Letter from Mr. Peterson
May 21, 2013
Dear Oakwood Parents and Friends,
This past week provided a wonderful opportunity for me to witness and rejoice in the glory of The Oakwood School. Starting on Wednesday afternoon I watched the varsity boys’ tennis team play in the first round of the States. Thursday evening I joined over two hundred Oakwood parents and students at the annual sports banquet. Friday I ventured to Kings Dominion with the Middle School Strings, Chorus, and Band groups for their first Music Festival. The following morning I watched many Oakwood families and students participate in the March of Dimes most important fundraiser, its March for Babies. Following the march I made my way back to Oakwood in time to see the start of the state championship softball game between the undefeated Oakwood team versus Hobgood Academy. I was back at Oakwood the following day to witness the phenomenal conclusion of the game that had been rained out Saturday afternoon and to award the State Championship trophy to the Oakwood team, a first for Oakwood! The weekend concluded with the annual Senior Parent gathering at our home to celebrate our twenty graduates and to thank their parents for their trust in Oakwood. Each of these events affirmed that our school is a special world for families.
The Oakwood tennis team won its first round match last week against Wayne Christian and then finished tied for third in the States. On Friday they ventured to Barton College’s tennis facility as one of the final four teams. Despite determined efforts from each player, Oakwood fell to the eventual champion, Statesville. Congratulations boys’ tennis! We are so proud of you!
Thursday night was an event for the ages. Every one of Oakwood’s 26 sports’ teams along with the Shooting Club were recognized and honored at the Sports Banquet held at Rock Springs. The Eagle Booster Club hosted this much-anticipated event, and I congratulate all of our young and aspiring athletes who represented Oakwood so well this year. The highlight of the evening for me was when Oakwood’s Athletic Director, Amy Gardner, presented the CPIC Conference Sportsmanship trophy, which went to Oakwood. The coaches and AD’s at all the member schools vote on the school that represents the ideals and values of the league. I was thrilled that Oakwood received this most coveted award; this speaks volumes about the direction of our sports program and about our athletes.
Eighty-five Middle School musicians along with many teachers and parents departed the school parking lot on Friday at 5:45 a.m. to head to Virginia and Kings Dominion, which promotes school music festivals. Over twenty schools from North Carolina and Virginia performed at the park on Friday. This was our school’s first festival, and the excitement and energy of the students was palpable as we entered the park. The students had a wonderful day celebrating their musical achievements by performing in an off-campus venue and tantalizing themselves with fantastic rides and great games. I was so impressed with the quality of the pieces that our students performed in front of a panel of judges. Kathryn Sauls, Alison Mossey, Chris Nunnally, and Erin Scully (members of the Fine Arts Department) should be enormously proud of the strides that our Middle School ensembles have made over the past few years. The students returned to Oakwood at 10:45 p.m. with a great desire to attend the Festival again next year. Congratulations to our youngest singing and instrumental groups at Oakwood.
I was up early the following morning driving the Oakwood School bus to the March for Babies start at the Greenville Town Commons. Volunteer students and teachers from Oakwood manned the face- painting booth that attracted many young children before the start of the 5K march through uptown Greenville. Spring is always a crazy time for families on weekends, and I was thrilled by the number of Oakwood students, families, and teachers who turned out Saturday morning to support this all important fund raiser. I thank all who helped make this year’s March for Babies a success and am thrilled to announce that Oakwood parent, Amy Blumenthal, will co-chair next year’s March.
Saturday afternoon brought many Oakwood families out to the softball diamond to watch the girls’ softball team compete in the state championship game against rival Hobgood. The previous day, Lower and Upper School students had cheered on the undefeated team to two victories and a place in the championship game and what a game it was! On Saturday the game was tied 1 to 1 in the top of the 5th inning when the rain created a postponement. The boys’ varsity baseball team and their coaches were stalwarts that afternoon covering the infield with tarps so the field would be playable the next morning. Sunday morning brought sunshine and at noon, the game resumed with great excitement as the girls scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 5 to 1 lead and held on for the school’s first State Championship with a 5 – 2 victory and an undefeated season, 18 – 0! I send huge congratulations to the fabulous varsity girls and to their coaches: Coaches Gardner, Colliflower, Moore and Boyd. We are all so proud of the team’s accomplishments and look forward to honoring the girls at the All School Assembly tomorrow morning.
Sunday evening Gini and I hosted a senior parent gathering at our home. This annual party gives teachers and parents the opportunity to celebrate the wonderful successes of our seniors, and Jennifer Smith and me the opportunity to thank the parents of our soon-to-be-graduates for their faith in and support of the Upper School. The seniors had written notes to their parents, and you can well imagine there were tears flowing as a result. The Class of 2013 will graduate on May 31st at the Rock Springs Center, and all members of the Oakwood School community are invited to join us for the event. Charlie Johnson, a good friend of mine and the former Parliamentarian of the US Congress, will be the guest speaker at our fifth Graduation Ceremony. Charlie knows the independent school world well having served on the Board of Trustees at St. Patrick’s Episcopal School in Washington, D.C., where I served as Head for seven years.
Oakwood’s seventeenth year is rapidly coming to a close. It has been a terrific year, and I will attempt to summarize the highlights in my last letter of the year next week. Until then, I wish you and your families a very happy Memorial Day weekend.
Robert R. Peterson
Head of School