It is said that people always return to the place they love, and that certainly came true recently for OVS alum Roger Wang.
Twenty eight years after Mr. Wang graduated from Ojai Valley School and graced the tennis program at the Upper Campus, he returned in late April to the OVS courts to watch his son, Ben, participate in 14-and-under division in The 119th Ojai Tennis Tournament.
The Ojai is an annual tournament that includes Pac 12 teams such as Stanford, UCLA and USC. What makes the tournament so special is that it also includes junior and high school divisions, allowing aspiring collegiate athletes and tennis pros to play and learn alongside professional tennis champions.
Mr. Wang represented OVS at The Ojai tournament every year from 1987-1991.
“I played in the 14 and under division, just like my son is doing now, and then I also played in high school at this tournament and for OVS as part of CIF,” Mr. Wang explained.
In addition to watching Ben in late April, Mr. Wang was also back at OVS in March to watch his eldest son, Ethan, compete on the OVS courts for his high school team. Ethan plays for Foothill Technology School and its team played a CIF match at the Upper Campus.
“It’s a kind of surreal to be back here with two kids that that are playing the same sport that I love,” Mr. Wang said. “ It reminds me of when I was a kid at OVS playing tennis.”
For Mr. Wang, returning to OVS was like returning home.
From the courts, he could look up to see the classrooms where he had learned and he was able to connect with several of his former teachers including ceramics instructor Jody Cooper, English teacher Crystal Davis and Biology teacher Lisa Boyd, who served as his music teacher and dorm parent.
“So many memories come up for me when I’m here,” Mr. Wang explained. “It’s great to come to OVS as an adult and see all of the faculty that are still there, and it’s like nothing has changed. I remember being in the dorms, I remember being in English class with Mrs. Davis, I remember being at this amazing place that I first discovered tennis.”
Not only did OVS leave a large impact on Mr. Wang, he also had a lasting impact on the OVS community.
“Whatever he did, he gave 100%,” Mrs. Davis recalled. “In the classroom, in sports, as a leader and part of the community, he was just rock solid; whatever he did, he did it with heart. He is emblematic of the idea that we are family and we don’t stop being a family when you graduate.”
Mr. Wang has been working as the business services office for the Ventura Police Department for the past 11 years; however, tennis remains a big part of his life. He volunteers time with various tennis foundations that promote youth tennis, and it’s a sport that helps bring his family together.
“We do a lot of tennis stuff together for fun and competitively,” Mr. Wang said. “Tennis is a camaraderie and it’s something you can do your whole life, and I’m so glad my kids love it as much as I do.”