When Ojai Valley School was engulfed in flames; when buildings, memories, and history were reduced to ashes in the warm Santa Ana wind, this community made it clear that OVS is not buildings, nor land–OVS is us, the people. We hear this often; constantly we are reminded of the strength of our community, every hammer blow and tile saw scream is proof that OVS is more than stone and steel.
But as I returned to campus for the first time since March of last year, I could feel the vibrance, the life that this school exudes, coursing through the cinder block walls and the big green wooden beams. This community is not dependent on place; this campus is dependent on our energy, and with us, it radiates.
What has been most noticeable as we have returned is the fact that those students who have committed to being a part of the OVS on-campus community truly want to be here. It’s palpable. Those of us who are on campus are filled with the exhilaration of just being around one another; we have become a community that refuses to take ourselves for granted. Even though long blocks are just as long, sports just as tiring, and the hill is just as grueling, there is a noticeable shift in the way it feels.
Now the campus is filled with a crop of students who are appreciative, excited, and tuned in. We are the way we should always strive to be. Before the pandemic this campus was not alive with the energy it has today, and we should try our best to retain it so that when this year’s freshman sit up straight in white plastic chairs in the amphitheater, they will still feel the hum of a campus full of excitement to simply be there.
After the holiday break, Ojai Valley School will return to full in-person learning, and we will be forced to reconcile the spirit of those of us excited to once again be on campus, with those of us that will return with hesitation. It will be easy for us to let our guards down during the Thanksgiving and Holiday breaks, but in order to usher in (and make comfortable) a group that has been more COVID conservative, all OVS students must take extreme caution over their breaks.
Because when it comes down to it, we should be back, in full force, on campus.
Honestly, I was skeptical about coming back, but when I felt this new magnetism in the old white walls, the looming modernity of the new buildings, the excitement coursing through our beautiful hill, I was simply happy to be back. All OVS students deserve to experience that without having to worry about whether or not their friends have been responsible. So, for our friends, our community, our luminescent campus, we all have to be ultra-cautious and do our best to protect one another.Share