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Word of Mouth VOLUME 9, ISSUE 5

Homecoming INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Homecoming Spirit Days



A Speaker for Passion 2 3

Character Stage 8 Ski Trips




Warrior Weekend #2


College Lab


By Tamsin Smith On January 31st, 2015 Oak Hill Academy had an alumna return to speak to the student body. After a heartwarming introduction by Mr. Finklea, Karen Covington came up to the stage. She began with her high school experience at Oak Hill Academy. She explained that she was in the same position as many of the students were today. She was upset and angry with her life and she just did not have a good overall attitude about school. The one thing she loved was soccer. She had been playing it almost her whole life and she had developed a passion for it. She then went on to explain how passion is a very important part of life. After raising their hands expressing that they had a passion to rap, students Franklin Diala and Jay Vega went to the stage to perform an on the spot rap for the students. Before Ms. Covington started speaking, every student got an envelope with a few items in it for them to keep. They received a

wooden heart, circle, rectangle, star and a mirror. Each object represented something different. The heart represented what was in your heart what was your motivation; the circle represented what makes you complete; the rectangle represented your first goal; the star represented what lets you shine; and, last but not least, the mirror represented the fact that you are the only one that can make things happen for yourself and that you are the creator of your own destiny. Soon after Ms. Covington explained what each object meant, she revealed a framed picture of an eagle. She went on to say that the eagle represents freedom and that with freedom you can create a life for yourself. She then had around ten Oak Hill students come up and stand behind a piece of string that stretched over an estimated 15 ft. representing an eagle’s wingspan. Natalie Leach said that the comparison was astonishing to her. Overall, the message that Ms. Covington shared with the student body was extremely inspiring.

Homecoming Parade & Tailgating By Frankie Knox On January 31, 2015, Oak Hill had its first ever Homecoming event. Homecoming kicked off with a parade. Many groups, including Leadership, the Spanish Club, the Drum Ensemble, the “Over the Hill Alumni Gang” (Ted Ussery, Sarah Ussery Sink, Mary and Otis Reamy, and Ann Brown), and the Alumni Warriors helped create floats for the parade. The Spanish Club performed a Zumba routine and the Cheer Team fired up the crowd with a new pom pom routine. The Equestrian Team displayed their riding skills and horses. Mrs. Bonham was the queen of the parade in honor of her 38 years of teaching at OHA. After the parade, everyone enjoyed tailgating. The Meriwether-Godsey staff provided hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, and kabobs fresh from the grill. The Spanish Club made



empanadas and Otis and Mary Reamy provided Brunswick stew. Tyler Whiteman, a junior at Oak Hill, was the Homecoming DJ spinning the tunes for all to enjoy. At 7:00, the crowd poured into Turner Gymnasium for the Gold Team game. During halftime, the Cheer Team stunted and treated the crowed to another new pom pom routine. This was followed by Dr. Groves’ challenge to the alumni. Needing to score five lay-ups, five free throws, and five three-pointers, the alumni used their basketball skills to earn the student body an hour delay the following Monday. The alumni were successful in their challenge and the students gratefully “caught some extra z’s”. Many are already looking forward to next year’s Homecoming.

Spirit Days Minute-to-Win-It The Minute to Win It Games kicked off the Spirit Days competitions this year. The first game was the Toilet Paper Mummy Wrap. This event required two participants for each class. One participant held the toilet paper roll on a post while the second participant wrapped himself or herself up in the paper by only rotating his or her body. Participants included 8th & 9th grade: Abby Osho and Amber Deane; 10th grade: Kennedy Barber and Jake Levinson; 11th grade: Jonathan Harris and Samantha Kibble; and 12th grade: Amy He and Veronica Hartley. The winners of this game were the seniors. The second game was Empty the Tissue Box. This game also required two participants from each class. Each participant emptied a tissue box with only one hand. When he or she completed one box, the next participant started his/her box. Participants included 8th & 9th grade: DJ Grayson and Michael Poteat; 10th grade: Sallie Jones and Alpha Diallo; 11th grade: Jason Shi and Sandy Chen; and 12th grade: Aislinn Curtis and Jose Castro. The winners of game two were the 8th and 9th graders. The third game was the Straw and Cotton Ball Relay. This relay required four participants. Each participant needed to suck up a cotton ball with a straw and proceed to take

that cotton ball across the gym and place it in a cup. Participants needed to tag the next runner in a relay fashion. The team with the most cotton balls in 60 seconds won. The participants included 8th & 9th grade: Jon Pysh, Fawaz Ilupeju, Anna Spencer, Chris Richmond; 10th grade: Davi Lazard, Bello Razgallah, Bakh Pearl, Abby Blair; 11th grade: Brendan Cruz, Quinn Arrowood, Hannah Bruck, David Lord; and 12th grade: Daniel Giddens, Charlie Favor, Justin Hill, and Will Hall. The winners of this game were the seniors. The fourth game called Moving On Up required just one participant. The player needed to move a red cup from the bottom of a stack of 39 blue cups to the top and back to the base using alternating hands. The first team to complete the task was the winner. For this game, participants included 8th & 9th grade: Ms. Bronson; 10th grade: Hollis Cooner; 11th grade: Rodney Miller; and 12th grade: Terrence Phillips. The winner was Terrence Phillips. The Wobbly Catch Game required three participants. One player held eight stacked cups while the other player bounced a ping pong ball into the top cup. When the ball was caught in the cup, the cup and ball went to the bottom of the stack. The third player (ball boy or ball girl) made sure the first player always had a ball to bounce. The first team to catch eight balls won. Participants in this event were 8th & 9th grade: Fan Yu, Brian Wu, Chris Li; 10th grade: Lindell Wigginton, Ty-shon Alexander, Andrew Hall; 11th grade:

Kane Schrader, Sam Ballard, Tara Griffith; and 12th grade: Andrew Fleming, Joshua Reaves, and Austin Kloberg. Winners of this game were the juniors. The Egg and Spoon Relay was the final game of this event. Each team had 12 participants. Using a spoon, each player transported a boiled egg across the gym floor and placed it in an egg carton. If the egg was dropped, the player had to start over. Teams were not allowed to hold the egg on the spoon. The first team to fill up their carton won. The participants included 8th & 9th grade: Iso Mbaye, DJ Grayson, Jackson Ritter, Jackson Pfeifer, Jon Pysh, Michael Poteat, Fan Yu, Brian Wu, Anna Spencer, Abby Osho, Mark Fu, Chris Richmond; 10th grade: Kennedy Barber, Livy Maes, Lindell Wigginton, Abby Blair, Tyshon Alexander, Josh DeLacerda, Bello Razgallah; 11th grade: Oliver Lynch-Daniels, Joe Hampton, Quinn Arrowood, Tori Levine, Hannah Bruck, Tara Griffith, Jay Vega, Rodney Miller, Frankie Culhane, Jonathan Harris, Kwande Bawa, Graeme Majors; and 12th grade: Alex Collins, Christine Richardson, Linda Goins, Reed Mingione, Oluchi Chigbu, Yonatan Belayhun, Cheyanne Molina, Chris Benson, Eden Sileshi, Trey Woody, Jae Mayweather, and Andrew Awantang. The winners of the Egg and Spoon Relay were the sophomores.



Spirit Days Feats of Strength By Eden Sileshi and Shaolong Wang On February 11th students and staff participated in the Feats of Strength competition as part of Spirit Days activities. There were push up, plank, wall sit, iron lady and last man/woman standing competitions. The final event of the day was the bat relay. For the push up competition teams had five minutes to complete as many pushups as possible. For the plank the participant held a plank position for as long as possible. For the iron lady the participants held 5 pound weights at shoulder height with straight arms for as long as possible. For the wall sit the participants held a wall sit



position for as long as possible. For the last man/woman standing, the participants had to decline into the squat position and hold for 5 seconds and repeat. The last game was the bat relay. Each participant had to do four full rotations on a bat and then run down the court. Grade 8/9 had Mr. Riedl, Mark Fu, Brian Wu, and Fan Yu for the push up competition. Jackson Ritter was in for the plank; Abby Osho was in for the wall sit; Mrs. Bronson was in for the iron lady; and Fan Yu was in for the last man standing. The 10th grade participants included Coach Meagher,

Lindell Wigginton, Coach Finklea and Ty-Shon Alexander for the push up competition; Andrew Hall for the plank; Alpha Diallo for the wall sit; Davi Lazard for the iron lady; and Amanda Crenshaw for the last woman standing. The junior participants were Ming Ogden, Oliver Lynch-Daniels, Alex Kulp, and Miles Agbaje for the push up competition. Kane Schrader was in for the plank; Matt Gruhn for the wall sit; Hannah Bruck for the iron lady; and Steven Wang for the last man standing. (Continued on page 5)

The senior participants included Frankie Knox, Josh Yoon, Peter Hatakeyama, and Andrew Fleming for the push up competition; Terrence Phillips for the plank; Josh Reaves for the wall sit; Meme Ogbuefi for the iron lady; and Daniel Giddens for the last man standing. The last event of the day was the bat relay. The 8th and 9th grade participants included Tomas Syrovatko, Mike Poteat, Fawaz Ilupeju, Sun Xiaolin, DJ Grayson, and Jackson Pfeifer. The sophomore participants were Bello Razgallah, Livy Maes,

Hollis Cooner, Josh DeLacerda, Zero Zheng, and Lolo Ogbuefi. Junior competitors were Miles Preacher, Tara Griffith, Rodney Miller, Franklin Diala, Will Messer, and Frankie Culhane. Competing for the seniors were Terrence Phillips, Will Hall, Dwayne Bacon, Andrew Fleming, Andrew Awantang, and Josh Reaves.

9th graders. The winners for the plank and iron lady were the sophomores. The winner for the last man/woman standing competition was the juniors.

The winners for the push up, wall sit, and bat relay competitions were the 8th and



Spirit Days Quiz Bowl By Marie Crickman The celebration of Oak Hill Academy’s Spirit Days continued with the annual Academic Quiz Bowl. The Quiz Bowl consisted of a series of questions in the categories of literature, social studies, science, math, pop culture, and Oak Hill trivia. Each question was point weighted differently. Mr. Bunn was the host of the Quiz Bowl. He created the questions, presented them on the screen for the audience to view and reported the scoring. The student body was separated by class for spirit events; seniors, juniors, sophomores, and 8th and 9th

graders. Each class selected a team to represent them on the stage during the Quiz Bowl. The requirements for the teams this year were one faculty member, one girl, one boy, and an additional student.

social sciences category, placing second.

The seniors selected Mr. Landow, Konstantin Kreutzer, Sidney Thomas, and Chris Benson to represent them. The seniors won the math, science, and pop culture categories, winning the Quiz Bowl overall.

The 8th and 9th graders selected Mr. Riedl, D.J. Grayson, Anna Spencer, and Jackson Pfeifer to represent them. They won the Oak Hill trivia category, placing fourth.

Representing the sophomores were Mr. Finklea, Josh DeLacerda, Natalie Zhang, and Jake Levinson. They won the

Competing for the juniors were Mr. Julius, Henry McMahon, Chris Sears, and Tamsin Smith . They won the literature category, placing third.

Each team collaborated effectively to answer the questions to the best of their ability.

Dress-Up Days By Hope Bernier January marked the beginning of Oak Hill’s Spirit Days. On Friday of every week, students dressed up for various themes: Black and White Day, Red and Gold Day, School Spirit Day, Multiples Day, Pajama Day, and Wacky Tacky Day. All students were very excited to participate in these dress-down days and to wear some of their own clothes!



Spirit Days OHA Idol By Jae Mayweather In OHA Idol, each class picks a song/songs and lip syncs to them. This year, there were lots of varieties of music between each class. The underclassmen performed Gold Digger. Students participating for the 8th and 9th graders were Abby Osho, Ismaila Mbaye, Chris Li, Sun Xiaolin, and Micheal Poteat. The sophomores performed a variety of songs including; “The Cup Song,” “Do you want to Build a Snowman?,” “Stay with Me,” “Harlem Shake,” “Blank Space,” “Best of Both Worlds,” and “We’re All in this Together.” Participating for the sophomores were Abby Blair, Davi Lazard, Natalie Leach, Lolo Ogbuefi, Josh DeLacerda, Lindell Wigginton, Ty-Shon Alexander, Kennedy Barber, Jeremiah Brenner, Alpha

Diallo, Andrew Hall, Ms. Luksic, Ms. Guarino, and Shawn Roache. The junior participants included Frankie Culhane, Matt Gruhn, Will Messer, Brendan Cruz, Alex Kulp, Tori Levine, Tamsin Smith, Hannah Bruck, Sandy Chen, Michelle Guo, Tara Griffith, and Samantha Kibble. The group performed “Summer Nights” from Grease. They dressed like the Greasers and the Pink Ladies. The seniors, including Terrence Phillips, Daniel Giddens, Peter Hatakeyama, Chris Benson, Trey Woody, Josh Reaves, Sidney Thomas, Cierra Thomas, Amy He, Meme Ogbuefi, Jae Mayweather, Mr. Pease, and Ms. Ann Brooks performed a variety of songs including “Respect,” “Blank Space,” “We Will Rock You,” “Billie Jean,” “Jump,” “Let it Go,” and “Gangnam Style.” The girls in the senior group wore matching jackets and jeans with Sperry’s and the guys wore their own costumes going along with the theme. At

the end of the competition there was a surprise performance of “Lean on Me” put together by Ms. Bronson. Meme Ogbuefi, Rodney Miller, Abby Osho, Percy Smith, Frankie Culhane, Chris Benson, Jae Mayweather, Tamsin Smith, Kwande Bawa, and Ms. Bronson were the performers. The winners for OHA Idol were; in first place the sophomores, second place the juniors, third place the seniors, and fourth place the 8th and 9th graders.



Character Stage By Percy Smith “Life is about Progress, not Perfection.” – Unknown March starts a new month of OHA’s latest addition to the “Word of Mouth” called the Character Stage. Character Stage is dedicated to spotlighting a character trait each month of the school year. The March focus is Transformation. Transformation can be defined as a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance, as well as, any small or minor changes of any aspect. Oak Hill consistently demonstrates many aspects of Transformation. These are shown not only as a school community, but from person to person. Whether it is personal success, grades, or overcoming challenges, there are many demonstrations of Transformation.



The Character Team will be spotlighting these transformations in many ways, such as “student of the week” nominations, shout outs in homeroom, and even positive letters and phone calls home. Oak Hill highlights Transformation in many ways. September 1st, 2014 was the first official day of school for the student body. On this day all the students were classified as “new.” In a very short time the student body transformed from a group of strangers to a family where everyone knows each other. Transformation doesn’t just have to be personal it can also be a community aspect as well. Every senior is required to give a “Senior Devotion.”

This year’s recurring theme from devotion to devotion was personal transformation. Seniors talked about great transformations they have faced. Some examples include going from homeschool to attending Oak Hill Academy, being adopted, and the ever-sosensitive subject of overcoming grief. These are all great examples of personal transformation. At Oak Hill there are always opportunities for transformation. Always remember life is about progress, not perfection, and that transformation is different in everyone’s eyes.

Ski Trips By Anthony Benedetto There are many off campus activities at Oak Hill Academy. One of the most popular off campus activities is skiing. It’s a good experience to get off campus and have fun skiing. During the ski trip you stop at ChickFil-A for dinner then proceed to Appalachian Ski Resort in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Everyone that goes on the ski trips enjoys them. Quinn Arrowood enjoys the trips because he gets to eat at Chick-Fil-A, meet new people, and work on his skiing skills. Even if you have not skied before, the trips can still be for you because you can get a lesson or learn on your own with multiple slopes to choose from. If you haven’t tried skiing before, now is the time.

What’s New in the Library By Bushe Ramabu The library has hardly any additions during the course of the year as most new materials are added during summer break. Ms. Bronson has a fiveyear plan for the library so everyone can expect continued improvements in the future. The biggest addition to the library this year has been to the fiction section, where over 500 books have been added. These books range from the complete set of ‘Pretty Little Liars’ to the ever so popular four book set of ‘Twilight.’ There have also been additions in the non-

fiction section ranging from autobiographies of greats like Martin Luther King, Jr. to fun books to read like “The Guinness Book of World Records.” The library continues to be a growing attraction for the students because of the resources and working atmosphere there. Additionally, Ms. Bronson has extended the library hours so students may have night access to complete work. Evening study hall in the library is held at least three

nights per week and is almost always full. The library celebrated Black History Month during February and will observe Read Across America during March. Ms. Bronson will also be hosting a book fair during Parents’ Day in April.



Warrior Weekend #2 Friday Trips & Events By LB Wingate Warrior Weekend is when Oak Hill students sign up for a variety of activities both on and off campus. There were several off campus trips for dinner on Friday. These included trips to Chipotle with Mr. Knudsen and McDonalds with Ms. Brooks. Austin Kloberg said that he likes the variety of trips offered during Warrior Weekend and that Chipotle was a great way to start his weekend. Tamsin Smith said that it was fun to go off campus and spend time with friends. Mr. Slemp also offered a hiking trip around campus Friday evening. Additionally, he made dinner for the students participating.

Saturday Trips & Events By Aislinn Curtin There were many trips on Saturday of Warrior Weekend. As a result of the February snow, some of the activities had to be changed, but the staff made sure that everyone still had a fun time. Frankie Knox said, “Going to Osaka Restaurant with Mrs. Smith was a lot of fun and the food was great.” Other trips included lunch at Bojangles and a Charlotte Hornets NBA game. There was a special evening social with a Texas Hold’em Tournament as well as many other games. There were



also lots of snacks and drinks for everyone to enjoy. Christine Richardson said, “Even though I didn’t get to play poker as much as I would have liked, I still had a great time.” Everyone on Saturday had fun whether they went on an off campus trip or stayed on campus.

Warrior Weekend #2 Sunday Trips & Events With the snow earlier in the weekend, Sunday was overflowing with Warrior Weekend trips. Students went snow tubing at Hawk’s Nest in Seven Devils, North Carolina. They enjoyed an hour and a half of sliding down the mountain and riding the magic carpet back to the top just to go down again. Another winter related trip was ice skating in Boone, North Carolina. Students on this trip enjoyed skating for two hours followed by a delicious dinner at Cracker Barrel. Aislinn Curtin shared, “I tried ice skating for the first time. It was exciting! Everyone was so helpful.” Students could attend services at Young’s Chapel Baptist Church or accompany Mr. Knudsen to Blue Ridge Fellowship in Woodlawn, Virginia, which is a Christian non -denominational church.

The afternoon provided several opportunities to ‘eat out.’ Students traveled to Bojangles and Makoto’s Japanese Restaurant. Other students went to get their nails done at Today’s Nails in West Jefferson, North Carolina and grabbed a bite to eat at Wendy’s. When asked about the trip, Ms. Richardson stated, “We had a great time!” Another group of students went to Boone to play indoor tennis and ate dinner at Chipotle. “I enjoyed getting to play tennis,” commented Nahum Belayhun. For students who stayed on campus, there was a Sports Contest Social. Students won prizes from Coach Smith participating in a knockout game, half-court shots, and 2 v 2 basketball half-court games. Many students left the social with new ‘limited edition’ Oak Hill gear. It was another very successful (despite the snow) Warrior Weekend!

College Lab By Josh DeLarceda Oak Hill Academy holds an after-school resource program called College Lab. College Lab is for seniors who are working on their college applications, essays, and submissions to colleges of their choice. What makes College Lab special is that Mr. Hill and Mrs. Groves, the academic/college counselors, are there to help students complete their applications and essays to the best of their ability and to give them the best chance of acceptance into college. The class is not exclusive to seniors. Mr. Hill explained that college applications are progressively becoming more important earlier than they used to be; in response, the lab is open to sophomores and juniors September through March. Mr. Hill and Mrs. Groves encourage students to come into College Lab very frequently. They work hard to keep constant communication between themselves and the students’ parents. As Mr. Hill said, “We work in partnership; it takes teamwork.” Because of this effort over 80% of all seniors are accepted into the college of their first choice. Oak Hill Academy has a 99% college acceptance rate. PAGE


Alphabetically: Yonatan Belayhun, Anthony Benedetto, Hope Bernier, Marie Crickman, Frankie Culhane, Aislinn Curtin— , Josh DeLacerda, Will Hall, Amy He, Frankie Knox, Jae Mayweather, Sam Mussen, Terrence Phillips, Bushe Ramabu, Eden Sileshi, Percy Smith— , Tamsin Smith, Shaolong Wang, and LB Wingate. - also a Photojournalist

The Mission of Oak Hill Academy Proofreaders Lisa Finklea Cyndie Richardson

Faculty Sponsor Mikki Haas

2635 Oak Hill Road Mouth of Wilson, VA 24363 Phone: 276-579-2619 E-mail:

Oak Hill Academy is a coeducational, Baptist affiliated, boarding/day school committed to excellence in education and adolescent development in a non-military setting. The mission of Oak Hill Academy is to offer a safe, secure, nurturing environment for girls and boys needing a change in school, peer, community, or family relationships. Oak Hill provides a structured collegepreparatory program to students in grades 8-12. Our curriculum challenges the brightest student and encourages those who are unmotivated, who are underachieving, or who are experiencing difficulties in their school setting.

2015 feb march student newspaper  

Oak Hill Academy student newspaper

2015 feb march student newspaper  

Oak Hill Academy student newspaper