify the campus to its students, faculty, and prospective families.

“One of the things about the Upper Campus is that it’s a stunningly beautiful setting for the school, so there’s not much you need to do to really enhance that,” said Tracy Wilson, the school’s director of admissions and marketing. “But some nice landscaping and planting some trees for the future so that kids will continue to see a really beautiful school is important, and this is going to go a long way to accomplishing that.”

The current students at OVS are excited to see these plans develop.

“I am excited because it is saving water that we can use for other things,” said senior Jenna McIntosh, “and because we are in a drought, I think it is appropriate to stop watering the grass.”

Equestrian Rally

pony club2Three teams of OVS riders competed against equestrian teams from across Southern California last weekend in a “horseless” Pony Club rally at the Upper Campus. The emphasis of this Pony Club event is teaching new Pony Club members, including our youngest in grades 3 and 4, the structure and expectations of a rally without having to worry about their horses as well. During this events, riders simulated how to care for their horses and competed on foot in dressage and jumping classes. The students were essentially challenged to do every thing that they would do during an actual a rally, like keeping their horses stalls clean and being out in the arena on time, and relied on more experienced stable managers to coach them.
At the end of the event, scores for horse management, dressage and jumping were compiled. OVS Team #1 comprised of riders Alex Alvarez, Nico Gaggero, Hannah Little, Zachary Danino and Lucy Orgolini won their division. OVS Team #2 comprised of Ollie Gaggero, Evelyn Stoen, Bellamie Desmond, Bella Slosberg and Clover Griffin placed third. OVS Team #3 comprised of Violet Ruby, Kaitlyn King, Izzy Gaggero, and Mattie White placed fourth.
OVS riders head to Canada Larga ranch this Saturday for a day of stadium jumping and cross country schooling.

Spring Sports Update

baseballOVS launched the spring sports season this week with outstanding performances by the golf and baseball teams. Golf led the way with a victorious match Tuesday at Soule Park. OVS won with the lowest score, 211, followed by Nordhoff, 238, and Carpinteria, 281. Junior Harris Tsui shot one under par, or 35. Junior Davis Smith (L12) shot an even par 36, followed by sophomore Adam Zhao with 39. Marc Chen, Jeff Ding, and Minwoo Sohn played to round out the team for the match.
On Wednesday, the OVS baseball team defeated Maricopa 16-4 in the season opener, showing a powerhouse offense and lock-down defense. The seniors led the way for the Spuds. Masaki Takamatsu was 3-4 with a triple, Connor Floyd (L11) was 3-5 with a triple and RBI, and Matt Gustafson (L11) was 2-4 with a double and triple plus an RBI. Junior Brendan Goldberg batted 2-5 with 5 RBIs and played catcher for the first time in high school. Sophomore Gavin Floyd (L13) playing in his first high school game went 2-3 with a double, 2 RBIs and 2 walks and showed some good glove work playing third base. Sophomore Shotaro Yamamura batted 2-4 with 3 RBIs in his first high school game for OVS. Junior Satoshi Suzuki pitched 5 strong innings to collect the win. The Spuds next take the field on Wednesday, March 18, at home versus the Villanova Wildcats.

Making Music

IMG_4801The Music Van recently visited the OVS Lower Campus to inspire elementary students to pursue a musical instrument. Andy Radford, the Ojai Youth Symphony director, and volunteers introduced students in grades 3, 4 and 5 to various instruments, including trumpet, cello, flute, harp, clarinet and more. They learned how to make vibrations, not only with those instruments but also with their own vocal chords. Students got to see how wonderful it was to try new things and many of the students talked about how much they enjoyed playing these musical instruments — three students even decided to pursue private music lessons because of how much fun and enjoyment they had trying out the instruments.

Click here to see a gallery of photos from this event.

This Month At OVS

150226_Upper Campus

Spring has arrived in Ojai! Winter rain (although not much of it) has left both Upper Campus green with fresh growth. In the month of March, students and staff at the Upper Campus will plan more than 40 oak trees as part of a forestation and hillside stabilization plan. Juniors will take the SAT on March 14. Middle School students will head to the desert and explore the wonders of Joshua Tree National Park. Spring sports teams will launch their new seasons. And our seniors will receive more news about their college acceptances.

For more information and events please click here to see the OVS calendars.

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