From the Head of School

All of the Krishnamurti schools are located on large campuses of great natural beauty, with austere but comfortable classrooms. This is partly because the schools share an emphasis on relationship with and care for the natural world.

Yesterday at the May Gathering, a panel of students presented their experiences attending Oak Grove School, as it relates to its emphasis on a relationship with nature. The students ranged in age from elementary through high school, and included a former student. The panelists were thoughtful and articulate. They spoke eloquently about the importance of keeping Oak Grove’s campus natural and open with just a few rustic buildings. They shared their school experiences exploring the local meadows, ocean, rivers and forest. They spoke about traveling to the Grand Tetons, Zion Park, and India. Their stories were vivid and one could feel the sincerity in their words.

Most profoundly, perhaps, was each student’s ability to articulate our collective responsibility to care for the natural world from which we, as humans, are not separate.

“The death of a tree is beautiful in its ending, unlike man’s. A dead tree in the desert, stripped of its bark, polished by the sun and the wind, all its naked branches open to the heavens, is a wondrous sight. A great redwood, many, many hundreds of years old, is cut down in a few minutes to make fences, seats, and build houses or enrich the soil in the garden. The marvellous giant is gone. Man is pushing deeper and deeper into the forests, destroying them for pasture and houses. The wilds are disappearing. There is a valley, whose surrounding hills are perhaps the oldest on earth, where cheetahs, bears and the deer one once saw have entirely disappeared, for man is everywhere. The beauty of the earth is slowly being destroyed and polluted. Cars and tall buildings are appearing in the most unexpected places. When you lose your relationship with nature and the vast heavens, you lose your relationship with man.”

J. Krishnamurti, Krishnamurti Foundation Trust Bulletin 56, 1989

 

Join Oak Grove School Friday, May 18th, at 7:00pm for its semi-annual High School Showcase.

The event features musical performances by Oak Grove’s high school, as well as student art, paintings, photographs, film, and ceramics. Light snacks and refreshments will be served. Meet at the Art Studio.

Be a part of this celebration, open to Oak Grove families and friends, as well as those interested in the school.

Free and open to the community.

Friday, May 18th, 2018 – 7:00-9:00pm
Oak Grove High School Spring Showcase
220 West Lomita, Ojai – Pavilion and Art Center
Facebook Event

Run for the Hills – 5K RUN

Kick off Earth Week, Sunday, April 15, at Oak Grove School. This is a community event to benefit the OVLC hillside restoration efforts.

  • Half mile run for kids at 9:30am
  • 5K campus trail run at 10:00am

This family-friendly event will include numerous schools from the Ojai Valley. The 5K course will span Oak Grove School property.

After completing the run, stay and enjoy our post-race community activities:

Music • Yoga • Food Trucks • Environmental Speakers • Student Booths • Leisure Games • Chalk4Peace • and more

Hosted by the Green Schools Student Collective: Besant Hill School, Thacher School, Oak Grove School.
Proceeds benefiting local hillside restoration efforts by the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy.

 

UPDATE: May 20, 2018

In a follow-up from last month’s Run for the Hills fundraiser, the high school students, as part of the Green Schools Student Collective, along with the help of teachers and volunteers, raised over $4,500. The proceeds will benefit the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy.

This event and the Seed Propagation Project that was initiated earlier in the year are an ongoing effort by our student community to help restore the surrounding hills following the Thomas fire.

Transcript of Speech given by Simone Noble

Good Morning everyone. My name is Simone Noble. My two children attend this school – Jonah is in 8th grade and Danielle is in 5th grade. This is their third year as Oak Grove School students.

Jonah and Danielle may tell you that I annoy them by following them around with a camera … not all the time of course but I do see a value in capturing those moments that may seem ordinary to them, but they will remember as contributing to the rich fabric of their lives. I hope that in this beautiful valley we are creating a life they will look back on as worthwhile … and no matter where they choose to travel or live in the world, they will feel a tug for the soft light, long days, and simplicity of easy friendship. And just in case they don’t, they will have some photographs to remind them.

When we evacuated Ojai just weeks ago, it was an easy choice to take the few photo albums from my own childhood in South Africa. These albums don’t contain any works of art; the glue is peeling and the pictures are of a poor quality by today’s standards. But what they do contain is a legacy of family, and proof that there were happy moments; and parents who loved their kids; and grandparents who were present; and Sunday afternoons just hanging out together.

One of the photographs on those yellowing pages is of my sister and myself as very young children playing in an inflatable kiddie pool. Sitting next to us is a woman in her sixties, smiling with her arms outstretched should either of us need help in the three inches of water.  Her name was Robbie and she was a much older friend of my mother, who had fostered a special friendship with me. She took me swimming to the public pool and I loved spending time in her bachelor apartment because the bedroom and kitchen were in the same room, that overlooked the Atlantic ocean, and I knew no-one else who lived like that. She taught me many things including how to stretch my body and about a country called Switzerland that she would visit each year. She talked about healthy food and the value of eating a baked potato every day. I didn’t realize it at the time but Robbie was also teaching my mom, specifically about yoga and vegetarianism. My parents, as a result, adopted this lifestyle for many years, which was pretty progressive in South Africa in the 70’s. Although their own practices changed eventually, those teachings continue to define my own life. Robbie was not part of my life for very long but I always remembered her and would think of her sporadically.

Some almost 40 years later I was looking to depart from the life we had been living in Cleveland, Ohio, for a new start that felt more authentic to who I was, and the aspirations I had for raising Jonah and Danielle.  In search of some breathing room, I rented a little cottage in Ojai for a month one summer and brought the kids out for a change of scenery and sunshine. I enrolled them in a science and surfing camp that Oak Grove was offering.

To say I was enthralled with the campus would be an understatement. I was captivated by the energy of the school, by the beauty and the softness. I felt held in a way I couldn’t explain walking on this land … and I remember thinking that it would be an absolute dream for the kids to attend school here and then thinking of the impossibility of it all. I won’t bore you with the details of how we got from A to B, other than to say it was not without an enormous amount of compromise, upheaval, and sacrifice that I am forever grateful for. Pragmatically, it made no sense but the pull was so strong that we had to try it out. By the time the next school year started, the kids were enrolled as Oak Grove students.

They had been at the school for about six months when my mom came to visit from Cape Town. When we brought her to the school she pointed to a picture and said, “oh look, that is Krishnamurti.” Confused, I asked her how she possibly would know who Krishnamurti was. I had never heard her mention his name before and I hadn’t read his work until I had discovered Oak Grove, and I consider myself better versed in these matters than my mom. She explained, of course, that Robbie had been a devout follower of Krishnamurti – visiting Switzerland each year and introducing her to yoga and vegetarianism. Until that moment I had never connected those dots. But in an instant it all made sense. A circle closed. A circle closed across space and time. Of course, it made perfect sense that here I was living in Ojai and picking kids up from the school founded by Krishnamurti.

So that is the thing about this school. It has a magic for some of us. Being here is like stepping behind the veil in a way. It doesn’t always make practical sense but it feels perfectly right.  

I sometimes watch my kids walk down the path to their classrooms, passing the pepper tree planted by Krishnamurti and the flowers planted by Jake and the lavender and the gorgeous mulberry tree, and I wonder how much they appreciate and notice, and whether they understand how unusual their school days are. But that doesn’t really matter because they are learning a way of living and engaging in the world that feeds the soul in the ordinary moments just by being present.

So just as when I photograph them in those ordinary moments at home, my hope is that wherever they live one day and whatever career or lifestyle they choose, they will carry with them an intuitive knowing of a way to live that makes sense. The practice of living in the present, and usually ordinary moments.  A slowing down, a deeper listening, a kinder word, a lighter step, an honoring of themselves and others … all in the very present moment. And that is why Jonah and Danielle, are Oak Grove Students.

 

View the 2018 Tea video

This event was canceled due to the Thomas Fire. The Winter Showcase will be merged into the Spring Showcase, later in 2018.

Join Oak Grove School Friday, December 8th, at 7:00pm for its semi-annual High School Showcase. The event features musical performances by Oak Grove’s high school, as well as student theater, paintings, photographs, installations, and ceramics.

Light snacks and refreshments will be served. Meet at the Student Center. Be a part of this celebration, open to Oak Grove families and friends, as well as those interested in the school.

Free and open to the community.

Friday, December 8th, 2017 – 7:00-9:00pm
Oak Grove High School Winter Showcase
220 West Lomita, Ojai – Student Center
Facebook Event