By Mike Mahon, Assistant Head of School, Lower Campus
The weeks before the Holiday break play a critical role in shaping the culture of our community. Academics are busy and challenging, fine arts classes are putting their culminating projects together, sports seasons are in full effect, and we are all preparing for Campus Lighting and our well-earned vacations with family. In times of high activity, we get ample time to interact with each other in diverse environments and through the medium of shared purpose. I couldn’t be more proud of the manner in which the student body has juggled these activities while maintaining their care for each other and the community.
This year, we are celebrating the holidays a little differently, while at the same time reviving community traditions from the past. For years, we celebrated our final day of school with grade-level holiday parties and a Secret Pals gift-sharing activity. Fun was had by all, but our student leaders identified the sustainability of Secret Pal gifts as being outside our ideals of environmental sustainability. They also felt the effort spent on finding a viable gift for under $5 was missing the higher purpose of the holidays: connecting with family and community. This year, they have decided to take donations and raise funds to create care packages for the homeless population in and around Ojai. All students are participating in creating the care packages in this school-wide community service project. The selflessness of these students reminds me of the true spirit of the holidays and gives me great hope for their role in shaping a sustainable future.
We also revived a tradition in the resident program by recreating the first Campus Lighting at OVS. Prior to the performing arts extravaganza we all have come to know as Campus Lighting, this evening was once a resident-only celebration of the holidays. This year we revisited this simple yet meaningful tradition. We had a beautiful dinner, enjoyed student readings related to the holiday season, and decorated our very own OVS treehouse. Students observed the moon and stars with our telescope, and we all enjoyed each other’s company. It always surprises me that with all the high-tech distractions our modern students have to navigate, how quickly they can switch gears and enjoy a wholesome, traditional activity just like we did when we were kids.
On behalf of the entire faculty and staff, we wish you and your family a relaxing and joyful holiday vacation. I can’t think of a better way to launch the season than by attending Campus Lighting on Thursday, December 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the Greenberg Activity Center. We have some special surprises for you to enjoy this year, and I have a feeling this will be a Campus Lighting to remember.
I hope to see you there!