One of the realities that Oakdale students face is the dimensions of “smallness” that come with being an Oakdale Christian Academy student. Certainly, there are hindrances to being small – few athletic offerings, limited fine arts options, and not as many electives – that larger schools can provide. For a school our size, that we offer as much as we do is a great testament to the dedication of our staff members who give beyond their regular ministry roles. Yet, we do seek to expand in those areas.
But what about the benefits to our size?
Leadership Opportunities. Being able to step in and, for example, play competitive basketball and take seriously the responsibility to “up their game” is a key growth experience. The most valuable life lessons of competitive sport, after all, are not those related to ball-handling skills or shooting percentage, but teamwork, being gracious in winning and showing good sportsmanship in losing.
Being selected to represent the Academy and speak publicly at a visit to a church, or have the lead part in a play, or lead a Job Training crew… these are all leadership opportunities that a small school provides every student.
Enhanced Learning Through Small Classes. The opportunity comes when teachers are better able to understand and be aware of individual students’ needs. It becomes (today’s) challenge for students because teachers are aware of what their students can achievement and expect it from them.
You Can’t Hide. Finally, any Oakdale student would be able to recognize immediately that an advantage to our size is the ability to know and be known by the staff and other students. It’s a cliche to say it, but we are family. Rather, family away from family and home away from home.
When there are difficult relationships, it’s not possible, as it would be in a large school, to avoid those people. An Oakdale student has the opportunity and burden to face those difficulties. There’s no hiding, which often results in God working in lives otherwise not possible.
Even very recently, we were witness to students who were in conflict come to an understanding and forgiveness, something that would have been easy to avoid in another setting. Oakdale teaches students how to live life!
And with Gods help, live it more abundantly!