The OVS competitive robotics teams participated at the LA/SoCal Regional Championships last weekend, concluding a stellar season in the FIRST Tech Challenge’s robotics league. Teams Spudnik and Spudbot fought hard against 46 other strong teams at the event hosted at Monrovia High School. Although they did not advance to the World Championship in Houston, they are proud of their efforts and excited to have reached regionals. Said Coach Micah Sittig: “This was OVS’s best performance so far in four years of competitive robotics.”
Last month, at the Inter-League Tournament hosted at the Palmdale Aerospace Academy on February 17, Spudnik and Spudbot were ranked 2nd and 4th out of 22 teams after qualifying matches. Joining together as an alliance, they reached the final match and finished as runners-up. This earned them two of seven qualifying spots for the FTC LA/SoCal Regional Championships on March 9.
In addition, Spudnik won a Control Award for innovative thinking in the robot control system, mainly due to the code and documentation written by senior Leo Liang (L15).
This is the fourth year OVS has participated in the FIRST Tech Challenge robotics league. The name of this year’s game was Rover Ruckus, which was space themed and required building a robot that could lift and lower itself from a lander, collect and store minerals in a cargo hold, and place a team marker in a depot.
Both OVS teams ranked near the top of their league during the season with Spudnik placing first out of 22 teams in the combined rankings with Spudbot not far behind.
The season was also noteworthy because OVS hosted an FTC league, League V, at the Greenberg Activities Center at the Lower Campus. Seven teams from different schools and community groups in the Ventura County area met on four Saturdays starting in November and running through January.
In concluding the season, Mr. Sittig and Coach Chris Westcott praised the students who participated this year, and thanked the numerous students, parents, and faculty members who volunteered to make the league events possible.
January 3 – The boys and girls soccer and basketball teams will resume their competitive schedules when the second semester opens next week. Here’s the full winter sports schedule:
|Wed 11/28||at Oak Grove, 3:00 p.m.|
|Wed 12/5||vs Oak Grove, 3:00 p.m.|
|Thur 1/10||vs Thacher JV, 3:30 p.m.|
|Fri 1/11||vs Coast Union, 3:00 p.m. at Lower Campus|
|Sat 1/12||vs Dunn, 2:00 p.m.|
|Wed 1/16||at Oak Grove, 3:00 p.m.|
|Wed 1/23||vs Oak Grove, 3:00 p.m.|
|Sat 1/26||at Thacher JV, 2:00 p.m.|
|Sat 2/2||vs Alumni, 2:00 p.m.|
|Sat 12/1||vs Oak Grove, 2:00 p.m.|
|Wed 12/5||at Besant Hill, 3:00 p.m.|
|Sat 12/8||vs Midland, 3:30 p.m.|
|Fri 1/11||vs Coast Union, 3:00 p.m.|
|Sat 1/12||vs Dunn, 3:30 p.m.|
|Wed 1/16||vs Besant Hill, 3:00 p.m.|
|Thur 1/17||vs Newbury Park Adventist, 3:00 p.m.|
|Sat 1/19||at Midland, 3:30 p.m.|
|Wed 1/23||at Oak Grove, 3:00 p.m.|
|Sat 1/26||at Thacher JV, 2:00 p.m.|
|Sat 1/30||vs Thacher JV, 3:30 p.m.|
|Sat 2/2||vs Alumni, 2:00 p.m.|
Ojai Valley School welcomes riders of all levels, from experienced competitors to beginners and purely recreational riders. Our instructors have experience in hunters, jumpers, equitation, dressage and combined training. At OVS, riding is among our most popular middle school and high school sports. Ojai Valley School is one of the few equestrian boarding schools in California with stables on campus, allowing students to walk from class to the barn to ride nearly every afternoon in place of sports or P.E. classes. Students also have the unique opportunity to participate on equestrian camping trips to ride trails and cross streams in the stunning Santa Barbara back-country.
Students find numerous opportunities to improve their riding skills in a program that emphasizes athleticism, horsemanship, patience, compassion, perseverance, and hard work. Students learn to care for their horses, and enjoy time spent in the barn with close friends — both human and equine.
Learn more by visiting our equestrian overview page.
In keeping with the spirit of the holidays, we want to thank our families, alumni, faculty and friends for their support of Ojai Valley School. As we close our 107th year, there is much to celebrate as we reflect on the accomplishments of our students past and present. We are proud to see our young alumni thriving at universities across the world, and our current students embracing our academic and co-curricular offerings.
In the year ahead, we will move forward with visionary plans to further enhance our facilities on both campuses. We will also explore new course offerings, broaden our community outreach and enhance the unique programs that distinguish OVS from other independent schools. We thank you for supporting these efforts to benefit future generations of students.
The school has seen many changes in the past century. Through it all, OVS has remained firmly grounded in the founding principles of educating the whole child while developing integrity, character, and responsibility – and those principles will always remain at the core of an OVS experience.
On behalf of the entire Ojai Valley School community, we wish you a safe and enjoyable holiday season.
Michael J. Hall-Mounsey
Head of School, Upper Campus
Head of School, Lower Campus
By Jaclyn Sersland, Class of 2019
What was one of the most challenging experiences you’ve faced, and how has it shaped who you are today? Seniors across the country face this thought-provoking question when filling out their college applications, but several Ojai Valley School seniors knew perfectly what to talk about: the Thomas Fire.
The Thomas Fire started on December 4 of last year and struck the Upper Campus the following day, impacting the lives of all OVS students and faculty. The fire destroyed two signature buildings — the girls’ dorm and the science and technology center — and damaged various other facilities and structures.
On top of all the challenges junior year brings, the Thomas Fire certainly added to the list. But despite the adversity, OVS seniors took their experiences from the fire and used them to create a topic for their college essays and supplemental questions.
Lilli Trompke wrote about the fire in relation to Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible. Being inspired by its metaphorical definition, she used it as the source of her inspiration for her common application essay.
“Literally a crucible is a melting pot, but metaphorically it’s a challenge that is so difficult, so hard, that it melts [people] down to their very core,” Lilli said. “I didn’t think about it that much then, but then I wrote my essay about how only months after, the fire actually became my crucible. It was a pretty big challenge because I lost so much and all my friends and our entire entire community lost so much and it really melted us all down to the small community that we are.”
Part of the essay required Lilli, a boarding student from Germany, to write about the experience. But she also had to elaborate on how she grew despite the tragedy. “I learned that in times like these, we need leadership, and I realized that I needed to step up,” Lilli said. “I’ve never really been a leader, but I learned that I needed to step out of my comfort zone here.”
At least a half dozen OVS seniors have referenced the fire as part of their college applications. College Counselor Fred Alvarez said those references have ranged from heartfelt stories of items lost to the fire to terrifying re-creations of the hours in which the fire marched toward the Upper Campus and forced students and faculty to flee.
“I wasn’t surprised students used these stories as part of the college application process,” Mr. Alvarez said. “College admissions representatives are always preaching the need for students to be genuine. Well what they got with these essays were genuine, emotional stories that describe loss, but also leadership that emerged in the wake of this devastation.”
Maya Mullins’ essay does exactly that.
A boarding student from Northern California, Maya started the essay with a brief summary about the harrowing hours between when the fire started and when students were told to evacuate from Upper Campus to Lower Campus. But she spent the majority of her essay talking about how the fire changed her and she had to live with that new reality when she returned to school five weeks later. Her writing about the fire paid off as she recently got accepted into one of her top schools, American University in Paris.
“I chose to write about the fire because I thought it was a unique experience,” Maya said. “I wanted the essay writers to see my personal growth and make myself stand out.”
Many dormers wrote about the impact the fire had on them when the fire hit OVS, but Sophia Cluff-Thompson had a different story to share. A local Ojai day student, Sophia wrote about the race against the flames to rescue her horses and other horses in the community.
On the day of the fire, Sophia received a call from her trainer at her barn who was desperately seeking volunteers to help evacuate the horses. With the fire trailing down the hills surrounding her barn at rapid speeds, Sophia hurried to write names on all the horse halters, lead the horses into trailers, and assist in cutting the chain link fence to the golf course to free all the other horses.
Thankfully, the fire didn’t make it to the ranch, but Sophia used this story as the basis of her writing.
“I chose to write about this topic because it had a drastic impact on my life and I wanted to share the story,” Sophia said. “This event has furthered my interest in the veterinary field, and I know I want to pursue this as a career.”
Sophia’s biggest passion is animals, and she hopes the essay readers realize how much she worked to save these horses and put herself in potential danger in the process.
“You never really know how difficult a disaster is until you’re actually put into the situation,” Sophia said. “But I hope they take away that we all put our part in and worked really hard, because we all had similar experiences with the fire and we all made sacrifices during it.”
Yes, the fire destroyed, but it was the brush that needed to be burned to give the flowers deep underneath a chance to flourish, and it was the feeling of community that I felt when we met in the winter to rebuild our school, that gave me the urge and ability to learn to handle the pain, to benefit from it by overcoming it, because really, that was all we could do at that moment. I learned to value what was left, my friendships, my family, a place to live, and, above all, a healthy life.
— An excerpt from Lilli Trompke’s college essay
November 27 – This year’s annual turkey trot was a big success! Students participated in field events such as tug-of-war, three-legged races, and leapfrog. We ended the day with the annual Turkey Trot, which raised nearly $8,000.
This year, we had 100% participation and thus we were able to purchase 18 Thanksgiving dinners for local families in need. Student Council will be donating part of the proceeds to local efforts to support the fire victims in Ventura County and in Northern California. We also look forward to supporting Help of Ojai’s Adopt-A-Family holiday program and buying Christmas presents and dinner for the less fortunate.
Thank you for your Family’s Participation in the Turkey Trot!
November 1 – For the second time in the past four years, the OVS girls’ cross country team has been crowned Condor League champion, putting together a dominating performance at Wednesday’s final league meet.
After a long season of hard work, the OVS girls demonstrated their toughness on the flat, fast Dunn School course, earning seven of the top ten places at the league final. Each of the girls took home a Top 10 medal, and the team finished first overall, qualifying for CIF preliminaries for the second year in a row.
Freshman Paige Muller ran her best race of the season. She led the three-mile race from start to finish, setting a new personal record of 23:19 and finishing in first place overall, earning a gold medal and the title of Condor League champion. Paige is the fourth Condor League champion from Ojai Valley School in the past eight years. She was followed by teammates Bella Slosberg, Avery Colborn, Caspian Ellis, Angela Qu, Jolene Fan and Stephany Nostrant.
“Paige ran out of her mind yesterday — I’m so happy for her,” coach Fred Alvarez said. “But, this was a team effort and it has been all season. These girls have run, sweated, and worked hard for more than two months, and yesterday they got to see the results of that commitment and effort.”
The boys also rounded off their season with incredibly strong performances, with junior Corbin Muller finishing first for OVS, and 13th overall, with a time of 20:18. He was followed by sophomore Ethan Gao, freshman Danny Wang, sophomore Bob Chen and junior Sebastian Wayman-Dalo.
“Every one of these runners made me proud yesterday,” Mr. Alvarez said. “It’s hard to describe just how hard they have worked and how much improvement they have made in the past couple of months. They’ve given me their best.”
As the boys now transition into the winter sports season, the girls have one more week of training before they compete in Riverside at CIF Southern Section preliminaries on November 10.
September 30, 2018
A Message from OVS President/CEO Michael Hall-Mounsey:
An oak tree grows to a certain point, and then nothing visibly happens. It appears dormant. But what we can’t see is that the root system is reaching down, pulling in nutrients and establishing a healthy footing before we see its foliage begin.
Right now, Ojai Valley School, like the oak tree that serves as its symbol, is putting down roots and building a solid base in anticipation of new growth that soon will be visible for all to see.
This growth will be most evident at the Upper Campus where in the coming year we will rebuild the academic and residential buildings that were destroyed in the Thomas Fire. We will rebuild better than before, and take the opportunity to simultaneously construct the long-awaited Student Commons, a two-story dining hall, kitchen and library complex that will be second to none.
In the aftermath of the devastating Thomas Fire, we have the rare opportunity to rebuild in a manner that accentuates our identity, our connection to the outdoors, and our sense of community, while also innovating and enhancing our academic, co-curricular and residential programs, thus elevating OVS to a leadership position among independent schools globally.
But opportunities are only realized by taking action – and I’m thrilled to report that we are now on our way thanks to the generous gift of $1 million to our rebuilding campaign by The Aramont Foundation.
Alumna and past parent Lucila Arango (U84), as trustee of the Foundation, stepped forward this summer and secured this lead gift to inspire others to join in our campaign and to ensure that our dormitory, science and technology center, and commons are built together to truly create a new heart and hub of campus life. (Learn about Luci and her support of OVS in an article in our Family Tree magazine. Click here to read it online.)
Los Angeles-based architect Fred Fisher, a current parent, and his architectural team are developing designs for the new Aramont Science and Technology Center, the Grace Hobson Smith House dormitory, and the new Student Commons. Those initial schematic designs received unanimous approval by the OVS Board of Trustees in September, and we are well on our way to breaking ground on this exciting project in the coming year.
For now, I encourage all our alumni, past parents, new parents, students and faculty to join in our campaign to rebuild. Volunteer, make a donation or a multi-year pledge, or learn more about the RESTORE RENEW REBUILD effort by contacting our Development Office at (805) 646-1423 or through the new campaign website.
In the resilient spirit of OVS, the entire school community near and far made a commitment to reopen after the fire and continue the academic program from where it was interrupted. This determination was strongly supported by an immediate outpouring of generous contributions from alumni of every era, as well as parents and friends.
Our oak tree is ready to sprout new branches and foliage thanks to the generosity of our OVS family! We look forward to working together to provide an even better student experience for generations to come!
November 1 – This month, OVS equestrians will hit the trails for their first camping trip of the school year. Riders, horses and their instructors will explore the Santa Barbara County backcountry trails for three days and base camp in the evenings.
Ojai Valley School is one of the few equestrian boarding schools in California with stables on campus, allowing middle and high school students to walk from class to the barn to ride nearly every afternoon, in place of sports or P.E. Students find numerous opportunities to improve their riding skills in a program that emphasizes athleticism, horsemanship, patience, compassion, perseverance, and hard work.
Students begin riding in prekindergarten and continue riding once a week through third grade. They then have the option to continue riding in place of P.E. or a sport through 12th grade.
As a United States Pony Club Riding Center, OVS gives students the opportunity to earn their Pony Club certification, as well as to ride with the OVS Competitive Team. With a highly experienced staff and barns and arenas at both our Lower Campus (PK-8th grade) and Upper Campus (9th-12th grade), OVS welcomes students of all skill levels. Outdoor camping trips are part of the riding experience.
Learn more: OVS Equestrian Program