“To me, this campus is all new, but at the same time it’s all so familiar,” sophomore Lissett Barron said. “It’s like elementary school all over again.” The Whittier College campus may be familiar to some, but it is much more familiar for others. For sophomores Mark Housmann, Barron and junior Jessica Ochoa, the Whittier College campus is just an extension of their primary education due to the experiences they shared at Broakoaks Children’s School. These Poets are just a few of the students who have attended both Broadoaks and Whittier College.
Broadoaks Children’s school is a elementary school located on the Whittier College campus that currently teaches preschool through eighth grade. Though, when Barron, Housmann and Ochoa attended the school, it only served children through sixth grade.
“I honestly have no bad memories,” Barron said, referring to her time spent at Broadoaks. Barron studies both Business and Spanish at Whittier. Housmann only attended Broadoaks for the fourth, fifth and six grades, while Ochoa and Barron attended the school for all years that the school offered at the time.
“I remember during the summer we went to Summer Science Academy and dissected different things, sharks to fish to squids.” Ochoa said. A common memory shared by the students is being taught to play lacrosse with the Whittier’s men team, an event described as unique, special and a treat. “When I was little I didn’t really realize what was going on,” Ochoa said. “I was pretty naïve and oblivious that other schools weren’t afforded the same opportunities.”
The school serves as a lab school for the college, allowing undergraduates the chance to observe a full functioning school as well as opening their doors to researchers. Ochoa currently works at Broadoaks and is a Biology major. She is also a Teaching Fellow at Broadoaks and does her work study job there as well.
Like today, Broadoaks has work study students and other students work in the classrooms. “I remember we had ‘special teachers’ but I didn’t realize they were college students or work study [students],” Ochoa said.
“I remember having different math teachers in fourth and sixth grade— I think they were student teachers but they were presented to us as regular teachers,” Housmann said.
Each students’ family had varying reasons for sending their children to Broadoaks. “My family was familiar with Whittier because my dad studied at Whittier while he went to Cal Poly, it was closer,” Housmann, said. He currently studies English at Whittier.
His family enrolled him at Broadoaks as a fourth grader after moving back to California after living in Arizona. While in Arizona, he also attended a private school that had similar enrollment numbers and teacher-student ratio as Broadoaks.
Hausmann’s late enrollment to the school did not hinder his peer relationships. Both Barron and Ochoa mentioned being in close contact with both the school and other students who had attended Broadoaks. “Most of the kids I keep in contact with don’t go to Whittier College but are in the area,” Housmann said. Barron’s connection to the school lies with her mother, who is a part of the Broadoaks staff. Barron’s niece also attends the school.
The school’s close proximity to the campus makes the North Lawn and Upper Quad ideal landscapes for running, tumbling and other physical activities.
“People see kids screaming around campus but they won’t be aware there’s a school unless they’re in a child development class,” Barron said. “I think it’s important for students to know there is an elementary school across the street.” Some of the elementary school’s classrooms at Broadoaks have used and continue to use Whittier’s lawns for educational purposes. “I think it’s great that they use the campus,” Housmann said.
Having attended Broadoaks is not the only factor for these three in choosing to attend Whittier. “I knew that ‘liberal education’ were the right words for me,” Housmann, said, explaining how he chose to go to Whittier.
Each year, more children attend Broadoaks, and every year they are integrated into a campus that they might one day attend.