The Arrow Spring 2018

The Arrow


The Arrow is published by the Development Office of Oak Hill Academy and is distributed to alumni and friends of the Academy.

Oak Hill Academy • 2635 Oak Hill Road Mouth of Wilson, VA 24363 276-579-2619 • President Dr. Michael D. Groves

Board of Trustees Rev. Robert Bailey

Mr. Kenny Bowen – ‘78 Mr. Richard Burke – P‘07 Rev. Danny Collins Mr. Larry Conner Mr. Ralph Davis Rev. John Duvall Mrs. Sidney Rose Fant Mr. Todd Fuller Mr. Dennis Gambill Mrs. Susie Garner

Mr. Don Gibson Dr. Wayne Hager

Mr. Rodney Halsey Dr. Thomas Harvey Mr. Joel Jackson – ‘94 Mrs. Theresa Lazo

Mr. Marty Parks Mr. Carl Rosberg Mr. Tom Saunders Mr. Jim Tapp Ms. Mary Thomas Dr. Dennis Throckmorton Mr. Taylor Vaughan

P – Parent of OHA Alumnus

President’s Message The waitress seemed a bit down. Of course pouring coffee for an old man like me in a breakfast room in a Holiday Inn probably isn’t the greatest job in the world, but I thought I would speak to her and try to brighten up her day. So, cheerily, I asked, “How are you today?” Sour and indifferent, she responded, “I’m here.” She muttered it with a tone that meant I could fill in the rest of her unhappy response … as in “I’m here—of course I am miserable.” Or, “I’m here—in this place—how else could I be?” I believe it is likely that if this young lady had been elsewhere, she would have had the same reaction to the same “How are you?” question. Serving coffee in an upscale restaurant? “I’m here.” At home without a job at all: “I’m here.” A student at Oak Hill Academy? Hmmmmm … You see we work with students who have sometimes been unmotivated, so I’ve noticed this sentiment at times on our campus. On their way to school, a smiling effervescent, joy-giving Mrs. Joy Groves greets them: “Good morning, how are you?” Disinterested student, doesn’t look up, no eye contact: “I’m here.” Because adolescents can sometimes equate struggle with unhappiness they may not yet be aware that when they arrived here they were likely unhappy, and now that they are here? Well, they may still be unhappy. All people, but especially adolescents, tend to become oblivious to the fact that “here” is not what controls us—we control our own level of contentment in all settings. It is not about being “here.” Or there. Or anywhere. I have developed a certain mantra for life: “Grow where you are planted.” Life takes us many places and we can easily fall into the trap of spending our whole lives waiting or hoping or wishing to be elsewhere, thinking that the problem is “here.” So I tell students and faculty and staff, you are already on your way to becoming who you need to be, so grow where you are planted. And right now you are planted here, so grow here, start becoming who you need to be right here. So, HERE we are, HERE at this place, at Oak Hill Academy, in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia. HERE we embrace a certain kinship with Samuel from the Old Testament, who answered, “ Here I am, Lord .” Like Martin Luther on the cusp of history some 500 years ago, “ May God help me, here I stand .”

What and where is this HERE that is Oak Hill Academy? HERE is where lives are changed every day. HERE is where we live with and among 150 teenagers. HERE is where we roll up our sleeves and get to work and go to church and study and learn and eventually

turn a tassel. HERE we are The Turning Point. HERE at the little school in the mountains of southwestern Virginia, HERE we’ve been turning kids around since 1878. So, feel free to ask me, or ask any number of our faculty and staff, ask us: “How are you today?” I doubt you will receive a disengaged “I’m here.” Instead, know that we are indeed right here on “The Hill.” Of course some days HERE is not an easy place to be and we need your help. And some days HERE is akin to being in a foxhole and we need your prayers. And some days HERE is the most rewarding place one can ever imagine. Regardless of the day, make no mistake about it: HERE we are, Lord, and HERE we stand. At Oak Hill Academy, for 139 Years, we’re right HERE.

Follow Dr. Groves on Twitter @DrGrovesOHA.

Parents’ Days 2018 Parents’ Days 2018, held Apri1 19th and 20th, was a great showcase for Oak Hill Academy’s students. Parents witnessed first-hand all of the activities and ways our student body is involved in life on “The Hill.” Thursday afternoon’s events included a career fair, an in-house horse show, a basketball exhibition and performance by our cheerleaders, recognition of the spring sports teams, a half-court shot contest, and a college application presentation. Everyone then enjoyed the Parent/ Student Banquet in Vaughan Dining Hall. The evening was capped off with performances by the OHA music students and a play by the drama club. Parents attended classes with their children on Friday morning followed by the President’s Forum. There was also a student art show throughout the two day event. The annual Parents’ Days silent auction was once again a big success raising approximately $4,500 with the proceeds being used toward social media training and resources. Oak Hill Academy would like to thank all of the parents and supporters who donated and bid on items and made cash contributions to the auction!

Donor Appreciation Events Each year Oak Hill Academy hosts two Donor Appreciation Events. On February 24, Dr. and Mrs. Michael Groves hosted the annual Donor Appreciation Dinner. The evening began with a social time and performance by OHA music students. Dinner and a gold team basketball game followed. The Donor Breakfast was held graduation morning on the lawn at the Hough Dormitory Picnic Shelter.

The dinner honors members of the Oak Club and Founders Club and the breakfast honors the members of the Oak and Founders Clubs as well as members of the President’s Club, the Red and Gold Club and our Legacy Associates. For more information on becoming a member of one of these giving circles or any other giving circle, please contact Tim Henry in the Development Office.

College Acceptances 2018 Albright College Alma College

Loras College Lynchburg College Lynn University Manhattan College

Texas Southern University Tyler Junior College United States Military Academy (West Point) University of Arizona University of California at Merced University of California at Riverside University of Cincinnati University of Colorado at Boulder University of Connecticut University of Florida University of Illinois Chicago University of Indiana at Bloomington University of Kansas University of Kentucky University of Mary Washington University of Massachusetts at Amherst The University of Mississippi University of North Carolina at Asheville University of Oregon University of South Carolina University of Tampa

Alvernia University American University Appalachian State University Arcadia University Atlanta Metropolitan State College Atlanta Technical College

Massachusetts College of Art and Design Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Mercy College Messiah College Michigan State University North Carolina State University Norwich University Nova Southeastern University Penn State University Pratt Institute Queens College

Barry University Barton College Belmont Abbey College Belmont University Bluefield College Blue Ridge Community College Brevard College Bridgewater College Borough of Manhattan Community College California Polytechnic State University Pomona Campbell University Campbellsville University Castleton University Central Arkansas University Chipola College Christopher Newport University Clark Atlanta University Clemson University College of Charleston Colorado State University Dalhousie University (Canada)

Radford University Randolph College Randolph Macon College Regis University Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Sacramento State University San Diego State University San Francisco State University Santa Fe College School of the Art Institute Chicago South Plains College St. John’s University St. Lawrence University St. Mary’s University (Canada) Roanoke College Rutgers University

University of Tennessee University of Valley Forge University of Virginia at Wise Virginia Commonwealth University VCU School of the Arts Virginia State University Virginia Tech Walters State Community College Waynesburg University Wentworth University Western Carolina University Western Michigan University Wingate University Xavier University York College

DePaul University DeSales University East Carolina University East Tennessee State University Elon University Emory and Henry College

Stetson University Suffolk University Syracuse University Tampa University Temple University

Ferrum College Flagler College Full Sail University Furman University Gannon University

George Mason University Grand Valley University Hampton University High Point University Hollins University Houston Baptist University James Madison University Keystone College Lebanon Valley College Lees-McRae College Liberty University Lone Star Community College Longwood University

Spring Time

on “the Hill”

Graduates Receive Scholarships and Honors The following members of the Class of 2018 were recognized during graduation weekend for receiving academic scholarships: Liam Hill – George Mason University (Virginia Program Grant); Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU Tuition Grant, Gateway Grant, Virginia Merit Award); Radford University (Red and Blue Scholarship); Virginia Tech (Virginia Program Grant) Mikun Adewole – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Garnet Baltimore Scholarship); Virginia Tech (Virginia Tech Grant)

Kristina Kennedy – Alvernia University (Heritage Award); Mercy College (Trustee Scholarship) Xinhui “Gloria” Lan – Wentworth University (Merit Scholarship) Abby Osho – Alvernia University (Achievement Award); Keystone College (Trustee Award); Gannon University (Academic Merit Award) Sven Patzer – University of South Carolina (Merit Award); United States Military Academy at West Point Appointment Jackson Redmon – United States Military Academy at West Point Appointment

Easton Branch – Tampa University (Dean’s Scholarship); Stetson University (Merit Scholarship); Randolph Macon College (Merit Scholarship)

Jingyi “Carritah” Cai – School of the Art Institute Chicago (Merit Scholarship)

Morrissa Chandler – Radford University (Virginia Program Grant); Ferrum College (Freshman Scholarship, Ferrum Grant); George Mason University (Virginia Program Grant); University of Virginia at Wise (Virginia Merit Award) Connor Cummings – Randolph Macon College (Dean’s Award); Randolph College (Academic Merit Scholarship, Randolph College Grant)

Jackson Ritter – Brevard College (Alumni Scholarship)

Santiago del Valle Castro – Stetson University (Merit Scholarship)

Bolu Salami – Xavier Scholarship (Xavier Merit Scholarship); Albright College (Lion Achievement Award, Presidential Scholarship); Lebanon Valley College (Board of Trustees Scholarship)

Lauren Dellinger – Emory and Henry College (Trustee Scholarship, Equestrian Scholarship)

Sarah Smith – Longwood University (Merit Scholarship)

Reginald Ekong – Bridgewater College (Trustee Scholarship); University of Illinois Chicago (UIC Merit Scholarship) Jeremy Eng – Barton College, Wingate University, University of Valley Forge, Waynesburg University, Campbellsville University, and Messiah College (Academic Merit Scholarships) Steven Eng – Castleton University, Norwich University, University of Valley Forge, Alma College, Lynn University, Randolph College, Regis University, and York College (Academic Merit Scholarships); Lynchburg College (Founders Scholarship); Roanoke College (Faculty Award, Roanoke College Award); Emory and Henry College (Trustee Scholarship) Zihao “Mark” Fu – St. Johns University (St. Vincent De Paul Scholarship); St. Lawrence University (International Merit Scholarship); Massachusetts School of Art and Design (Merit Scholarship); Suffolk University (Dean’s Scholarship); Furman University (Dean’s Scholarship); Pratt Institute (Merit Scholarship)

Hannah Stowe – Queens University (University Scholarship)

Xian “Alice” Wang – Bridgewater College (International Scholarship, BC Diversity Grant, BC Dream Award) Wolfgang Willard – Elon University (Academic Merit Scholarship); University of North Carolina at Asheville (Academic Merit Scholarship) K’Juan Williams – Stetson University (Hatter Scholarship); Xavier University (Xavier Award, Muskie Grant); Barry University (Merit Scholarship)

The following student-athletes were recognized for receiving scholarships:

Keldon Johnson – University of Kentucky Keyontae Johnson – University of Florida Eddy Kayouloud – Central Arkansas University David McCormack – University of Kansas Christian McCray – Chipola College Will Richardson – University of Oregon Idy Sow – San Francisco State University

Alumni Weekend – July 14 & 15, 2018

SATURDAY, JULY 14 10:00-11:00 a.m. – Registration and Social Time (Ussery Archives Room) Alumni and former students are invited to gather in the Ussery Archives Room (lower level of Fletcher Chapel). Coffee, doughnuts and light refreshments served. Free event. 11:00-11:50 a.m. – The State of the Academy, “OHA Then and Now,” presented by Oak Hill Academy President, Dr. Michael Groves (Fletcher Chapel) A presentation by Dr. Groves followed by a question and answer session 12:00 noon – Tolling of the Academy Bell and singing of the Alma Mater (Alumni Campus Store Deck) The Academy Bell will be chimed in memory of alumni and former faculty and staff who have passed followed by the singing of the Alma Mater. 12:30 p.m. – “Welcome Back to the Hill Alumni Picnic and Celebration” (Mississippi Pavilion at Noonkester Park) Join us for an afternoon of friends, fun, food, and fellowship. Alumni, past faculty and staff, current students and faculty and staff will come together to celebrate all that is Oak Hill! We will have numerous food stations, games, contests, and music for your enjoyment! Class and group pictures will be taken at this time. This is a free event for all alumni, former students, and their families.

7:00 p.m. – The Hill on a Midsummer’s Night Fundraising Dinner (Tent at the Hough Dormitory Picnic Shelter) Please join us for a delicious dinner and live music in a picturesque setting. Tickets for this event are $100 per person or a table of six for $500. Advance reservations are required and should be made by Tuesday, July 10. Specific details to follow. SUNDAY, JULY 15 9:45-10:45 a.m. – Floating Continental Breakfast (Vaughan Dining Hall Patio) Free Event! 11:00 a.m. - Worship Service at Young’s Chapel Baptist Church All are welcome to join us for lunch in Vaughan Dining Hall immediately following the worship service.

Brandi Blackman – ‘78-‘79 209 Southfields Road Panama City Beach, FL 32413 Alan Goldstein – ‘79 Vermont Alan has managed hotels and resorts since 1989. Andrew Gilleland – ‘87 8356 Stone River Drive Frisco, TX 75034 Alumni News

Deaths Rex Anderson – ‘55 Derwood Jefferson – ‘55 Randall Lane – ‘59 Margaret Anderson Burdette – ‘67

Ben Buchanan – ‘98 335 Smallwood Drive Chapin, SC 29036 Rob Huff – 2001 Thailand

Dennis Wise – ‘69 Pamela Key – ‘72 Bruce Verne – ‘72 Richard “Rip” Ruffner – ‘75 Raymond Wharton – ‘78 Charles Cook – ‘87 Amy Hoyle – ‘92

Rob has spent the last 12 years in Thailand, learning the language and making it home. He finished his mas ter’s degree and has a wonder ful career making people’s lives better.

Fallon Wagner – ‘02 Tanner Mikesh – ‘04 Marcella Minter – Staff

Faculty Recognized for Years of Service

The following faculty and staff members were recognized for their service to OHA during the graduation ceremony. These folks have a combined 145 years of service to the Academy and her mission! Reagan Andrews – Technology – 5 years Ann Brooks – Resident Manager, ESOL Teacher – 5 years Michael Burns – Resident Manager – 5 years Taylor Conn – Resident Manager, Music Teacher – 5 years Chris Tobin – English Teacher – 5 years Chris Hill – Director of Administrative Affairs, College Advisor – 10 years Michael Groves – President – 20 years Doug Turnmire – Campus Minister, Religion Teacher – 25 years Tim Henry – Director of Development and Equestrian Program – 30 years Steve Smith – Director of Athletics, Gold Team Coach – 35 years

Each year members of the graduating class are selected as Honor Graduates. These students serve as speakers for the graduation ceremony. Following is the text of their speeches.

A Word to the Class of 2018 – Bolu Salami

M orning esteemed guests, students, families of the graduating class, faculty and staff. My name is Bolu Salami and today, I will be speaking to the gradu ating Class of 2018. When my sister and I first moved to America and decid ed with our parents that we would be attending Oak Hill Academy, there really wasn’t a lot to be said between us. We had already been in boarding school for three years prior to moving to the states and the only form of change we would be experiencing would be of the envi ronment and in some ways, the culture. However, there was one thing in particular that stood out at the time that my parents said to me as they dropped me off at the chapel on that Saturday evening two years ago in August. They told me, “Always remem ber from whence you came, and never forget the son of whom you are.” I initially felt a lot of resentment toward that statement because I thought it was an indirect but warning reference to my past, the mistakes I once made and the disappointments that they did not want me to bring to them ever again as parents. As the years have gone by though, I see more clearly. I can now see that their message was supposed to con stantly let me know that no matter where I end up in life, I can never leave my roots and those who raised me into the person I am in this moment. I believe that, technically, since everyone is a product of their past experiences, then everyone is in a fundamental way, ‘raised’ by everyone and everything that we come into contact with. For us, the Class of 2018, the entities that “raised” us includes Oak Hill Academy. Whether or not we like it, there is an inescapable fact that in more ways than one, this school is a part of our history both individually and as a group. This means that it is our duty as soon-to-be alumni of this school to carry on a positive image and representation of where we’ve passed the last year or few years by living our best lives after we leave. As we transition into the next phases of our lives, the only thing we can be certain of is change and in life, change creates opportunity, a blank slate. The only source of adversity is in our attitude toward change, whether we treat it negatively and try to reject it, or we welcome it and accept it because whether or not we want change, the fact remains that life will constantly move until the day we die. The majority of people become used to their natural stream of life. Mentally, people live well in a sta tus quo situation, at home, work, school, and in day-to day life as well but as a lot of us already know, “variety is the spice of life” and without change, there can be

no variety of experiences to shape one’s character. So, I would like to implore us all to embrace the changes that occur in our lives wholeheartedly as we transition from high school into our various next stages in our journeys toward the desti nies that await us. Now standing up here today, I’m aware of the stereotypes, prejudices and negative expectations surrounding us, the graduat ing class of 2018, as teenagers, young men and women moving precariously through adolescence, gathering experience and wisdom in order to pursue careers and life goals as adults, making and surviving the mistakes that come along the way. Yet, I strongly believe that each and every one of us has the means to achieve great things beyond even our wildest dreams. I once read that one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to decide, without apology, to commit to the journey that is life and not to the outcome. I also do be lieve that the only way to achieve this and be satisfied is to find out that which we believe is great work, and the only way to do that is to love what you do. Some of us already know what this is; some of us already know what direction they’d prefer life to take, but for those of us like me, who still don’t, or are trying to make the key decision, let us never settle. Until we find our niche, let’s never settle. Thank you.

A Word to the Class of 2019 – Mikun Adewole

I continued to get more involved in this new com munity and tried to do as much service as I could for others. As the days went by, I noticed that many announcements in homeroom had been made con cerning leadership opportunities and off-campus trips such as Lamb’s Table and Feed America, ac tivities that gave an opportunity to help people who are less fortunate than me. I delved into these activi ties and found myself feeling more purposeful than I had prior to my arrival on “the hill.” The feeling of making a difference and being involved in the com munity made me hungry for more and I took advan tage of any opportunity to contribute positively to the community. I ended up being selected for stu dent leadership organizations and achieved a lot of things during my time here. Becoming involved in the community and doing all that you can to be a leader among your peers will help shape you into the student you want to see yourself become and that you want your family to be proud of. Don’t feel scared to pursue leadership opportunities and make an impact on the campus. It will not be simple and may be overwhelming at times, but when you look back at all your achievements, I promise it will be worth it. Nonetheless, disappointment remains a part of life and things will not always go according to plan. Yet, your ability to overcome disappointment and how you react to it will determine what caliber of stu dent and adult you will become. I have always seen myself as a “smart” guy and always thought I was capable of attending Stanford University, my dream school. I applied and along with 40,029 others, I got rejected. This “foreseeable” rejection actually sur prised me and I felt severely disappointed in myself and my lack of ability to achieve my goals. I was probably the most crushed I had been in a long time and honestly, I still haven’t completely gotten over the rejection. But, my father told me “you should not let the disappointment that comes out of something you cannot control make you forget about the good that could come out of the things you can control.” I then remembered that my work ethic and desire to do better is what matters and not the college I at tend. Accordingly, I was able to move past my frus tration and be admitted to Virginia Tech’s Class of 2022. Remember that you must focus on the good in every situation and concentrate on the things you are good at, not allowing yourself to get discouraged when dissatisfaction happens, because trust me it will. Good can always come out of the bad in your life, but only when you let it. Students in the Class of 2019, I encourage you all to start your own stories and determine what kind of student you need to be. I hope every person in this gymnasium has a joy-filled day. Congratulations to the Class of 2018, we did it! Thank you.

G ood morning families of the graduating class, faculty and staff, the Class of 2018 and my main audience for today, the Cclass of 2019. If I ever told any one of you that my road to graduating was an easy one, I am sorry to inform you that I lied. Believe it or not, my time at Oak Hill was full of challenges that I had to overcome in order to succeed and was every thing but easy. When I first arrived at Oak Hill, I did not know what to expect and more-or-less took a shot in the dark. I knew a few people before arriving on campus and quickly made friends. Howev er, I still did not fully understand the dynamic of the school and how things worked. I had a hard time making it to places on time and often got frustrated with the short lunches and copi ous amount of mandatory events. Nonetheless, I remained calm, respectful and always asked questions when I got confused. This helped me acclimate myself to the Oak Hill community and allowed me to flourish and become the stu dent I wanted to be, making the most of the sit uation given to me. Therefore, it could be said that the first step to being a successful student on “the Hill” is to never lose your composure and to remain cool in the face of a challenge. This will always work for your benefit and has been a dominant factor in the formation of my personality.

O f course the first thing I need to say to faculty and staff is “thank you.” There are too many people, things, and moments I had here that I absolutely appreciate. I need to thank all of you for welcoming, helping, and caring for me. I could not have become the person I am today without any of you. First of all, you created a welcoming and positive environment for me ever since I arrived here. I feel welcomed wherever I go on this campus. The ladies in the cafeteria always have a smile on their faces and ask “what do you want, sweetie?” The one thing that surprises me the most is that they remember people’s names. The feeling of being recognized is great. I am always so happy whenever they can say someone’s name. I need to thank them for making us food, making the cafeteria clean, and welcoming us every day to make us feel at home. Academically, teachers welcome all students. They are always ready for students to ask them questions. As an international student, I often have difficulties with my class because of my language problem, and I am a shy person. Especially in my first year, I was always too scared to speak up and ask questions. Many teachers know that I am very shy, so they asked me, “do you need help? Feel free to come by my classroom anytime.” I appreciate my teachers offering me help. Now I feel comfortable asking questions in class. After school, students often hang out in the campus store. The two people in the store always have smiles on their faces. They ask and care about how your day was, and they can always make my day better by simply chatting with me and making me feel welcomed. Whenever I need good advice, I know that there are trustworthy staff available for me. Second, all the faculty and staff here have helped me. You either helped me with specific problems or simply helped my days to be better. Faculty and staff here always have positive attitudes toward everything. They encourage people to explore and do great things. Before I came to Oak Hill, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. After an art class in my first year, I recovered my interests in art. My interests in art turned into a passion, and that led me to the road of becoming an artist. I would not decide to become an artist without the encouragement from you. Also, since I had language problems, it took me a lot more time and effort to study. I was confused about everything around me, so of course I could not understand anything the teacher was talking about. My teachers were willing to help me with anything even when they needed to sacrifice their personal time. I used to stay A Word to the Faculty & Staff – Jingyi “Carritah” Cai

in the classroom until dinner time. Thank you so much for being so patient with someone who was so difficult to teach. You have also helped me with my social life. I had trouble making friends because I was not confident about myself. One of my teachers told me “don’t worry. People would love to be friends with you. They don’t make friends because of the language they speak or what they look like. They make friends with those who have good character, and you have that.” I felt more confident after that conversation. Now I am more outgoing and more comfortable expressing myself. The faculty and staff here truly care about each individual. They make personal connections with us outside of the classroom. They have one goal, to make us become better people and to guide us to a bright future. My teachers can tell when I am not happy. They try their best to make me feel better by doing little things like telling me a joke or giving me candy. They know where I am going next year for college because they care about my future and life after Oak Hill. Many of them have wished me good luck and asked me to send them emails about my life. The connections between the staff and students do not end after graduation. I know that they do not stop caring about students, and I will definitely miss them. I cannot fully express my feelings, but there are two things I want to tell all the staff members here. Thank you for everything, and I love you all.

A s an international student at Oak Hill Academy for three years, I learned that I have to work hard for my dream and for what I want to achieve. It is not easy for a foreign student to adapt to the curriculum in an American high school, especially when there is a difficulty for you to communicate well and to comprehend academic materials in a second language. During my first year at Oak Hill, I stayed up almost every night to review what I learned that day. My only goal at that time was to be able to speak English fluently. I mispronounced many words that embarrassed me to the point I no longer had the courage to speak in class. My English teacher offered me tutorials every day after school to help advance my English, and I conquered this awkwardness by constantly learning and gaining more confidence through experience. I talked to many people although I did not know what topic I should start with, I was clear that I had to take baby steps in order to be good at something. I realized that I had to be patient, and have the right attitude when facing my strengths and weaknesses. I joined volleyball, soccer, cheerleading, leadership, youth group and praise band to get involved as much as I could in the school. Taking difficult tasks intentionally strengthened me as a person. I realized that always doing a little more than required will only help you reach a higher point on the road to your dream. I believe that working hard and knowing how to manage your stress properly is the key to success. As an international student, sometimes you have to pay more to achieve your goals. It may seem to be stressful, overwhelming, or tiring at some point, however, the hard work accumulates in the end and will become the best support that you build for yourself. I want to tell all international students: learn how to be truly independent. Only when you start thinking about who you want to be and where you want to go, the path for you can become clear. There was a time that I doubted myself if I could do it because I was under too much stress, I did not know what my goal should be, and whom I should become. I talked to Dr. Groves, Mrs. Groves, Ms. Richardson and Mrs. Crede, and they encouraged me to be myself and continue to do my best. They are mentors for me, their advice was carefully taken by me, and I truly appreciate the help I could get from these people. I experienced many internal and external conflicts within myself, and I bet many other international students have as well. Being homesick, feeling lonely because your parents are far away from you, and simply just doubting if you can do the work. If you have felt the same at some point, here’s some advice for you. First, be active with everything around you. Try your best to get involved with the culture around you. A Word to the International Students – Xian “Alice” Wang

Second, make friends who share the same values and hobbies with you. You need support from your peers. Sometimes, friends point out both good things and bad things about you. Learning how to face your strengths and weaknesses is a skill. Third, be confident in yourself. You are the one to achieve your dream, so you have to be the one who takes pressure and pride in yourself. As long as you believe in yourself, you can conquer all obstacles you face. Lastly, smile to yourself every day. You have to know that being strong and confident is not just in other’s eyes, but in your own. You deserve a smile to yourself after the hard work you put in. Always remember that each one of you has potential in achieving something in life. Your struggles will only make you stronger and smarter on your way to success. I hope every one of you will continue to work hard for your goals and dreams next year, with a positive attitude every single day.

A Word to the Family – Liam Hill

G ood morning. I stand before you today with a word to the parents and families. Parents and families are the unsung heroes of every person that has ever done anything great. Think about the people that you most admire in your life. Do you attribute any of their greatness to the people that raised them? Often, we do not even think about the fact that there were most likely at least two people who were influential in making a person who they are. If a person is great, remember that greatness is not achieved in a vacuum. There were people who sowed the seeds of greatness. For us it is often difficult to imagine the sacrifices that families must make to get their children to this point in life. You as parents have sacrificed a lot for your child and displayed your love and caring for them through your desire for them to succeed and grow. We as teenagers may not realize it now, but the sacrifices you made to al low us to attend Oak Hill Academy have benefited us greatly in our future endeavors. As a student of a faculty member I have benefited from my parents being here all the time. But I also saw the sacrifices they had to make to allow me to be successful here. Four years ago when I was given the choice to go to Oak Hill by my parents I wasn’t entirely sure if I’d be able to fit into the school environment, but as I stand here, I am grateful that I’ve been able to create a strong family-like bond with the students and faculty here. I believe that each student here today can agree with me in saying that Oak Hill serves as a home away from home. To the parents and families who have come here today to witness this grand event, God bless you. Today you will be presented with your child’s last memories of high school. Graduation is the next step in our journey through this life. As my dad always tells me, and has told many of my classmates, life doesn’t get easier as we move forward, expectations are higher, and the stakes are greater with each passing year, parents and a family support system will continue to be a crucial part of our development. Graduation is a step in the right direction. It’s a new beginning to the even larger unwritten story of our lives. Moms, Dads, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, we’re going to need you by our side, we will continue to need emotional support, love and empathy as we try to navigate the next few years … and yes, we’ll probably need some money along the way. Nothing in life is easy, and very few things come for free, but with your love and support we know we can continue to grow and succeed. So, thank you for being there when we needed you the most, and thank you in advance for all the times we will need you in the future. I think I speak for all of us when I say, we are grateful to you for all the sacrifices, seen and unseen. I leave you today with a poem from Ann Tran, A Parents Heart.

When you feel like breaking down or crashing in,

Who do you turn to, to forgive your sin?

When you cried your lonely tears,

Who will be there to fight your fears?

And when it feels like no one would understand,

Who was there to hold your hand?

There are people whom you can’t replace,

They’re the ones who gave you your face.

They’ll love you through thick and thin,

They show you the light from deep within.

You see, my friends, there’s no one who can love you more,

Than your very own parents, that’s for sure.

Always remember that this is true,

That wherever you go, your parents will be there for you.

Thank you, we love you all.


The Warriors opened the season by winning their first 35 games. They finished the season with a record of 44 wins and 2 losses. Season highlights included winning tour nament titles at the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions in Springfield, Missouri, the Chick-Fil-A Classic in Columbia, South Carolina, and the Les Schwab Invitational in Portland, Oregon. The Warriors finished the season ranked #3 nationally in every major high school poll. Keldon Johnson and David McCormack were both named to the prestigious McDonald’s All American team. Five seniors earned Division 1 scholarships: Keldon Johnson/Uni versity of Kentucky, David McCormack/University of Kansas, Keyontae Johnson/Uni versity of Florida, Will Richardson/University of Oregon, and Eddy Kayouloud/Central Arkansas University The 2017-18 Warriors (Gold Team) continued the long-standing winning tradition of the Oak Hill Academy basketball program, and they made their own mark as one of Oak Hill’s most exciting teams.

Wish List

Other Giving Opportunities (partial list)

Are You Interested in Filling a Specific Need at Oak Hill Academy?

Alumni Campus Store Tile


Memorial Oak Tree


Current Giving Opportunities

Named Display Case for Ussery Archives Room Named Scholarship Fund Technology Upgrade for Library

GoPro Cameras Laptops for teachers

$200 each $750 each

$5,000 $10,000 $15,000

Smart Boards for Classrooms Minivan for Student Activities

$3,000 - $5,000 each

$20,000 $22,000

Faculty Professional Development Fund

6 Horse Trailer 12-Passenger Van


for Student Activities Halsey House Remodel and Upgrade


Gifts in Kind*


Backhoe or backhoe attachment for tractor Used vehicles, vans, or minivans 6 Horse Trailer *Potential gifts are evaluated by the school for condition and suitability prior to acceptance.

For more information or to make a gift to Oak Hill Academy, please contact Tim Henry, Director of Development, at 276-579-2619 or

First Class Mail U.S. Postage P A I D Permit #2 Mouth of Wilson, VA

Oak Hill Academy 2635 Oak Hill Road Mouth of Wilson, VA 24363 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED The Arrow

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