Second Grade Garden, Nutritious and Delicious

By Sofia Santelices

For the past two years, Oak Hall second graders were given the responsibility of planting and maintaining a garden, located next to the Lower School playground. Currently in its third year, the second grade garden is initiating its wintertime vegetation after harvesting sweet potatoes in October. Some of the greenery being planted over the winter months include mint, various herbs, and beans that can sustain the lower temperatures.

In previous projects, students have planted kale, turnips, squash, Mexican sunflowers, as well as a milk wheat plant to attract butterflies. “It’s pretty and I like flowers and I like the plants there. And sometimes me and my friend… we would pick up the potatoes from the flower beds,” said second grader Sofia R. The types of plants are adjusted each year in order to determine which type is most suitable to endure cooler conditions. Second graders are given the opportunity to eat the plants they’ve grown once the harvesting process is completed.

Sweet potatoes and its leaves were harvested by the second graders in October

This experience is an interactive process for second graders to enjoy. “I like that it gives kids an opportunity to be in nature and not restricted on the playground… It’s a very interactive thing,” said third grader Salem F. Salem participated in the garden last year, and truly enjoyed the knowledge he gained. During recess, certain students, known as “The Garden Helpers”, are assigned the task of tending to the garden.

Currently, only second grade has a garden, but other grades are welcome to visit and admire it. A previous teacher constructed the garden, and asked Lower School science teacher Ginny Switt to assist. Now, Switt carries on the custom of supervising this hands-on educational lesson. 

Thankful to Teachers for Thanksgiving Recipes

By Aiden Wacksman

Every Thanksgiving holiday, families across the United States celebrate by making delicious foods for their loved ones. A couple of teachers at Oak Hall have volunteered to share their Thanksgiving entree and dessert recipes.

Lower School teacher Kylie Holland’s Maryland Crab Cake recipe:


2 pounds of lump crab meat
1 cup of mayonnaise
1 egg
Pinch of paprika
2 dashes of tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup crushed saltine crackers

  1. Mix all the ingredients except for the lump crabmeat
  2. After all the ingredients are mixed well, fold the dressing with the crab meat without breaking up the crabmeat
  3. Form 5 ounce balls of crab cake. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes
  4. Season with Old Bay seasoning


Upper School Spanish teacher Libby Karow’s Pumpkin Empanada recipe:


15 ounces of pumpkin puree
1 cup of packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cloves
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
All purpose flour (for dusting)
2-15 ounce packages of refrigerated pie pastry or homemade pastry
2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
2 tablespoons of milk, cream, or evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put pumpkin puree, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, cloves, ginger and nutmeg in a mixing bowl and combine. Dust work surface with flour and cut 4” diameter circles of pie pastry. Set aside. Keep using dough until you have approximately 24 circles. Fill each circle with 1 level tablespoon of filling. Fold the circles of dough in half, align the edges and seal with a fork. Place empanadas on two baking sheets. Brush each with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes.


Upper School teacher Quinn Bohan’s Thanksgiving Turkey recipe (serves up to eight persons):


¼ cup kosher salt
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, divided
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup finely chopped rosemary, plus some sprigs
2 Tbsp. finely chopped sage, plus some sprigs
2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 (12–15) lb turkey
2 onions, quartered
2 stalks celery, chopped

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Combine the salt and 4 tbsp of butter with garlic, chopped rosemary, chopped sage, and black pepper. Mix it together until you have a garlic-herb butter paste. 

Remove the giblets from inside the turkey, and pat the turkey dry. Place it in a roasting pan that has some space at the bottom. 

Rub some of the garlic-herb butter underneath the skin of the turkey, then rub the skin of the turkey with the remaining garlic-herb butter. It may be slightly uneven, but that is all right. 

Before placing the turkey in the oven, tuck the wings under the breast so they don’t burn and cover the turkey with heavy duty aluminum foil. The foil should make a tent around the turkey, not touching the turkey. Pour about four cups of water into the bottom of the pan as well. 

Roast the turkey for 1.5 – 2 hours, basting it using the turkey juices at the bottom of the pan every 45 minutes. After that time, reduce the temperature of the oven to 375 degrees and continue to baste every 45 minutes until a thermometer inserted into the fattest part of the thigh registers 155 degrees. This may take anywhere from 1 hour to 3 hours depending on the size of the turkey. 

Before serving, let rest for about an hour, then transfer to a carving board. 

To make a decent amount of gravy: 
All the turkey drippings
1-2 cups extra of chicken stock
0.25 cups of all purpose flour
Salt and Pepper

Pour the drippings out of the bottom of the roasting pan into a measuring cup of appropriate size. Using a ladle or a spoon, you’ll want to ladle off the fat from the top of the drippings and put it into a smaller measuring cup or bowl. The fat is the clearer liquid that will float to the top of the drippings as it is more dense than the drippings. 

Now, you’re going to make a roux by spooning 4 tbsp of the turkey fat into a medium pot heated over medium high heat. As you do this, wise in the flour. Cook, while constantly whisking, until the flour begins to bubble in the fat and turns a toasty graham cracker color. This should take about 5-8 minutes. Getting it to this point is key for a successful gravy. 

Now, slowly mix in your turkey drippings and bring to a simmer. If you do not have enough turkey drippings, add chicken stock. Whisk together the roux and turkey drippings for about five minutes or until the gravy is smooth. Add salt and pepper as desired. 

Coach Mac and His Team of Runners

By Aiden Wacksman

For the past decade, Oak Hall’s cross country and track teams have dominated district, regional, and state competitions. The girls cross country team placed first at the state competition this year, and the boys team placed second at an event that housed the best high school runners in Florida. Austin Montini placed first in the boys 5k run with a time of 15:33, while Lauren Jones placed second in the girls 5k with a time of 18:44. 

The Oak Hall cross country team also participated in the Bobcat Classic at the beginning of this season. The boys team came in second, while the girls team placed first. Austin Montini and Lauren Jones once again dominated their respective divisions.

Coach Mac with the state meet runners

The mastermind behind Oak Hall’s running success is coach Edwin McTureous, affectionately known as “Coach Mac.” “I was asked to step in and help for one season 22 years ago because the Head Track and Field coach left two weeks before the season started,” McTureous said. “I have been hooked ever since,” he continued. According to McTureous, Oak Hall’s cross country team runs “six to seven days a week, anywhere between three to 10 miles a day.” He encourages the runners to stay hydrated, as it helps reduce muscle fatigue. “My favorite thing about coaching cross country is working with dedicated student athletes,” McTureous said. 

Other great placements by Oak Hall runners this year include Caden Montini placing 14th, Asher Dobrin placing 19th, and Ryland Kane placing 28th at the boys state competition. In the girls division, Sydney Miller placed seventh, Gabby Aulisio placed 13th, Ally Means placed 15th, and Harrison Grooms placed 19th. Each of these runners had similar placements at the Bobcat Classic.

Congratulations to Oak Hall’s cross country team for another outstanding year!

Photo courtesy of Shailey Klein

Time Management Beneficial to Students

By Mary Madelyn Broom

At Oak Hall School, many students are involved with more than just the average school day, which leads to lots of time filled with various activities. It is a blessing to have all of the opportunities available at Oak Hall, but it also begs the question of what is too much for students, and what skills do students need to be able to manage any available time? Oak Hall Upper School student, Kenzie*, appreciates the skills that she is learning at school, but feels overwhelmed with the responsibilities put on her. “I put a lot of pressure on myself,” she said. She also noted that she understands that her time at Oak Hall is preparation for the real world, but wished there was a better way for students to not only learn the material and understand the workload, but to learn the techniques to be able to handle the numerous daily assignments and studying of materials nightly. Kenzie recalls her previous school year, which she described as “really stressful” due to the increasing importance on grades. Despite all of the stress endured, Kenzie feels prepared for college and now has a better appreciation for the available time that she does have. “I’ve started reading more during my free time,” she mentioned. 

Upper School Learning Specialist Michael Fernandes believes that “getting and staying organized is one of the best ways for students to manage time.” He agrees that students are experiencing “more and more stress as college admission has become increasingly competitive” but hopes to alleviate that stress by helping students. Beyond basic skills of organizing and time management, Fernandes emphasizes one of the most important skills a student can learn is self-discipline, because it renders all other skills useless without it. If you are just starting on your lesson to managing time well, Fernandes suggests beginning with small steps, such as using a folder system to keep track of assignments or a planner system to mark dates for events with deadlines. 

For parents who want to help their children learn the skills of time management, Fernandes advises that they can “help develop time management in their children in a variety of ways” including:

  • Sitting down with their child to discuss age-appropriate time management.
  • Pointing out to their children potential pitfalls they might experience in trying to manage their time.
  • Acting as a guiding force, periodically checking in with their children to see how they are doing with time management, making sure to give them enough room to make some mistakes and then learn from them.

For students, the key to dealing with stress is “to not suffer in silence,” Fernandes said. If you are dealing with a busy few days, taking the time to settle your mind with a few breaths or quiet minutes, as both techniques can work wonders. If the stress feels more significant and overwhelming, Fernandes encourages students to “let a trusted adult know about their situation” because they will have more resources to help.

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those interviewed

Suggestions for College Application Process

By Kate Krauser

The college application process is one of the more stressful times for Upper School students and their families. Some students will work for hours trying to perfect college essays on top of their regular school work. Myronee Simpson, college counselor at the Upper School, works with seniors to ensure success with the college application process. Oak Hall has an average college application and acceptance rate of 100 percent. According to Simpson, the acceptance rate has been kept by students “…demonstrating academic engagement, involvement an impact in school and community, and having the ability to manage their time well and overcome setbacks…”.

To be successful in the college application process, Simpson recommends that students begin in their junior year. Students should start with identifying what they want in a college or university, and search for potential schools online. Simpson also explained that school holidays and summer are great times to schedule college visits, and students can begin college visits in sophomore year. Although visits are helpful, they are not necessary. “There are schools that consider ‘demonstrated interest’ in the admissions process, which a visit to campus would qualify as showing demonstrated interest,” Simpson said. “Otherwise, visiting a college campus does not factor into whether or not an applicant will be admitted,” she continued.

The college application process is different for each student. On the average, students usually apply from six to seven schools, but some students will apply to as little as three or as high as 13. Students list of schools should be balanced. They should have a combination of “likely schools” and “reach schools”. A “likely school” is one where a student’s GPA, rigor of curriculum, and testing, place them above the aforementioned categories of past applications who have been admitted to the school. While “reach schools” are schools where a student’s GPA, rigor of curriculum, and testing, place them below those who have been admitted to the school.

Applying is expensive, but students can apply for a waiver fee if they are eligible. In terms scholarships and financial aid, students who are looking for aid should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In addition, students can also refer to the following websites to find potential scholarships: