Gianni Garubo

Second Grade Assistant Teacher

How many years at Oak Grove?

14 years as a student. Teacher’s Aide since 2020.

Why do you work at Oak Grove?

As a “lifer” at OGS I know firsthand the power and impact the OGS community had on my development and my life, it is my great pleasure to be able to contribute to that community again but now as a faculty member.

A quote that inspires your approach to your job.

Life cannot be made to conform to a system, it cannot be forced into a framework, however nobly conceived; and a mind that has merely been trained in factual knowledge is incapable of meeting life with its variety, its subtlety, its depths and great heights. When we train our children according to a system of thought or a particular discipline, when we teach them to think within departmental divisions, we prevent them from growing into integrated men and women, and therefore they are incapable of thinking intelligently, which is to meet life as a whole.

Where is your special spot on campus?

Turtle Rock, in the Oak Grove.

Coffee or Tea?

Coffee.

What makes an Oak Grove education unique?

“The highest function of education is to bring about an integrated individual who is capable of dealing with life as a whole. The idealist, like the specialist, is not concerned with the whole, but only with a part. There can be no integration as long as one is pursuing an ideal pattern of action; and most teachers who are idealists have put away love, they have dry minds and hard hearts. To study a child, one has to be alert, watchful, self-aware, and this demands far greater intelligence and affection than to encourage him to follow an ideal.”

In my experience the excerpt above is the heart of Oak Grove School, and if I may continue the analogy, each member of the OGS community constitutes a vein connected to that essential core, pumping vitality into the environment. In such an environment, true learning can take place, and when that does take place, what occurs is truly immeasurable.

How do we prepare students for their life ahead?

“The purpose of education is not to produce mere scholars and technicians, but integrated men and women who are free from fear; for only between such human beings can there be enduring peace.”

This is the greatest preparation a student could receive for the life ahead of them. Many of my peers have gone on to become scholars and technicians in their respective fields but what separates them from their colleagues is that holistic, integrated sense of being, that they carry with them in all aspects of their lives. As stated in the quote above, this is the only hope for enduring peace in our world.

OGS students are uniquely prepared for the life ahead them through this close attention that is paid to all facets of one’s being. The relationships between peers, teachers, and staff, that work to naturally cultivate a strong sense of responsibility, compassion, and academic excellence. Through the development of such a strong foundation, OGS students are prepared for whatever life they may go on to live.

What outdoor experience has been most impactful for you?

Certainly a difficult question to answer given the extensive breadth of outdoor experiences I had growing up at Oak Grove, however one that stands out to me is a High School backpacking trip in the Los Padres National Forest.

The best live music performance/concert you ever attended is…

The Sound City concert put on by Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters with a motley assortment of other musicians which included Stevie Nicks, John Fogerty, Rick Springfield, Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine, Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen and Lee Ving of the great L.A. punk band Fear.

Name a place you’ve always wanted to visit, but haven’t yet.

The future! Living in the moment can be a struggle for me. I don’t often look back, but too often focus forward. This is a particular struggle when it comes to the future of Oak Grove. I am excited to see the school continue to flourish.

Which teacher in your life affected you greatly? How?

This is a difficult question! Throughout the years I have had the fortune to have many teachers that have been marvelous with their skill and their great care.

That being said, I would have to say that Ron Schindel has been the teacher that affected my life to the greatest degree. Academically math was never one of my strong suites but he was able to explain things in a way that was accessible without having to resort to “boiling” things down. I am forever appreciative that I was able to be in Ron’s class for grades 6-8, that important gateway into adolescence where there is so much going on. He excelled in teaching academic material but what impacted me more so then that was the friendship and mentoring he provided. It is one thing to read an inspirational work, or listen to an invigorated speech teeming with optimism but it is entirely a different thing to see a living example right in front of you. Through the way he conducts himself and his classes, I was able to see first hand what I consider to be the most important attributes in a person, and it was something that I was not able to fully appreciate until I had grown older. A paragon of leadership, he imparted the importance of finding constructive solutions and accepting personal responsibility. Most of all, he instilled through living example, that one could be care-free in temperament while also being serious and conscientious.

Name something that nobody knows about you.

I have spent over a hundred hours playing a heavily modified version of the game Uno that I created with friends in college.

Person (dead or alive, famous or not) that you’d most like to share a meal with.

Cato the Younger.

Name a place you’ve always wanted to visit, but haven’t yet.

Shanghai, China.

What is your most bizarre OGS experience?

Winning the soccer games where we should have lost and losing the games we should have won.

Share a hilarious OGS experience.

It was on an all high school camping trip at the beach, and Will started speaking to launch into orientation and told us all “it was time to get serious” and as he said that he quickly pulled off his sunglasses to reveal another pair of sunglasses underneath.

Favorite Oak Grove expression?

Our moments of silence.