Alumni Family Gathering

January 26, 2017 by Sarah Kleyn


On a dark and chilly December evening, the warmest room in the city was this one, at The Oaks, warmed with the hugs of old friends reunited and the glowing smiles of teachers reconnecting with former students. New spouses were introduced, babies were passed around and stories from past years told. For a few brief hours, this room was filled with a cozy feeling you would normally expect at a small family gathering. Like any memorable family gathering, we love to remember by sharing our photos ...


Fellowship and food always take center stage when Christians gather together.


Emily Woodroof ('09) kicked off the evening with a beautiful jazz performance, supported with riffs by Kent Young and Bill Stutzman.


A roomful of alums watched Zach Lipton ('08) preside as master-of-ceremonies. Later, our beloved founder, Bruce Williams, spoke of his delight that The Oaks has become a self-sustaining school and community of students and alumni, with a new generation now creating its own stories.

After sharing a draft of this blog post with Bruce in January, he added, "I was so encouraged by the affection of the staff for one another and the warmth among the alumni that we saw in Spokane." Despite his and Susan's pioneer work at Grace Classical Academy outside of Dallas, we could not (yet) detect any trace of some new-found Texas drawl.


Matt and Sydney (Lewis) Linnell (’11) recounted adventures ranging from the fulfillment of Sydney's dream to study abroad to Matt's adventurous 'couch surfing' that led him as far afield as India. Both of them shared a deeply meaningful trip to Egypt. They made their way back, recently, to Pepperdine where Matt is studying law and Sydney is working as a grant writer for the university.

Zach closed by reminding us of an important quote from Nancy Pearcey's  Total Truth, a book which had been read by most alums during the rhetoric phase of their Oaks education:

"As with every aspect of our sanctification, the renewal of the mind may be painful and difficult. It requires hard work and discipline, inspired by a sacrificial love for Christ and a burning desire to build up His body, the Church. Developing a Christian worldview means submitting our entire self to God, in an act of devotion and service to Him."

As Zach explained, The Oaks has made it possible for its graduates to take a Christian world view to the world - quite literally, in the case of the Linnells.  "Our faith was never meant to be kept in a bottle, but poured out to the world. It's easy to get along with like-minded people, but as Oaks alumni we should bring Christ and ourselves to those who are not like us."


It was a great family gathering. The smiling faces of these little ones proved the greatest blessing . Children of our alumni, they will someday become the musicians, lawyers, scientists, homemakers and future of The Oaks but, far more than this - the church.

Editor's note: Lillian Ragudo ('16) did not know that Sarah Kleyn (top, author) began this post with thoughts about 'family'. How cool, then, was this comment she made some days later? "I have always felt at home at the Oaks. I love visiting the school and catching up with familiar faces and meeting new ones. It reminds me of visiting with family. It isn't possible to walk down the halls and not be greeted by smiling faces and hugs."