This Month at OVS

OVS middle school high schoolNovember 2014 – This month, students transition from fall to winter sports. Resident boys move into new dorm rooms at Upper Campus following a nine-week renovation. High school leaders attend a lecture by former U.S. President Bill Clinton who speaks about challenges and changes to our global community. Elementary and primary students expand their understanding of California history by visiting the Chumash Museum. Residents in grades 5-12 come together for a Thanksgiving Dress Dinner before all students leave campus for the holiday break, November 21-30. There are a few surf trips, as pictured above, in the mix as well! We love the start of winter in Southern California.

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.

This Month At OVS…

OVS Ropes Course


This Month At OVS:

Lower Campus spent Sunday Nov. 9 at Upper Campus on the Ropes Course

Ojai Youth Symphony opened its season with a concert on Nov. 11.

Thanksgiving break begins this Friday, Nov. 21 at 3:00pm.

Classes resume Monday, Dec. 1.

Sugar Plum Breakfast and Holiday Decorating will be held for Parents and Volunteers on Tuesday, Dec. 2.

Campus Lighting ceremony will take place at 6:30pm on Thursday, Dec. 11.



Taking the Reins

equestrianxNovember 15 – Ojai Valley School equestrians in grades 5, 6, 10, 11 and 12 developed their skills at cross country jumping on Saturday and enjoyed a beautiful day riding together in the hills north of Ventura.

For some students, the weekend trip presented an opportunity to test their riding skills in a new setting away from the two OVS campuses. The seven girls who rode Saturday warmed up in the stadium arena at the Canada Larga Ranch stables, then ventured out to the cross country course developed by stables owner and OVS past parent Steve Gaggero.

Under the guidance of four OVS instructors, the girls learned new skills, conquered fears, and had fun riding in a wide open canyon setting that presented its own challenges for the horses and their riders.

The training day came on the heels of a two-day camping trip to the ranch for the high school students. It also allowed the elementary and middle school equestrians to practice their skills in advance of an upcoming Pony Club certification in December. Thank you to the Gaggero family for hosting OVS!

To view photos from this equestrian event, please visit the Images of OVS page. Click the enclosed link to see a calendar of Upcoming Equestrian Events.

Running to League Championship


By Cole Zellner, Class of 2016

November 7 – After a long season of practice and persistence, the OVS  girls’ cross country team outpaced all runners Wednesday to earn the Condor League championship in the League Final at Dunn School. Senior Momoe Takamatsu also won the individual title, running the fastest three-mile race in her life by finishing in a blistering 21:11. Her nearest competitor was nearly 40 seconds behind.

“I was relieved for sure,” said Momoe, who was very emotional after the race. “I didn’t believe at first that I had won, but I worked so hard for this.”

It is the second time in four years that an OVS runner has won the Condor League individual cross country title. In 2011, Reika Kijima won the title. She is now running cross country and track for the University of Southern California. This is the first time in recent history that OVS girls have captured the team title.

In addition to Momoe’s fast finish, two other OVS runners, sophomore Gilim Bae and senior Vivian Yan, earned medals for their top ten finishes. Gilim finished in third place with a time of 22:43, and Vivian came in sixth with a time of 23:27. The OVS girls’ came within seconds of winning the Condor League title outright. For OVS cross country coach Fred Alvarez, the win wasn’t as important as the watching the girls learn to work as a team and do their best when it came time to their final race.

“I could not be more proud of the way these girls came together this year,” Mr. Alvarez said. “They ran in 100-plus degree heat, and they ran when they were sore, and they ran in the early morning darkness. They committed themselves to improving each and every day. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

The OVS boys’ team ended the season strong as well. Senior Andy Cheng (L11) ran his personal best in an astounding 19:06. Less than a minute behind, junior Victor Gong (L12) also ran his personal best with a time of exactly 20:00.


The Perks of Being a Book Club


The Ojai Valley School Upper Campus Library is pleased to introduce the formation of The Perks of Being a Book Club, a club for lovers of the written word.

Do you enjoy tales that take place in faraway lands inhabited by creatures only the wildest of imaginations can conjure up? How about stories that deal with teenage love and heartbreak? If so, The Perks of Being a Book Club is for you.

Maybe you enjoy the poetry of Lord Byron or the wit of Oscar Wilde. Yeah? The Perks of Being a Book Club wants you as a member.

Do you like reading about the history of baseball or learning how to become a better public speaker? You do?! Then come join The Perks of Being a Book Club.

We meet every Friday in the library during Electives (2:45-3:30) and discuss what we are reading, things we might want to do as a club, eat snacks, and enjoy each other’s company.

Wait, things we might want to do as a club? Like what? I’m glad you asked!

The club recently took a trip down to Bart’s Books in downtown Ojai to pick out books for the library’s collection. Yes, it’s true; students got to be a integral part of developing the library’s collection, picking out books they think their friends and peers would enjoy. Sounds like fun, right?

Other activities the club is planning include:

  • Club t-shirts because who doesn’t want an awesome club t-shirt
  • More trips to buy books
  • Creating custom bookmarks to help promote club book recommendations
  • Watching movies based on our favorite books
  • Working with the Lower Campus to create a Reading Buddy/Mentor program
  • And much, MUCH more!

So if this all sounds fun to you, come join The Perks of Being a Book Club and be prepared to have fun!

OVS & World Affairs Council


OVS Attends World Affairs Council
Students Will Travel To L.A. For Address Delivered By Clinton

Six OVS students will travel to Los Angeles on Monday to hear former President Bill Clinton deliver the inaugural address in the Los Angeles World Affairs Council’s new series, America’s Role in the World.   The school this year joined a new initiative designed to involve more independent school students in the range of public programs sponsored by the World Affairs Council. This will be the second World Affairs Council event attended by OVS students. Last month, six Upper Campus journalism students traveled to the historic Laemmle Music Hall 3 in Beverly Hills to view a screening of the E-Team, a Netflix documentary tracing the chaotic and danger-filled lives of human rights investigators. Monday‘s sold-out event will be held at the Beverly Hills Hilton. “This is a tremendous opportunity for our students to listen to a political leader,” said Craig Floyd, who connected the school with the World Affairs Council in his role as the director of strategic initiatives. “It enriches their educational experience and brings modern history to life.”

Spotlight on the Classroom

Spotlight on the Classroom

AP Students Learn the Art of Exploring Career Opportunities in the Arts 

Art Teacher Chia Hersk is no stranger to Ojai Valley School.  She roamed the halls of Upper Campus as a student in the 90s and her mother, former OVS art teacher and local Ojai artist Berndette DiPietro, ran the Upper Campus Art Studio for more than twenty years.

Now, Ms. Hersk has returned to OVS and the torch, or rather the Art Studio, has been handed over to her care. Even though drawing and painting haven’t changed much since Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel, Ms. Hersk understands that providing a well-rounded education in Fine Arts requires a constant dialogue about careers in the arts and education after high school.

Art school shouldn’t be the scariest words a student can utter when asked where they want to go to college after high school graduation.  This is definitely thanks to the internet, Google, and globalization to name a few helpers.  The internet and the development of media arts has allowed students to explore and discover the world of possibilities behind the one main branch called Fine Arts.  These students aren’t dreaming of becoming painters who wear a comical burrees, striped shirts and smock, pedaling their color splashed canvases to tourists on a New York City street corner.  These kids are dreaming of becoming fashion designers showing on the runways of Paris and Milan, graphic designers working on Madison Ave., photo journalists scouring the globe for that Nat Geo cover photo, and being filmmakers premiering their opus to cheering fans at Sundance.

Applying to an art school is very different from applying to your average UC, CSU, Ivy League, generic liberal arts college and just about any school that isn’t an art focused institution.  In the past few months Chia has not only inspired her students to create their own works of art, but has also exposed them to arts professionals and fine arts galleries in order to explore the idea of turning one’s passion and artistic vision into a paycheck and sustainable income.  Recently, Chia took her AP students to Porch Gallery in downtown Ojai where the gallery director, Lisa Casoni, explained how the world of fine art galleries works and how high school students can begin creating a dialogue with galleries, artists and other professionals.

Founder’s Shop Update

OVS Founder's Shop Update

Construction continues on the new art studio and renovated Founder’s Shop at Lower Campus

Construction continues on the new art studio and renovated Founder’s Shop at Lower Campus. More than 700 feet of drainage and electrical upgrades have also been added and new concrete walkways were laid during the first week of November.

During Family Weekend, Mac Lojowsky, Director of Facilities and Grounds, led an afternoon tour of the project site and gave families an inside look at the Founder’s Shop renovations underway. He showed families how the historic windows and beams have been masterfully rehabilitated. He also showcased the energy efficiency and safety features that have been added, and discussed how the sustainable building practices have underscored the project. Mr. Lojowsky also toured families through the new adjacent arts studio space, still under construction, which will feature an expansive classroom with vaulted ceilings, skylights, and an outdoor patio.

OVS Explores Nation’s Capitol

OVS Middle School Washington DC TripOVS eighth-grade students recently returned from a trip to the East Coast to explore our nation’s capitol.  The Washington DC trip – which includes educational tours of colonial American sites as well as significant monuments and museums –  is an annual trip that accentuates the U.S. history curriculum in grade 8. Click here to see pictures from this year’s trip.

Resident Boys Move into Newly Renovated Dorms

Frost Hall Boys, OVS, Upper Campus

November 5 – Last spring, twelve high school boys volunteered to start the 2014-2015 school year living in the middle school dorms at Lower Campus during a significant renovation of one wing of the boys’ dorms at Upper Campus. For several weeks, they have commuted to the high school campus by school bus and van.

But their commuting ended this week when the boys, a close-knit group of students in grades 9-12, packed up and moved into the newly renovated rooms in Boney Bean dorm. The renovated rooms feature new bamboo wood cabinets and furnishings, insulated doors and windows, new HVAC systems and electrical upgrades that advance the school’s sustainability goals to reduce energy consumption.

Boney Bean Dorm Demo

Copyright © 2014 · Ojai Valley School · 723 El Paseo Rd. · Ojai, CA 93023
Lower Campus     (tel) 805.646.1423     ·     Upper Campus     (tel) 805.646.5593
Made in Boulder Creek, CA