Community Building, Spirit Council

Living in Community

Besant Hill School of Happy Valley has a boarding school community that’s not easily described.

As co-founder and famed author Aldous Huxley pointed out, essentially, teaching students how to think, not what to think is something that’s not often defined or discussed in our society. It is our ethos. Ultimately, the boarding school experience offered at Besant Hill School strives to teach students to break free from the barriers placed on them by this world — as we believe that is when true learning occurs.

How this is done, and the way it happens on our campus, is as unique as each member of our community.

Living and Learning Together

From the moment our students set foot on campus for the first time, they’ll see that the boarding school experience, living with classmates and among faculty members and their families, provides endless opportunities to be in community.

Much of the magic of Besant Hill School happens through the equally connected relationships of students and staff outside of the formal class setting. These close relationships are some of the richest rewards of boarding school life at Besant Hill School. A student may have a teacher and coach who also lives in his or her dormitory, who has a family, perhaps a dog or two, and who may even have the culinary talent of baking an evening snack to share. Relationships are at the heart of our community.

It’s the Little Things

When visitors come to campus, they often remark that everyone smiles and says hello as they pass by. It’s common to hear comments on how everybody is genuinely nice to one another. Happy Birthday is sung at all-school assemblies for students and staff, “Bad-Movie Night” is a tradition in the theater, and our dining services is always looking to hear from students on ideas to make meal experiences more enjoyable.

An outdoor lunch, sitting in silence to breathe and pause during the busy school day, a chance to be creative, Ojai’s famous “Pink Moment” at sunset, fresh and organic food, a ten-minute visit with a dog in the office, a kind gesture of support, or laughing out loud with friends — these are just some of the unique details that make a Besant Hill School experience so special.

A friend may be waiting behind a stranger’s face.

A friend may be waiting behind a stranger’s face.

Maya Angelou

Residential Life

While Besant Hill School has a number of day students, the majority of students live in our residence halls. Our residences feature comfortable, modern rooms that you will share with just one roommate, as well as lounge areas and a student center that lend to plenty of relaxing.

Dining at Besant Hill School

Walk into the Besant Hill School Commons at lunchtime on any given day and, as you’re greeted by the aromas of grilled vegetables with rosemary and roasted garlic, home-baked bread that just came out of the oven, and the scent of the sweetest tomatoes wafting from the salad bar, you may question for just a moment: are you still on a school campus? Or have you just stepped into a Michelin-starred restaurant?

A Day in the Life

Besant Hill School operates on a block system. This means that all courses are 65 minutes and meet three days a week. Twice weekly, there are trips to Downtown Ojai. Weekend excursions, sporting events, and activities are offered each weekend.