Faces of Oakland

Omar Quarles: Alumnus

Omar attended Oakland School from 2006-08. He needed a more individualized academic program to be successful. Omar said,

“Oakland helped me build my confidence and made me love learning. I could see myself moving up and gaining skills. The teachers were nice and challenged me during my last year so that I would be ready for my next school.”

After Oakland, Omar attend Murray High School and graduated with a 3.9 GPA. During his years at Murray he received the President’s Award, Delta Sigma Theta Achievement Award, 100 Black Men of Central VA Academic Achievement Award, and Rotary Club of Charlottesville Award of Merit for Outstanding Achievement in Leadership, Academics, Athletics, and Community Service. He participated in the International Conference, prom committee, ski patrol, Albemarle County Police Explorers and completed EMT training at CATEC. During the summer of 2011, Omar gave back to Oakland School by completing 160 hours of volunteering service helping in the classrooms. Teachers loved having Omar’s help.

“His enthusiasm, dedication, and diligence were a true asset in my reading class. The students enjoyed reading with Omar and hearing about his successes while at Oakland” ~ Jamie Cato, Reading teacher

Omar graduated high school in 2013 and is staying as busy as can be! He is taking a full load at Piedmont Community College, working at the Federal Executive Institute, and he is a volunteer emergency medical technician with the Earlysville Fire Company. Oakland School is so proud of Omar and his many accomplishments.

Charlotte James: Alumnus

Charlotte attended Oakland School from 1996 to 1999. She could not read and had very low self-esteem due to academic struggles. In a short time, she was dividing words and using phonics to read. She said,

“I began to see results and realize I was smart and could keep up. Future possibilities opened up.”

Charlotte did well in high school and went on earn a degree in Somatic Psychology and Expressive Arts Therapy from Prescott College, became a certified professional C0-Active Coach in 2010, and is a graduate of the Tamalpa Institute of Movement-Based Expressive Arts.

Charlotte is now giving back to Oakland by leading an Expressive Arts Clubs for female students every Wednesday. She addresses themes such as self-awareness, confidence, social challenges, stress management, and future life choices. We are thrilled to have such a wonderful alumnus teaching our students.

Miles Manuel-Scott: Alumnus

In first grade, Miles’ parents started to notice that he learned differently. He received support in the public school, tutors, online help, etc. but it just wasn’t enough. After his fourth grade year, Miles attended Oakland Summer Camp and made extraordinary gains. His parents knew that Oakland was what Miles needed to ensure his future success. Miles attended Oakland for three summers and two years as a boarder. He made incredible academic gains and matured into one of Oakland’s student leaders. Miles graduated in August 2014. We look forward to hearing about all of Miles accomplishments and successes!

Rosemary Osborne: Alumnus

It has been half a year, but I can still envision my old dorm room perfectly. Packing my room up when I knew I was never going to come back was like a kid finding a lost puppy, only to be told that the puppy’s owner is right across the street. My wall of pictures was the first to be packed. Throughout the year, I had put up art work that friends had drawn, a playbill, letters, and tickets from Amtrak and UVA games.

Once the wall was packed up I started tackling my desk. I came across an empty tissue box with the words “one good thing a day” written in purple marker on the side of the box. My New Year’s resolution was to think of one good event that happened each day and write it down. Although I had stopped keeping track long ago, the box was pretty full. I sat down for a bit and read some of the notes. Most were pretty generic like the messages on candy hearts, but a few special ones stuck out. My favorite was about something one of my classmates had mentioned while talking about my school. He said, “I know that I’m ready to go, but I’m really going to miss this place”. His statement really stayed with me. As teenagers do, my friends would often talk about how much they wanted to leave, then regret it the second they graduated. It was nice to hear someone who agreed with my point of view.

As I put the final item in a box, I felt my heart start to seize up, like I just got the wind knocked out of me. Before I could leave I took one last look at my roommate’s side of the room. I saw her multi-colored shag carpet, her rock star comforter, the giant air conditioner sticking out of her window and her riding boots thrust against the wall, out of the way. Looking at the contrast between her side of the room and mine was always funny, but it was also an amazing visual representation of the people we are. Even though the two sides were very different, they worked together to make one amazing dorm room.

As I turned to leave I looked over at my side once full of color, now an empty yellow room. Downstairs girls were laughing and screaming. It’s been two years since I first stepped into that room and made it mine, it’s time now for the kid to cross the street, give back the puppy and continue on her way.

I may be 12 hours away but the “Oakland Way” stays with me wherever I go. The people I met and the knowledge that was passed down to me in and out of the classroom is invaluable. The two years I spent at Oakland, gave me the resources I needed to become someone that I am proud to be.

Oakland Alumnus

Oakland School is a HOME, as well as a school, where the staff and students are a family. When my son’s learning style required more than our local school could provide, we looked for an alternative.

Initially, we chose homeschooling, which was a great academic solution. To complement our son’s home instruction, we decided to send him to Oakland’s Summer School Program. During the last week of classes, our not-so-independent son sent us a postcard with the following words.

Dear Mom and Dad,

After being here for three weeks, I want to stay in the “land of Oakland!” Can I stay at Oakland during the upcoming school year? Mom, I know you’ll be okay without me. grin

Love,

your son

We certainly wanted the best for our son. We never imagined, however, that the best educational environment for him would be at a boarding school. Nevertheless, the progress and confidence he exhibited while at Oakland’s summer program convinced us that the best place for him to flourish holistically was indeed Oakland.

The Oakland experience was incredible for our son as well as for us. From the friendly SKYPE interview to the email asking us for our input on which math class was best for our son, we felt a part of the Oakland family. And oh how grateful we are to the residential instructors and the school nurse who cared for his physical and medical needs, making every effort to keep us updated.Without a doubt, we missed our son’s jokes at dinner time and his caring spirit when we were having a bad day. On the other hand, when he came home on breaks,his maturity was undeniable and the pride he displayed as a result of his academic progression made all the lonely days worthwhile. At Oakland, our son received a tailor-made education while being at home with his extended family!

Sincerely Submitted,

Mr. & Mrs. Ham