Real-life COH vs YA Fantasy OAKS
Camp Oak Hallows is a real-world 501c3 Non Profit Organization based in the state of Texas, first incorporated in 2017 for the purpose of creating K12 curriculum content made available online, for free, to learners who may have difficulty accessing school campus-based resources and opportunities.
Much like its fictional counterpart, Camp Oak Hallows is committed to community building, and sees student body diversity as a strength. One of the most powerful groups within COH is the Student Government, which has real control over programs, funding and expenditures, growth and development, and even confirming the Board of Directors. Of the several planned accessibility measures, affordability programs are among the highest priority.
By the 10 Year Plan, Camp Oak Hallows intends to open its gates in the spring of 2024 for the first operational Season of the central Texas campus. In order to survive as a business serving its students, the campus must be as “green” as possible, producing much of its own energy and water, as well as food, and any other resources that can be produced on-site.
Oaks is the fictional outdoor school setting of YA Fantasy novels written by COH’s founder, VL Gaffney, based on her plans for Camp Oak Hallows’s future central Texas campus, an all-accessible and all-sustainable school for two “groups” of young people: hechiceros and no-mágico.
For the books, author VL Gaffney chose a more recognizable and “confident” school symbol, the OAKS crest (above), to evoke similarities between the fictional school and Hogwarts or Ilvermorny, from JK Rowling’s Harry Potter. Unlike Rowling’s works, however, OAKS does not depict xenophobic ideas existing in the magical society culture of the stories, and the school does not restrict admission to human hechicero (“wizards.”)
In OAKS, the campus grounds’ history are not disclosed, but it is generally understood by the characters that they are living on what was once Indígena land, just like everyone else on the continent. The Headmasters make a point to revere Indígena students in a way Rowling never shows to non-wizards in the Harry Potter stories.