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Oakwood School in Morgan Hill

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Know how One local family has been with Oakwood for many years! Meet Divya and Nikhita Gopisetty who didn't know what their future had in store for them but whose parents believed that Oakwood would provide an excellent foundation for them to discover who they were and how they wanted to shape the world.

Divya with Parents Stanford Graduation

Growth and progress have always been a part of Oakwood School's history.

The Oakwood School story began in 1959, when Gwen Riches, an educator and artist, gathered her children and their friends for an afterschool arts program in her Los Altos home. As the children happily played, created, and performed, word began to spread. The Riches' family home became Pinewood School, which still thrives today in Los Altos.

Fast-forward 40 years, when Gwen Riches' eldest granddaughter, Michelle Helvey, and her husband, Ted, founded Oakwood School in Morgan Hill. It began as a preschool through eighth grade school, and the high school was added in 2005. Today, Oakwood School is flourishing with an enrollment of nearly 500 preschool through twelfth grade students on a 30-acre campus tucked away behind the intersection of Monterey Street and Watsonville Road.

One local family has been with Oakwood for many of those years. When Divya and Nikhita Gopisetty started at Oakwood School in seventh and second grades, they didn't know what their futures had in store for them, but their parents believed that Oakwood would provide an excellent foundation for them to discover who they were and how they wanted to shape the world.

During her time at Oakwood, Divya co-founded the Speech and Debate Team, was the captain of the Girls' Varsity Basketball team, and also participated in the Interact Community Service Club, where she was able to engage in social justice issues that mattered to her. These experiences helped Divya grow as a student, individual, and leader, supporting her next chapter in life. After graduating from Oakwood in 2014, she headed to Stanford, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology and was honored to speak at Stanford's 2018 graduation ceremony.

Nikhita is currently a Senior at Oakwood and was one of five Bay Area teens who headed to Washington D.C. last year with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to meet with two U.S. senators and members of Congress to talk about renewing $150 million in federal funding to find a cure for the disease. Like her older sister, she has also been able to balance academics and extra-curricular activities so that she has discovered where her passion and interest lie. Nikhita works on the tech team for Oakwood Performing Arts productions and plays tennis with the Girls' Varsity Tennis Team.

Nikhita Speech and Debate Class

Oakwood School has reached another pivotal point in its history with the launch of Spreading Our Roots: Oakwood Campus Expansion Project. The project includes a new Liberal Arts building, gymnasium, and a playfield. These projects are well underway, advancing the school's ability to provide enhanced hands-on learning opportunities and expanded extracurricular offerings for current students as well as sustaining excellence in education decades into the future. These enhancements greatly support two of the key tenants that set Oakwood apart from other schools - confident self-expression and unbridled exploration. At the heart of the Liberal Arts building is a 200-seat theater along with a Maker's Lab where students will be able to build whatever they can imagine and turn their technological dreams into reality.

Oakwood students from first grade through twelfth grade study drama, take part in plays and musicals, and learn a variety of increasingly complex visual arts techniques. They also participate in PE classes and compete in a variety of athletics programs. After years of thoughtful planning, the projects and initiatives the school has underway are transforming the campus and making it possible for future generations of Oakwood students and faculty to excel and discover, to imagine and pioneer, to lead and transform. They will unite the school as a community to create an even better Oakwood and amplify their students' impact on the world--both locally and globally.

The completion of this growth at Oakwood School will propel a bright, new generation of gifted, young people into vital leadership roles in our community. The need for active learning and critical thinking to create a bold, entrepreneurial spirit in students has never been more apparent. When people visit the Oakwood School campus, they feel there is something quite special. The reason for this is no secret. When children are taught in a small and nurturing classroom environment by subject-focused teachers who love what they do (Oakwood boasts a 9:1 student teacher ratio), wonderful things happen. Add to that a strong curriculum, broad extra-curricular opportunities and beautiful facilities and you have an educational opportunity that is unmatched in the area. We are certain the Gopisetty girls think so. We can't wait to see the great heights they reach next.


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