Around the Bend

Around-the-Bend - September 2019


As we welcome 39 vibrant students from across the country, I am struck by the excitement that comes with the start of the school year. Having been in education for my entire life, my sense of time is inextricably tied to the school calendar. Call me nostalgic, but I long for the opening of the school year. While our students have only been here for a mere three weeks, I can sense a lifetime of relationships beginning to crystallize. I am often asked, “What makes Oxbow so unique?” and my quick reply is, “The students’ thirst for growth and willingness to be vulnerable.” The Oxbow community is built on the notion that by openly embracing the unknown, one will discover the best version of who they are and who they can become. It is my belief that a good school instills students with the courage to take intellectual, creative, social, and personal risks. Oxbow students quickly learn the value of building trust within the community, and our alums consistently cite “personal transformation” as the most noted takeaway from their time at Oxbow. I look forward to being part of that transformation with OS41. I recently received a letter from an alum who reminded me of her own life-altering experience: “The semester I spent there had a great impact on my life, an impact that I am conscious of on a daily basis. I was seriously unhappy in high school, desperate to feel seen, although I didn’t quite know what that meant. I knew I was committed to art but didn’t have a social realm for it. I can’t imagine a more supportive and magical environment than Oxbow, for any teenager experiencing what they are bound to experience. And then especially for those who are beginning to build a relationship with their art practice, it’s beyond special. Oxbow woke me up, gave me light, and really gave me hope. I was hardly interested in going to college prior to attending Oxbow; the thought of putting myself through more school was dreadful. It was there that I was able to link my notions of education with something alternative and positive. At Oxbow I met my most crucial friend and eternal collaborator. Through our friendship I began to understand the immense power of collaboration, and how that power could transcend a project into life. To experience the rigor of Oxbow’s curriculum was pivotal for me, and I know that it put me ahead of the game in future endeavors. I already had been given the time and space to solely make work, which I consider an unparalleled experience for this age group. I wish that all teenagers could have access to some version of Oxbow—a space that prioritizes self-worth and treats students with respect. As a student there, I understood that the expectations were high, but never felt alone in working to meet those standards. And due to Oxbow’s balance of challenge and support, I was able to excel beyond what I thought I was capable of.”

Warm regards,
Jennifer Jordan, Head of School

A School Like No Other