Class of ‘22: Not one normal year

The sun will always rise in the morning


Joshua Hoehne / Unsplash

You are a rising freshman. The year: 2018. Time to live our own High School Musicals. Then tragedy hits Oak Park. 

It first starts with a shooting at the local Borderline Bar & Grill. Just when some students and faculty are hearing and mourning the news, they walk outside class the following day to see an orange sky and smell burning smoke fill the air. Nov. 8, 2018 marks the start of the Woolsey Fire, which burns 96,949 acres and impacts 1,634 homes.

As the smoke clears, sophomore year begins. A climate of dry and hot wind brings another fire season to Oak Park, but that becomes forgotten as the COVID-19 virus spreads across the world. We rejoiced on the ominous Friday, March 13, 2020, thinking we were getting a two-week break from school.

The alarm rings for junior year as you roll out of bed and log onto your first period via Google Meet. After experiencing a nationwide awakening to the racial injustice in America from the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black individuals, you spend the whole school year isolated. The only contact with your friends and teachers is through a screen that reflects your passive gaze. 

Finally, the school bell rings for in-person learning. We adjust to seeing peers and teachers face-to-face, as opposed to in a tiny Google Meet box. And now we adjust to a voluntary mask mandate, coupled with other loosening restrictions surrounding COVID-19 policy. We joke about how a 2-week break turned into a 2-year one and look forward to college and beyond.

The point is, Class of 2022, every year we have suffered through some kind of hardship, many of them seeming like the end of all things good. But through every hardship, we also persevered and adapted to make those endings new beginnings. We hope that as the sun sets on the severity of the pandemic and our senior year, we will all find those new sunrises in our lives.

Here are some of the biggest stories in the past four years:

2018-2019 School Year


Man threatens violence against OPUSD


Homecoming fireworks replaced with new pyrotechnics

JD Slajchert continues Luc Bodden’s legacy


“The Dining Room” cast dishes out laughs

Campus break-in by local teens

Record 750 students attend this year’s homecoming

Vintage plane hits center divider on 101 freeway

Change in graduation uniform colors


Students lose homes in Woolsey fire

Oak Park mourns the loss of those killed at Borderline Bar & Grill shooting


Cheer places third at first CIF competition

First ever debate tournament held at Oak Park High School


Girls’ varsity makes it to CIF finals and State

Third Life Skills retreat canceled

MCMS students battered by group of teenagers

Ventura County students represent CA

Beach volleyball becomes official school sport

Westboro Baptist Church preaches outside of Thousand Oaks High School


Oak Park Debate sweeps state qualifiers

Mock Trial wins big at competition

OPHS attendance below bronze

Girls’ volleyball coach removed from position


Television series based on Oak Park premieres soon

Science Olympiad wins second place at regional tournament


Water Assassins stopped after incidents that impact students, community

Debate team at state tournament

Winter guard claims victory

Boys’ golf wins CIF Central Coast Championships

Boys’ volleyball wins state playoffs

2019-2020 School Year


Vandalism in the women’s restroom

Student Square set in place for the new school year

1-to-1 Chromebook program implemented at OPUSD

Varsity football holds undefeated record

New science teacher arrives at Oak Park High School

Jessica Wall joins OPHS faculty

Construction begins for healing garden in Thousand Oaks

OPUSD holds parent meeting on new elementary school ‘Gender Diversity’ lessons

Natalie Smith joins staff as Assistant Principal


Parents receive notification of serious incident involving an Oak Park resident

Science department embeds sustainability concepts into class lessons

Oak Park schools close due to wildfire risks


“Mamma Mia!” debuts as OPHS fall musical

Teacher turned TikTok star

Oak Park mother accused of felony offenses

Girls golf in the running to be league champions

Marching band competes at Royal Classic


Under the Sea Homecoming Dance, ASB sells out

OPUSD plants roots for remembrance

Marching Band at regional championships

Girl’s Golf Makes It to CIF Championships for Individual and Team


Wishtree knocked down


Benioff leaving Medea creek after 13 years

New senior retreat attracts 80 plus seniors

Rocket Club Prepares a Rocket for NASA

Cook and Kinberg create new classes


Man attempts to abduct teenage girl in Oak Park

OPUSD shuts down


Spring sports suspended

Schools to remain closed through the remainder of the school year

Spring musical “Chicago” canceled


OPUSD Assistant Superintendent Heilbron retires

Physics and engineering teacher Ken Jones to retire

Distance learning implemented in OPUSD schools

International students return home

2020-2021 School Year


Bomb threat sent to OPUSD elementary schools

Diversity and Equity Task Force created by OPUSD

Profile: New physics and engineering teacher, Austin Lippincott rrrrr

Remembering Nicholas Mark Fahn

OPHS adds cross country class


Ventura County moves to state’s red tier

OPUSD board approves plan to return to on-campus instruction in a hybrid model

Homecoming goes virtual

OPIS enrollment nearly doubles for the 2020-21 school year

OPUSD Superintendent Dr. Tony Knight announces retirement


Hundreds of pounds of food donated by students, parents and teachers

Increase in COVID-19 cases force Ventura County into the purple tier


​​OPUSD begins search for new superintendent

Coalition of teachers speak against recent MOU


Two new classes approved for seniors in 2022


New principal of Medea Creek Middle School appointed

Chinese teacher Sherry Hung announces retirement

Buchanan to leave OPHS

Debate members move on to compete at state tournament

OPHS students to return to school 4 days per week


New Superintendent approved by Board


Varsity boys’ soccer team makes it to CIF playoffs

Knight says goodbye to Oak Park Unified School District

2021-2022 School Year


First football game ends in resounding victory

Free lunches for all


New Principal Mathew McClenahan joins OPHS


Please spell “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”


Connect periods transition to activity lessons

Substitute teachers in short supply

“Rocketry and Aerodynamic Design” transitions into an eighth-period class


Mrs. Bray’s husband makes history at the Academy Awards


Indoor masking becomes voluntary starting March 12

Oak Park’s swim team kicks off

Spring musical ‘Pippin’ performs with a live orchestra