A ~toast~ to all the great memories!

We have had an absolute whirlwind of a weekend, and we are finally back here to share it with all of you! Though we know many of you parents have already had the opportunity to hear — live and in-person! — about the incredible adventures your children have had throughout the past three weeks, we wanted to make sure to document every detail for any sentimental kids, parents, or staff who may want to look back on these memories in the future. 🙂

Yesterday afternoon, we held a showcase which displayed the work each of our students have produced throughout the program. For the past three weeks, each of them have been working diligently in both their major and minor classes, and we are incredibly impressed with the breadth and quality of work these students have managed to produce within such a short period of time. It is so clear to us that each of the students who participated in Oxbridge at UCLA Prep are extremely hardworking and determined individuals who have the capacity to accomplish truly incredible things — such as those they shared with us yesterday!

At the final showcase, students from the creative writing major read aloud the script they wrote for the pilot episode of a television series centered around the mysteries of the afterlife. The same subject’s minor class shared some of the most creative and expressive haikus and short stories we have ever heard. We feel so grateful that these students felt able to share their personal written works with us and their peers!

Next, Kelli and Annie had the opportunity to judge a student-led debate regarding the morality and legality of animal testing. The winning team ended up in the lead by an absolutely astounding one point! However, we both agree that each of the two teams were extremely skillful in their argumentation and highly professional in their delivery. We are so proud!

Psychology students in both the major and minor classes developed, created, and presented to us their psychological research studies, which, respectively, regarded the habits of successful studiers and the floor-plans of psychologically successful museum spaces. We can’t believe how much they have learned, and are thrilled to know that they will be able to apply this learning in their daily lives!

Our tech and society minor students each gave presentations on a number of topics relevant to our current technological age, including the harmful effects of cyberbullying, as well as the pros and cons of social media usage. It was great to hear young people thinking so critically about something that effects all of our lives, nearly everyday.

Finally, we broke the group apart for a museum-style exhibition: first, we all got to have some fun by playing the highly creative and innovative video games that our game design students designed and coded! Second, we had time to wander around the room and admire the gorgeous, thought-provoking pictures the photography major and minor students captured. We were so impressed by the extremely professional quality of both the video games and the photographs!

After our very academic afternoon, we took the kids on one last surprise adventure to Dockweiller Beach — famous for allowing beachgoers to light bonfires on the sand! While there, the kids got to enjoy some cheesy pizza and tons of s’mores made fresh above the fire (a first for many!). They also got to spend some final moments together chilling in the water, taking pictures during golden hour, and playing games with each other as the sun set. When fireworks began lighting up the sky above the water as we headed out to leave, we all began feeling a bit emotional.

When we got back to campus later that night, staff tried to make sure that all students were packed up and off to bed as quickly as possible in order to be ready for their flights early the next morning… but we were soon convinced to allow the kids to stay up a bit past their bedtimes to talk, laugh, and even cry a little bit in the hallway before parting ways, likely forever, in the morning.

When staff woke up this morning, entirely prepared to pull kids out of bed by their ears and drag them to the airport still half asleep, we realized something that made all of us staff tear up a bit… almost every single kid had woken up by themselves before seven in the morning — completely on their own accord — just to have a little bit more time together before their flights took off.

As kids began to leave one by one as the day went on, we all began feeling a lot more emotional. As it turns out, when you spend three weeks by each others’ sides every second of every day — learning and growing and laughing and crying and eating and dreaming together — it is pretty much absolutely impossible to avoid coming to love each other. Our final day together, spent crying on each others’ shoulders and singing our favorite songs and making promises to keep in touch and waving goodbye until we could barely make each other out in the distance, was so full of love it was palpable.

Students, if you’re reading this… we love you!!!! And we miss you already. — Annie and Kelli

P.S. We had to add in one more bread pun to bring it all full circle!

Just a quick note…

…to let you know that we’ll give you our final blog update tomorrow afternoon — complete with all the details of our last days together. In the meantime, please enjoy this short video we made to thank our wonderful, wonderful kids for everything they’ve done for us these past couple of weeks. ❤️

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZ-MsPBnZSs&feature=youtu.be

Studying, more studying, packing, and… surprise dance party!

This morning, students departed early for their last major class field trips of the session. Both photography and speech and debate students visited the gourmet French pastry shop, Bottega Louie, in Downtown LA. While photography students took photos of the beautiful latte art made by the baristas, the speech and debate students walked over to The Last Bookstore, an absolutely iconic destination for all book lovers. Meanwhile, creative writing students explored the vast script library at the Writer’s Guild of America, psychology students visited the thought-provoking Museum of Tolerance, and game design students took a tour of the mega-famous AR design studio, Trigger Global.

When students arrived back on campus, they took a quick lunch before continuing to add finishing touches on their final projects before their exhibitions tomorrow. We are getting so excited to see what they’ve put together — and we’ll make sure to share it with you, too!

We then spent the rest of our afternoon doing laundry, packing up our suitcases, cleaning our rooms, and ultimately getting ready to leave. It made every single one of us sad to finally have to think about our departures either tomorrow night or Saturday — we’ve come to think of each other as family, and our dorms as home. It is going to be so hard to leave!

During dinner, the kids showed us how close they’ve gotten with each other by playing pranks on one another and cracking up together. It made us smile to see them act like true brothers and sisters. Make sure to check out the photos below for more details! 😉

After dinner, we walked everybody down the street to the Hammer Art Museum for a surprise outdoor concert and dance party! After a week of hard work — and three weeks’ worth of jam-packed adventure — everybody was so happy to fully relax, let go, and dance their little hearts out. If you’re thinking to yourself, “my kid would never dance in public!” think again! Everybody had an absolute blast moving to the music, and were truly the stars of the show! Throughout the night, many circles opened up to let our students show off their dance moves and have fun with each other. When it was time to leave, many even begged to stay longer. We are so happy to have this incredible night as one of our final memories with each other. I don’t think we’ll ever forget it!!!

A Quiet Day at Home

As the final week winds down, students are spending much of their time and energy preparing for their final presentations. Instead of taking a field trip, we decided to spend a quiet time at home in order to allow them to do so.

On Friday, psychology students will present their research findings on ideal study habits and museum layouts. Those in the photography class will prepare an exhibition of their own photos for their classmates to admire. Game design students have been busy working on their very own video games, which they will allow us all to test out and play! Creative writing students will share the scripts they have written with us, and, as mentioned yesterday, the speech and debate students will perform a debate on animal testing.

After a morning of hard work in their classrooms, we took our kids out to the pool area for some relaxing fun and games. Everyone enjoyed taking a good break from their studies by swimming in the pool, playing an intense game of ninja, or lounging on the deck chairs. One of us — Kelli — even took an unexpected swim (thanks Lu!).

After dinner, we took a little bit more time to finish up some schoolwork. Students were given an hour to complete unfinished work, add finishing touches, or read their favorite books.

Finally, we ended the night with one more round of trivia, which has proved to be a camp-wide favorite. Questions included:

Q: What was Sara forced to remove from her dorm room floor?
A: 3 M&Ms

Q: How many packages of fruit snacks did Kate purchase from Costco?
A: 42

Q: What did Hinano spend all afternoon looking for at Disneyland?
A: French fries!

After trivia, a couple students chose to stay downstairs and play a couple rounds of Uno with Annie and Kelli. Others went upstairs to rest up before their classes tomorrow morning. Goodnight!

From Boba to Boba Fett

This morning, students began working on their final presentations for their major and minor classes. We were especially excited to hear about the beginning stages of our Speech and Debate students’ final debate on animal testing, which they will perform for us on Friday.

After their classes and a filling lunch at the dining hall, we headed back down to Westwood for a final Target run and a round of boba on us. While most kids enjoyed their drinks, a few quickly realized that it’s an acquired taste. We might have heard one student exclaim, “this isn’t tea… this is horrible!”

After stopping by Brandy Melville and Rocket Fizz — to the kids’ delight — we headed back to campus for a phone-free family dinner (a staff favorite). Finally, we ended our night by continuing our Star Wars movie marathon with the well-loved fifth episode, The Empire Strikes Back. Because the experience was complete with popcorn, leftover birthday cake, and lots of candy, every student seemed very content.

Tomorrow, we head to Universal Studios for our final off-campus field trip. We are very excited, and will let you know every detail!

Girls (and Guys) Just Wanna Have Sun

Once again, we had a late start after a late night. Today, we headed to another beach, but this one seemed to be the best one yet. Our day was filled with plenty of sun, tons of waves, and lots of warm sand. When some of the girls got tired of being tossed around by the waves, we took them to get acai bowls, Pressed Juicery, and go shopping. The streets next to Manhattan Beach had tons of stores and after a little searching we found some great deals. They even bought some friendship rings and finger monsters (follow them on Instagram @finger.monsters).

After we finished our day at the beach, we headed back to campus. They got some time to clean their room before room inspections, and then headed down to dinner. Later, they took a walk around campus during golden hour — it made for some pretty great pictures. We finished our night by starting a Star Wars marathon, which we hope to complete before the week is done.

Tomorrow, they’re headed to their final week of classes to start preparing for their final presentations. We can’t wait to see them!