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September/October 2017 Volume 12 Issue 1

Word of Mouth Inside this issue: Familiar Faces in New Places


President’s Welcome to OHA Picnic


Honor Court


Trail Runners


New Faces on “The Hill” Mr. Butt



Boy Scouts


Special point of Interest Seniors took to the high ropes course and custom three person drop swing at High Gravity Adventures in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Pictures on pages 12—13.

By Donovan Saine A new member of the Oak Hill family is Mr. Butt. He received his bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s of education in administration and supervision from the University of Virginia. Mr. Butt taught at Fork Union Military Academy for nine years before arriving at Oak Hill. He found out about Oak Hill

by meeting Dr. Groves at a conference. This conference opened up a door to a job at Oak Hill and Mr. Butt joined us as the Director of Student Affairs. Mr. Butt brings his wife, Nicole, and their three children, Elijah (9), Lydia (6), and Jude (4), along for the ride. He is looking forward to making Oak Hill more of a

community environment and helping students reach their full potential. Although Mr. Butt is firm, he (Continued on page 2)

Opening Activities By Steven Eng The start of a new school year at Oak Hill Academy means there were numerous familiar faces as well as a lot of new ones on

campus. With this being the case, it was important to make sure that all the students learned to get to know each other, especially their specific grade

level. Oak Hill did just that with the welcome opening (Continued on page 7)

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New Faces on “The Hill” cont. also has a fun side to him as well. He loves to go running, canoeing, hiking, and camping.

Mr. Duranko By Idy Sow Mr. Duranko is a new teacher in the math and science department this year. He is from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and attended Penn State. He received his bachelor's and master’s degrees in electrical engineering and a teaching certificate in mathematics and physics. He previously taught at Salem High School in Salem, New Hampshire. His hobbies include riding road bikes, tennis, astronomy, and reading. He and his wife, who he met at Penn State, have been married for 30 years. They have two daughters and are now on their third pair of dogs -- a golden retriever and a collie. He learned about Oak Hill

Academy online and says he likes its mission and location, and wanted to become part of the Oak Hill family.

Mr. Castro By Hannah Stowe Mr. Castro has begun his first year at Oak Hill Academy. He was born in Cuba and adopted from there as a baby. He attended Princeton University, where he received his bachelor’s degree, and later attended Rutgers University, where he received his M.Ed. Mr. Castro then went on to attend the University of Kansas School of Law and earned his J.D. degree. Mr. Castro enjoys bingewatching documentaries on Netflix in his spare time. He likes to read and loves animals. When he was in high school, he liked sports of all kinds. He loves the

mountains and fresh air. He also enjoys music of all genres and loves history. Mr. Castro is excited to be a part of Oak Hill Academy’s 139th year.

Mr. Hunnewell By Jackson Redmon Mr. Hunnewell is returning to “The Hill” after several years away. He teaches engineering, calculus, chemistry, and oversees college credit precalculus. His family, which consists of his wife and two daughters, lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Besides teaching, Mr. Hunnewell enjoys skiing, drawing comic book(Continued on page 3)

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New Faces on “The Hill” cont. style art, pottery, and gardening. This year, he most looks forward to exciting new projects in his engineering class that he hopes energize his students and build students' knowledge in math and science.

Mrs. Cannon By David McCormack Mrs. Cannon is one of the new additions to Oak Hill Academy. Originally, she hails all the way from Tacoma, Washington. There she worked at another boarding school teaching math and helping in the campus store. Coming to Oak Hill Academy, this is her first time serving in the role of a resident manager; she also teaches math. Mrs. Cannon believes that the biggest difference between Oak Hill and her previous

school is the culture. Here she says people are more charismatic and give much more positive reinforcement towards fellow faculty and students. As members of the Oak Hill community, let's welcome Mr. and Mrs. Cannon and their lovely children, Adeline (7) and Jehu (4).

Mr. Cannon By Mikun Adewole A new face on “The Hill” is Mr. Cannon, the new resident manager in Ingram 2nd along with his wife, Mrs. Cannon, and their two children Adeline and Jehu. Before their arrival to Oak Hill, Mr. Cannon and his wife taught in a boarding school in Oregon where he strove

to aid students in accomplishing the goals they desired to achieve. He is extremely excited by the opportunity to help students grow up and become the men that they’d like to be in future. Mr. Cannon also looks forward to meeting many new people from many different parts of the world with diverse experiences and cultures varied from his own. Mr. Cannon is a sportsloving man who enjoys a calm swim and taking cross country trips across America. His immense love for basketball is going to lead to hearing a lot of his voice at the basketball games! He also enjoys reading and spending time (Continued on page 4)

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New Faces on “The Hill� cont. with his lovely wife and children.

Mrs. Bussey By Promise Sam Mrs. Bussey is new to the OHA family. She lives on campus with her four kids and husband in WilliamsBerry. At the age of 17, she started attending college and after a few summer classes graduated early. Mrs. Bussey earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in fashion merchandising. She is currently working on a master's degree in Ministry to Women and Next Generation Ministry. She enjoys being with her family, eating sweet food

and reading books. She is a fan of the Fablehaven book series. The OHA diverse community is something she enjoys seeing around campus. She plans on homeschooling her children until they are ready for middle school. She chose OHA because she wants her kids to grow up in a safer and more diverse community.

Mr. Bussey By Reggie Ekong Mr. Bussey is one of two new resident managers in Williams-Berry Hall that bring a radiant vibe and pleasant ambiance alongside his wife, Mrs. Bussey, and their four children -- Addy, Adah, Gideon, and Allona. Before their arrival at Oak Hill Academy, Mr. Bussey and his wife were houseparents in Pennsylvania where he played a parental role for the children in his old workplace. He aspires to do

something similar here at Oak Hill by making kids better students both inside and outside the dorms. He looks forward to seeing students he has house parented graduate and move on to better things in their lives. Mr. Bussey is a hardworking husband, lover of music and sports, especially boxing, and enjoys family time. The students of Williams-Berry Dorm and people of Oak Hill should be excited to see what the Busseys have in store for this academic year. There are a lot of positive moments to come and people to create them. Fortunately Mr. Bussey and his family will be here to share them with everyone and perhaps create them.

Mr. Gloss By Donovan Saine Mr. Gloss is a new resident manager and member of the Oak Hill

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New Faces on “The Hill” cont. community. He graduated from the University of Virginia and became a data technician. Mr. Gloss learned about Oak Hill through the Southern Teachers Agency. He believes that his positive impact will lead students to become successful. Now that Mr. Gloss is here, he will take advantage of going to basketball games and interacting with the community. In his free time, he enjoys watching football games and is a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Another thing that Mr. Gloss enjoys is riding bikes and he has already made it to the top of Kendrick Mountain.

Ms. Hall By Lauren Dellinger Ms. Hall is returning to Oak Hill as the Hough Dorm rotator after eleven years away. During her time away, she has worked for Blue Ridge Job Corps Center in

Marion, Virginia. She was a Career Preparation Counselor/Coordinator and Advanced Training Coordinator. Ms. Hall graduated from Carson Newman College with a BA in English and social sciences. Close with her family in Marion, she enjoys animals (especially dogs) and volunteering at rescue shelters, cooking, and traveling to NYC frequently. Ms. Hall is excited to return to “The Hill” and looks forward to a fun year. She says “the people at OHA are what make it a special place!”

Mrs. Perkins By Sarah Smith Mrs. Anita Perkins is the new school nurse. She has been a nurse for 30 years and attended nursing school at Twin County School of Practical Nursing. She and her husband have two children: Nick, a wildland firefighter, and Caysee, who is in paramedic school. Some of Mrs. Perkins’ hobbies include hiking, cooking, and reading. She also volunteers with the Rugby Rescue Squad as an Emergency Medical Technician (Basic) and enjoys helping them with fundraising events. Mrs. Perkins says that she looks forward to seeing all our bright faces whenever she is on duty.

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Familiar Faces in New Places on “The Hill” Mr. Hill

Ms. Brooks

Mrs. Rodgers

By Gloria Lan Chris Hill, Oak Hill Academy class of 1994, has now been working at the school for ten years. He formerly worked as the art teacher, and also taught social studies. Later in his career, he accepted the position of ESOL teacher and college advisor. Mr. Hill now holds the position of Director of Administrative Affairs overseeing campus communications and professional development. He continues to serve as a college advisor and international student advisor. He is married to Kristina Hill who works at the Campus Store. Together they have two children, Maddy, who is a VCU graduate, and Liam, who is soon to be an alumnus of Oak Hill.

By Lauren Dellinger Ms. Brooks joined Oak Hill Academy’s community five years ago. She has been a resident manager for the time she has been with Oak Hill and she has also served as the girls' tennis coach for four years. Ms. Brooks attended Emory & Henry College with a focus in Mass Communications (Broadcasting) and a minor in Recreation. Currently, Ms. Brooks is working with ESOL students and will soon complete her advanced certification in ESOL. Before arriving at Oak Hill, she worked in the telecommunications field. Like most students who are looking for a change of scenery, Ms. Brooks was looking for a career change and was drawn to Oak Hill Academy. In her spare time, she enjoys coloring, hot air balloon watching, spending time with her mother, and listening to music! She cherishes her decision to join the Oak Hill community. She is delighted to be a part of the campus family here on "The Hill."

By Liam Hill Yvonne Rodgers has lived on the campus of Oak Hill Academy since 2004 alongside her husband Mr. Rodgers, Director of Admissions. She has worked as the uniform manager since 2015. Mrs. Rodgers is in charge of distributing, organizing, and taking care of the school's uniforms. At the end of last year, Mrs. Smith, who formerly worked in the school academic office, retired from the position of Academic Registrar. Mrs. Rodgers took over that position during the 2017 summer school term. Mrs. Rodgers has enjoyed the involvement she now has on “The Hill,” even starting to share her love of dance with students by initiating the OHA Dance Team. She will also be the head coach of the cheerleading team. Mrs. Rodgers loves her life on “The Hill” and has enjoyed building relationships with staff and students.

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Opening Activities


(Continued from page 1)

activities. On Sunday, August 27th Oak Hill invited team members from the Blue Ridge Learning Center to come and work with students during various activities. For the welcoming activities, students were split up by grade level, and each class went to a different location on campus to work with their particular Blue Ridge staff members. Once students were in their correct group, everyone got into a variety of unique, engaging, and fun activities. The Blue Ridge staff did an excellent job of incorporating activities which helped the students learn how to communicate, work together, get to know each other, and plan. Though groups may have

been doing different activities and focusing on different aspects of growth, each grade level likely had students who were challenged and pushed out of their comfort zones while also learning important life skills. The wide range of activities included asking questions to get to know each other, jumping rope as a team, putting in order pieces of a puzzle, and many more amazing activities. All in all, the opening activities led by the Blue

Ridge Learning Center were a huge success as the students got to have a lot of fun and meet new people. It was a great way to kick off a new start for the school year.

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President’s Welcome to OHA Picnic By Chase Vincent and Sven Patzer The President’s Welcome to OHA Picnic is an annual event hosted by Dr. and Mrs. Groves at Noonkester Park. It is a tradition that allows them to meet all of the new students and greet the returning ones. The overall evening is meant to be a relaxing “getting to know you better” situation. The night kicked off with a dinner that featured a

variety of dishes that ranged from barbecue ribs to shrimp salad. After the meal ended, the school advisory teams competed for a Saturday school off the following weekend. The competitions were intense and involved a variety of challenges that included finding out where various students hailed from, a cookie eating challenge, putting together a puzzle,

playing cornhole, and making a clay bust of Mr. Duranko. After tallying the scores, Mr. Pease’s advisory placed third, Mr. Hebold's advisory came in second, and Mr. Duranko’s advisory finished in first place. When speaking on the event, Senior Hannah Stowe said: “My favorite activity is the cookie challenge because I like seeing everyone laugh while they watch students compete to eat the cookie first!”

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Honor Court By Alice Wang Oak Hill Academy’s Honor Court is made of a small group of carefully selected students who have shown responsibility, honesty, and integrity during all their school years here. The administrators, including Ms. Richardson, Mr. Bunn, and Mr. Butt, supervise Honor Court, and the administration holds the final decision depending on the case. Members of the Honor Court go through training about how to judge their peers and receive instruction from their supervisors. They review the Honor Code and make judgments on the actions of students to enforce the moral code of the school. The members are seen as

leaders of the school. Honor Court’s job is to help the school and the student body to bring justice and fairness to the campus in dealing with moral infractions from students. Honor Court members for 2017-2018 include Hannah Stowe, Chase Vincent, Liam Hill, Mikun Adewole, Bolu Salami, Carittah Cai, and Alice Wang. “I’m very excited to work with this year’s Honor Court; so far they are doing an excellent job of handling their duties on the court. Remember it’s usually easier to take the

honest path in the short term, and certainly would benefit the students in the long term,” said Mr. Bunn. The Honor Court was established by the Student Council several years ago to create a healthy environment in which the students want to live. The purpose of Honor Court is to set a basic understanding of morality through the Honor Code in the student body. Violations of the Honor Code such as lying, stealing, cheating, and harassing behavior create a dishonest atmosphere that negatively influence the school and students. The Honor Court is meant to help build valuable character within students, and thus benefit students in the long term.

Trail Runners Club By Jackson Ritter As many people may have noticed this year, most teams require the players to run the mile from the gym to the Oak Hill sign and back. But what happens if you enjoy running long distances, but get bored running the same hill every time? That’s where Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Butt come in with the Trail

Running/Cross Country Club. The club is for students that want to run three miles or more on multiple trails, back roads, local 5k’s, and even possibly high school cross country events. The main goal for this club is to be an outlet for people passionate about running and to also help people have a new experience. If you love

running, enjoy the outdoors, or just want to find a new outlet then you should come to the front of the archives building at 8:00 Sunday morning. It's open for everyone, so show up and run.

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Volleyball By Carittah Cai and Anna Spencer The volleyball team began to practice when the school year started. The team has several returning players and many new girls as well. The volleyball team had many fun and great games already. The players are working hard to do their best in both practices and games. This year’s volleyball team will only get better and have a fantastic season. The head coach of the team is Mr. Knudsen, and the assistant coach is Ms. Sargent. The players are Jingyi Cai, Jada Clay, Lauren Dellinger, Montana Francis, Lydia Haimanot, Abigail Kirkland, Bailey Madison, Jade Renaud, Anna Spencer, Kyra Souliere,

Alice Wang, and Becca Woolums. The manager for the team is Tobi Salami. So far this season, the volleyball team has played in three matches. Their first game was played against Cornerstone Christian Academy. The team lost the first set 13-23, and the second set 16-25. However, we won the third set 25-15 and the fourth set 25-16, but lost the fifth set 715. In our second game, we played against Tennessee Avenue Christian Academy. We lost our first set 14-25, the second set 7-

25, and the third set 15-25. We played against Wise County Christian Academy for our third match. In the first set we lost to them 2125, but won the second set 25-22. In the third set we lost 14-25, and in the last set, we lost 17-25. The team has played hard and they hope to continue doing their best in every game.

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Soccer By Bolu Salami and Jeremy Eng The Oak Hill soccer season started off early with only a week in between resumption and their first game on the 9th of September. Luckily for them, with new additions to the team, they appeared to have a more highly skilled squad at the disposal of Coach Josh Doan. The ‘new and improved’ team includes: Andy Kim, Ty Franzus, Christian Carter, Shiryu Kataoka, Edson Knapp, Eyoab Knapp, John Ross Hale, Sebastian Rojas Castelblanco, Mutsukou Hiyoshi, Kalab Haimanot, Promise Sam, Lioul

Woldemariam, Bridget Hoffman, Andre Loveland, Wes Needelman, Pape Faye, Sven Patzer, and Connor Cummings. The captains are Bolu Salami and Mikun Adewole and the managers are Kanja Kagiri, Roderick Claybrooks, Kneiko Brimmer, Connor McQuinn, and Jackson Ritter. Even with the new squad, however, the soccer team still suffered some difficult losses in their first tournament. They lost out in a tough battle in the first round and had an intense draw against Alleghany County that ended in 2:2 stalemate in the second round. Nevertheless, things

are looking up for the team as a new found togetherness seeps into the squad and pulls them forward toward a smooth end to the season.

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Boy Scouts By Ty Franzus Winter is coming, but you cannot have winter without fall, and you can’t have fall without Boy Scouts. This year marks Oak Hill's 25th anniversary of hosting the Boy Scouts of America. Since Boy Scouts began at Oak Hill, over twenty-five Eagle Scouts have been through the program. Becoming an

Eagle Scout is the highest rank you can have in Boy Scouts, so this is quite an accomplishment. Being a scout involves many activities, many of which help the boys learn and grow. The Boy Scouts from the local area and OHA meet with Mr. Bunn, their troop leader. Here they discuss camp outings and activities. This year, activities include kayaking, shooting sports, camping, hiking, backpacking, orienteering, rock climbing, and much more. The troop is even planning a trip to Bull Island in Charleston for a camp outing.

OHA offers many enriching and entertaining activities. But being a Boy Scout here offers experiences you won’t get anywhere else. From the physical challenges to the emotional growth, OHA gives these scouts the opportunities they want and need.

High Gravity The senior class headed to High Gravity in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. As part of the Senior Seminar series, the students worked together to master the high ropes course, Ninja Warrior

themselves and supported each other. Jackson Redmon stated, “This was fun and I would definitely do it again!” course, and the threeperson giant swing. David McCormack stated, “This was a stellar experience that brought me closer to my fellow classmates.” Throughout the morning, students challenged

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Class of 2018 at High Gravity

Word of Mouth Student Newspaper

Reporters Mikun Adewole

Gloria Lan

Sarah Smith

Carittah Cai

David McCormack

Idy Sow

Lauren Dellinger

Sven Patzer

Anna Spencer

Reggie Ekong

Jackson Redmon

Hannah Stowe

Jeremy Eng

Jackson Ritter

Chase Vincent

Steven Eng

Donovan Saine

Alice Wang

Ty Franzus

Bolu Salami

Liam Hill

Promise Sam

Layout & Design Team Duke Hext

Will Richardson

Edson Kanpp

Sebastian Rojas Castelblanco

Faculty Advisors


Mikki Haas

Lisa Finklea

Matthew Pease

Cyndie Richardson

2017 sept oct student newspaper  
2017 sept oct student newspaper  

Oak Hill Academy school newspaper