Back in the Saddle

The first weeks of the 2017-18 school year have come and gone.
You can feel it in the air: That back to school energy. Gearing up, getting ready, starting fresh. Building on the experiences and lessons of the previous year. It was a busy couple of weeks, in the best sense of the word.

Girls’ tennis, boys’ and girls’ cross country, football, volleyball, and even a group of astronomy students came back to campus early for a week of focused, intensive training and work. The sports teams were also able to take advantage of a revamped weight training room and a new yoga/stretching platform in addition to the fields, pool, and many surrounding trails.

Freshman Arrival Day & All-School Games
The day that the freshmen arrive on campus really marks the first day of the new school year—and the first day that the entire community is back on campus together. Freshmen and their families were greeted by a boisterous welcome wagon of seniors who helped them navigate campus; move into dorms; collect books, camping gear, and horse tack; get introduced to advisors and other faculty members; and generally settle into their home-away-from-home. The busy day concluded with the annual All-School Games, a series of goofy and fun group activities on Upper Field that help everyone get to know one another and reconnect.     

Extra-Day Trips (EDTs)
EDTs in both the fall and spring are truly one of our most important traditions. Just a couple of days after arriving back in the Ojai Valley, students and faculty broke off into small groups and headed into the backcountry for six days of off-the-grid backpacking or horse camping. Groups enjoyed the beautiful landscapes of Yosemite, Kern River, Inyo National Forest, Mammoth Lakes, Sequoia National Forest, and more.

New Year’s Banquet
Between fall EDTs and the first day of classes, there’s the New Year’s Banquet. The community gathered to share a meal together and to look thoughtfully toward the upcoming year. Sophomores took on their traditional responsibility of acting as wait staff. School leaders—faculty and student alike—shared remarks to help set the tone for the next nine months.

First Day of Classes
As has become the cherished custom, Head of School Michael Mulligan read “The Chambered Nautilus” by Oliver Wendell Holmes—a meditation on personal growth, change, and evolution—aloud at an All-School Assembly before students and faculty headed off for their very first class of 2017-18.

“Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.”

May this be, as they say, the best year yet!

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