Oakgrove, which has been around at Venice since 1972, launched an event this past month to recruit students to the program. The event was titled Minigrove, and allowed students who signed up to choose different panels based on relevant high school experiences and talk with peers on a more intimate level. Upon arriving, students were randomly split into groups and assigned a Council member to get everyone involved through welcoming activities, such as icebreakers and other games, before attending their panels.
One of the important qualities of Minigrove was bringing in many students who had never participated in Oakgrove events. Despite having never gone before, the response from those students was exceedingly positive.
“I thought Minigrove was really good because everyone was so welcoming and it was easy to talk to the other students, even though we didn’t know each other that well, because their was no judgement,” said Yasmine Nahdi, a senior at Venice High School.
Oakgrove has remained student run since its founding, with the goal of offering students a unique opportunity to share things about themselves in any depth. Confidentiality is enforced on every occasion to ensure a safe environment for the diverse group of students who participate.
“Minigrove was an interesting experience because I opened up about things I usually wouldn’t talk about in person, and I also learned to sympathize with people I usually saw in a one-dimensional manner,” said Thomas Koon, a senior at Venice High School.
Altogether, Minigrove was a success and gave students a sense of what the program has to offer and will hopefully increase attendance for Oakgrove’s October session, which will take place Oct. 18-20.
“Minigrove was a powerful way to spread Oakgrove’s mission of building a community across our diverse campus. We hope that by offering an in-school retreat, more students will connect at Lunchgrove and participate in the weekend retreat, to better spread kindness and compassion throughout the community at Venice,” said Hazel Kight Witham, Supervising Teacher of Oakgrove.
If you’re interested in supporting Oakgrove, you can attend Lunchgrove, every Tuesday in Ms. Witham’s room (152).