I pulled into the OES parking lot at 10:45 Saturday morning, still groggy from homecoming the night before. I wiped the sleep out of my eyes one final time, turned the car off, and started to review the recommended questions that I was given, some of which I would ask my interviewee. To be honest, I was a little timid going into the interview. I hadn’t really thought through which questions would push a conversation, and there were some spots in my interview that I had a little trouble steadying the flow, but it was a very enlightening, and interesting experience...
My interviewee was Jennifer Sipple, daughter of Peter Sipple, former head of school who visited during chapel about a month ago. Unfortunately she hadn’t attended the Upper School, so there were some times during the interview that I couldn’t fully connect with her, but she still had a lot to say about OES. She even mentioned faculty members such as Sue Jensen and Gary Crossman who taught during her years at OES! And as I was flipping through the yearbooks with her (86’ and then I looked at 91’ on my own), I saw more familiar faces; Joel Gray, Debby Schauffler, Robin Weitzer, Bill Lamb, and even Bettina Gregg (who was a student at the time). I also could pick out some pictures that featured the Great Hall and The Dorms.
After my interview with Jennifer, I attended an alumnae/i lunch, and was able to see and even talk with some OES alumni of all ages. I thought it would be awkward sitting with a bunch of people who I didn’t know but it turned out to be really fun. I talked with a lady who went into the Navy after attending OES, and who is now a teacher. Some women reminisced about how radical OES was during the seventies, and how smoking was allowed on campus (where the Drinkward Center is currently located).
The most inspiring part of my time at this reunion was when awards were given to two OES Lower School teachers. I sat for a while at my table and listened to the stories about these two individuals and how big of an impact they had on OES and students’ lives. Obviously some things have changed around OES, but after talking with Jennifer and seeing how excited and eager she was to talk about her memories as a student and the impact that the school had on her life, and listening to the speeches give in honor of these two Lower School teachers and the impact they had on OES and the children of the Lower School, I realized that OES has barely changed at all, in that it still holds some of the same values today as it had thirty years ago; showing and engaging students in the beauty of learning.