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How Villanova Preparatory School promotes the development of mind, heart and body

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How Villanova Preparatory School promotes the development of mind, heart and body

There is a big emphasis on life skills. These include teamwork, cooperation, perseverance, self-confidence, and healthy habits honed from participating in the school's excellent athletics programming, including football, volleyball, basketball, and soccer. Guided by the mantra "Pursuing victory with honour," sports here is not just about winning but about doing so with good sportsmanship and respect. 

Annual traditions like Wildcat Day, Nova Bowl, International Day, school dances and pep rallies further enliven campus all year long. All these events contribute to a well-rounded education, enriching the overall experience for students and fostering a sense of community and school spirit.

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Nestled in California’s picturesque Ojai Valley, Villanova Preparatory School is where students from over a dozen countries achieve excellence academically, spiritually, and personally. It’s a success story made possible by dedicated, well-qualified teachers who support students inside and outside the classroom.

Villanova offers honours classes, Advanced Placement, and the IB Diploma Programme. In these academic pursuits, students gain a broad knowledge of the humanities, arts, and sciences as they cultivate critical thinking and self-expression, making them socially conscious global citizens — and ready for the world’s top universities. Villanova is the only boarding school in California to offer the rigorous IB Diploma Programme, which is considered the gold standard in international education. Graduates in the Class of 2023 were admitted on full-ride scholarships to Dartmouth, UCLA and many other top 50 universities.

Munoz didn’t use to think of herself as “a school person.” Motivated to challenge herself, Munoz chose to pursue the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme, seeing it as an opportunity she couldn’t miss. Her IB journey thus far included an Extended Essay on Biology, delving into the medical field, and a CAS project on a children's book highlighting environmental issues. “I love all my classes, they are fun and they all differ from each other,” she says. The IB has inspired her to dream big too.

Monica Munoz left home at 14, following in the footsteps of her uncle, brother, sister and cousin — all of whom attended Villanova. "I grew up knowing that I would go to Villanova for high school, and as expected, I did," she says. Navigating the transition proved seamless for Munoz, thanks to the warm embrace of her peers and teachers.

Monica Munoz

Los Mochis, México 

Class of 2024

"Academics and adapting to a new language were challenging at first but the teachers and classmates made it feel like a supportive community," she reflects.

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"Villanova has greatly influenced my desire to study something related to the medical field. The passion and interest my teacher showed in Biology inspired me," she says.

She also acknowledges the IB programme's role in refining her writing skills, preparing her for higher education, and instilling effective time management.

As Munoz sets her sights on university, she carries with her not just academic achievements but a profound sense of belonging and a passion for learning. "Villanova not only prepares us academically but also emotionally and mentally," she says.

Kim has seamlessly woven sports into his Villanova narrative, participating in football, soccer, and golf. "Playing sports helps me physically and emotionally, but also it improves my leadership skills," he says. What sets Villanova apart in Kim's eyes is its inclusive sports culture.

Among the school’s vibrant community of scholars and athletes is Ryan Kim, a bright and athletically gifted student whose journey at Villanova has unfolded with enthusiasm and camaraderie.

Transitioning to a new school can be daunting, but for Kim, the initial challenges were met with a supportive community. "Interacting with school staff directly and experiencing diverse activities in the dorm made me enjoy my school year," he says. "I became more mature and developed my social interaction by playing sports and going on different dorm trips."

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Participating in sports, especially team sports, has helped Kim know many people better. "Growing as a team and an individual throughout the competition has taught me many lessons," he says.

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Ryan Kim

"As a small high school, we don’t have enough people for varsity teams and junior varsity except for some sports. This helps others who have never tried the sport to compete at the varsity level and try it,” he says.

Seoul, South Korea

Class of 2026

Managing time efficiently for school and sports became second nature, broadening his understanding of diverse cultures through friendships with students from all over the world.

Saito cherishes Villanova's traditions, especially Wildcat Day. "It is enjoyable to play sports with someone who I do not usually talk to. I love to play sports, so it is my favourite tradition so far," he says.

Saito appreciates Villanova’s robust support system, particularly for English language learners. ELD classes, EIS sessions, and study hall assistance have proven invaluable in enhancing his language proficiency and adapting to American culture.

Hibiki Saito came to Villanova during his freshman year, driven by a desire to experience schooling in a different country and to master the English language.

While he did struggle with the challenges of a new language and an unfamiliar culture, Saito's infectious sociability served as a bridge. "I am a very social person, and people were friendly to me even though I did not speak the language well," he shares. The warmth extended by his peers made the cultural transition smoother than anticipated. As a resident student, Saito witnessed significant personal growth.

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One of Saito’s highlights thus far is the boat project, where students are tasked to make a boat that can float on water. "I had fun as my friend and I made it all ourselves," he says. 

Now an 11th-grade student, Saito remains open-minded about post-graduation plans. "Since I learned English and experienced high school in the US for four years, I want to learn more about the international community,” he says.

Hibiki Saito

Tokyo, Japan

Class of 2025

"I became more independent and learned how to make choices on my own," he reflects.

An enriching education awaits at Villanova Preparatory School