Tag Archives: Upper School

One School Musical Preview: “Seussical the Musical”

By Elizabeth Birkner

For the last five years, with the exception of the 2020-21 school year, Oak Hall students have performed in the One School Musical. Next month, around 100 third graders through seniors are performing Seussical the Musical, a musical based off Dr. Seuss’s literary creations. Theater teacher Brooke Molitor and music teacher Erin Cushing work together to decide which musical will be performed. “Every January, Ms. Molitor and I start with a huge list of musicals and start narrowing them down,” Cushing said. When deciding which musical to produce, the two teachers take into consideration how large the cast should be, what type of technical equipment they would need, and what instruments need to be used for the orchestra pit, among other things. 

Unlike previous One School Musical’s like Matilda and James and the Giant Peach, Seussical is a play that strays away from the usual set design of musicals with its bright colors and cartoony theme, much like the drawings in a Dr. Seuss book. The musical includes famous Dr. Seuss characters like Horton, the Cat in the Hat, Gertrude, Yertle the Turtle, and the Whos of Who-ville.

Students participating in Seussical say this play is an amazing experience that brings the school together as one and inspires them to share and showcase their love for the performing arts. “There is a big social aspect with everyone being in a group of people and it can be fun to talk with the cast [with parts similar to yours],” said eighth grader, Soie Haberman. She also elaborated on how working with different grades is one of her favorite parts of participating in the musical. “[The musical] gives students of all ages and abilities the opportunity to be leaders or learn from others,” Cushing noted.

Seussical performances will be held Oct. 13 and 14 at 7 p.m., and Oct. 16 at 3 p.m. All performances are in the Edith D. Cofrin Theater on Oak Hall’s campus. Reserved seating is $10 per ticket through Oct. 10 and can be purchased by clicking here! After Oct. 10, general admission tickets will be available at the door for $5 via credit card only (no cash).

FOBs Bring Added Safety to Middle, Upper School

By Elizabeth Birkner

For the first time in Oak Hall School history, every building has an electronic locking system, thus amplifying the safety within campus. It was decided that, beginning this school year, all students in the Middle and Upper School would use FOBs to access exterior doors around campus. Each student must have their student ID badge on them at all times, as this is how the unlocking system for the doors is possible since the “key” to unlock the door is within the badge. The FOBs system was implemented with the Middle and Upper School students in mind, as those students need to have access to different buildings for classes throughout the school day.

Jeff Malloy, Oak Hall’s Director of Operations, noted that numerous buildings on campus were equipped with electronic locks over the summer. “For the safety of everyone on the campus, this summer 22 access control systems were added throughout the campus including the Upper School. This allows for all exterior doors to buildings on campus to be secure during the school day,” he said. Not only were electronic locks added to the Upper School, but also “the Student Engagement Center, the rest of the Oxborough Gym, the Cofrin Gallery and Theater, as well as the art buildings,” Malloy noted.

When using the FOBs, the student holds their fob up to the scanner, and is then granted access to the building they want to enter. This ensures that only Oak Hall attendees can access specific buildings, which secures the safety of the school. “Change is always difficult, but this is change for the right reason…safety,” Malloy said.

Senior Spotlight: Sydney Miller

By Tori Kitchens

Senior Sydney Miller has pursued several passions during her time at Oak Hall School (OHS). As a lifer (a student that has consecutively attended OHS since kindergarten), Miller has immersed herself in activities such as cross country, track and field, basketball, Student Government Association (SGA), the Arts Conservatory Program (ACP), and many more. 

Miller has been a member of the cross country team since sixth grade. She started as a JV/middle school runner and was advanced to the varsity team the next year. Succeeding those who came before her, Miller quickly became the cross country teams number one runner this year. “For me personally, I looked up to girls like Grace Blair (Class of 2018). And Lauren [Jones] (Class of 2022) was an amazing runner, too,” she complimented. This season, Miller has achieved a 5k time of 19:07. 

As she improved her times throughout her sixth-grade season, Miller naturally gravitated toward the track team. Although she does not specialize in a specific event, she has had profuse success. Miller was the state runner-up in the 800m in 2022. The runner stated that the state meet at the University of Florida last year was one of her favorite memories due to the great turnout Oak Hall drew. 

Wanting to play a sport in the winter season during middle school, Miller joined the middle school basketball team. “I feel like, back then, middle school girls’ basketball was the thing to do,” she explained. Going into her final season as a basketball player, she is really excited for the team aspect of the sport.

Following the lead of her older sister Sophie (Class of 2021), she joined the band program when she started middle school. “I’ve been playing piano since I was little, so I’ve obviously had music in my life,” she noted. Miller audition for and was accepted into ACP going into her freshman year. She credits music teacher Jason Stahl for her musical journey thus far, as he invited her to join jazz band in middle school. 

Miller has been a leader in many activities she has participated in during her time at OHS. She served as Vice President of the middle school student council in eighth grade. At the Upper School, she became heavily involved in SGA, serving as treasurer, secretary, and now president. As SGA President this year, Miller is looking ahead to Homecoming planning for this October. “We’re trying to be more involved this year, make it more exciting and spirited,” she said.

Going into this next chapter of her life, Miller is hoping to attend the University of Florida. As she has many interests, she has many options of career paths. She is leaning more toward biology and business but wants to find a way to incorporate Christian studies and music. 

A to Z with Sydney

A – Advice you’d give your freshman-self? To not care what other people think.
B – Best pre-race meal? Pizza.
C– Coach’s best words of advice? Relax my shoulders.
D – Favorite dessert? Ice cream.
E – Most entertaining class? Probably band.
F – Favorite high school moment? Probably like volleyball games and football games. Probably that.
G – Goals for your senior year? Make sure that I get through it and have a good time and get into college.
H – Hoping to attend what college? University of Florida.
I – Interesting thing you do outside of arts and athletics? I love puzzles!
J – Favorite joke? I don’t say a lot of jokes, but my laugh makes other people laugh, so I guess that’s my joke.
K – Key to maintaining homework? Just making sure I stay on schedule with everything and not get distracted.
L – Least favorite music style to play? Probably hard rock.
M – Music you listen to? It’s more like contemporary jazz music.
N – Netflix or Hulu? Netflix.
O – What other sport would you like to try? Lacrosse.
P – Preparations for a big meet or performance? Just making sure I get sleep and eat right and everything.
Q – Question you’d ask your future self? What is my current occupation?
R – Most relaxing part of your day? Probably just being in bed and going to sleep.
S – What would your senior superlative be? Probably…probably most stressed, I guess.
T – Favorite TV show? The Crown.
U – Most underrated music genre? I think jazz.
V – Favorite vacation spot? I’m actually going to say the lake.
W – What does it mean to you to be an Eagle? Being able to be involved in so many different things and have a good time doing them.
X – How many x-rays have you had? Probably, maybe three or four, maybe.
Y – What do you want your impact to younger students, athletes, and musicians be? I want people to know that you need to do what you love and not what other people say you need to do or what your friends are doing. Do what you love and be the person who you want to be.
Z – What is your zodiac sign? Capricorn.

New College Counselor Shares Joy With Students and Parents

By Amelia Chen

Kim Wilkins, the college counselor for Oak Hall’s Upper School, is one of the many new faces on campus this school year. While starting at a new school can be intimidating for students and faculty alike, Wilkins loves her OHS experience so far because of the people and the community. “I absolutely love [Oak Hall]. I love the people, I love my colleagues, I love the students and the parents. It’s been nothing but wonderful,” she said.

In particular, she loves the mission and passion put into the school. Oak Hall has been a place she has had her eyes on for a while, as well as being conveniently located given that she has wanted to move back to Florida to be close to family. Her mom and dad live in Flemings Island, FL, and her 21-year-old son Trent is currently in South Carolina. 

Wilkins’ career began with teaching AP Literature and continued to teach English for seven years. From there, she went to graduate school and earned a counseling degree because she enjoyed giving advice. Finally, she began as a school counselor (later becoming a college counselor) and has been at it for almost 20 years now. One of her favorite memories was watching a joyful student cartwheel three times after being accepted into his dream school. “I love to share in the joy of students,” she said. 

Kim Wilkins – Upper School College Counselor

Wilkins notes her favorite thing about her job is watching students get what they want out of a process. Mostly, she just loves to see things work out for the students. For future college attendees, she recommends being reasonable in their process, making sure students put forth their best effort in their applications, taking it slow and enjoying the ride.

Outside of her job, she loves reality TV. Some of her favorite TV shows include The BacheloretteThe Kardashians, and 90 Day Fiancé. She enjoys these shows because she doesn’t have to think about them too much and she finds them funny. 

Overall, Wilkins is loving her first few weeks at Oak Hall and enjoying being back in Florida near her family. We are so thrilled to have her as a part of the Oak Hall family and look forward to the future with her in the years to come. 

Olympic Gold Medalist Joins OHS Faculty

By Emily Malloy

Each school year brings new teachers to the Oak Hall campus and community. Becky Lancer, one of the Upper School’s newest additions, joins Oak Hall as an art and ceramics teacher. Growing up in San Jose, Calif. Lancer was exposed to synchronized swimming at an early age, which quickly became her passion. Her school, much like Oak Hall, supported her athletic pursuits. This allowed her to travel the world and compete in countries like Cuba, Russia, Argentina, and throughout Europe before competing at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Ga. Before competing in the Olympics, however, she competed in Russia’s Goodwill Games and her team won the silver medal. Even though second place is a great achievement, she took the loss as inspiration to perfect the routine and help her teammates prepare for the world’s largest stage. “When you are going for a goal, sometimes the failures along the way will just burn your fire so much hotter,” she said.

The 1996 USA synchronized swimming team

At the Olympics, the team achieved a perfect score in the five-minute free routine and a near-perfect score in the technical routine. Combined, the points led the way for Team USA to win the first ever Olympic team synchronized swimming gold medal. “It was amazing to be able to stand and sing the national anthem with a gold medal in our own country,” she said proudly. After retiring from competitive synchronized swimming, Lancer performed for five years with Cirque de Soleil’s water-based show “O”. In addition, the gold medalist choreographed the opening sequence in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. In 2004, Lancer was awarded the highest honor in the swimming and diving community; being voted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

Cirque de Soleil, “O”

After her many adventurous years, Lancer started a new adventure with her husband and three sons, eventually moving to Gainesville, while still coaching synchronized swimming. After teaching in the public school system for seven years, the opening at Oak Hall became available. When she found out about the open position, she considered it “the golden opportunity”. What drew her in are the values that Oak Hall has to offer. “Students at Oak Hall and the parents have really high standards for their lives. They aren’t just checking the boxes or going to class because that’s what they are supposed to do. We have engaged students and engaged parents,” she said. Lancer has enjoyed her classes so far and getting to know her students and her advisory, while also pursuing her art background and spreading her knowledge. She “hopes to give inspiration and encouragement to students no matter what they are pursuing”.