11 Students Inducted Into Oak Knoll Chapter of Cum Laude Society

Five seniors and six juniors were recognized for their academic excellence and inducted into Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child’s chapter of the Cum Laude Society on Friday, March 24, 2023, in the Mother Mary Campion Center for the Performing Arts. Inductees and their families gathered for a small reception in the Aileen Maury Dining Hall following the ceremony.

Students were inducted into Cum Laude — a society that recognizes academic achievement in secondary schools for the purpose of promoting excellence, justice, and honor — during an in-person ceremony for grades 7-12 with family, faculty, and staff.

The OKS seniors inducted into the society this year, in combination with the seniors who were inducted last year as juniors, represent the top 20 percent of the Class of 2023.

Seniors inducted this year include Lily Andersen ’23 of Chatham, Katharine Cugno ’23 of Summit, Jennifer Callandriello ’23 of Morristown, Kelly Troczynski ’23 of Clark, and Sarah Kuhl ’23 of Essex Fells.

The seniors were joined by their classmates inducted last year as juniors including Iman Ali ’23 of Watchung, Katherine Gupta ’23 of Berkeley Heights, Catherine Huegel ’23 of Essex Fells, Katie Nguyen ’23 of Watchung, Clara O’Mara ’23 of Basking Ridge, Laura Ryan ’23 of Madison and Katherine Siedem ’23 of Madison.

Juniors inducted this year include Rory Weldon ’24 of Summit, Abby Flood ’24 of Glen Ridge, Danielle Delano ’24 of Summit, Eve Carbeau ’24 of Morristown, Lucy Duttenhofer ’24 of Summit, and Kiley Reape ’24 of Morristown.

Oak Knoll alumna Kelsey Shroeder Szot ’13 was the Cum Laude keynote speaker and addressed the new inductees during the ceremony.

“Someday you will all move on from Oak Knoll, but don’t underestimate how much your time here will impact the next ten years and more,” said Szot. In her talk, she attributed Oak Knoll for assigning her an AP Computer Programming class she initially didn’t want but eventually fell in love with and gave her the confidence to pursue computer science as a career. She now holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematical and Computational Science and a master’s degree in Management Science and Engineering both from Stanford University. She is currently co-founder of a company that innovates in the field of artificial intelligence.

“More than anything though, I hope while you’re here, you’ll cultivate the same sense of self-belief I attained,” Szot said. “Get pushed outside your comfort zone and build a faith foundation and keep that with you in the years to come.”

Jennifer Peterson, Upper School Dean of Teaching and Learning, is president of Oak Knoll’s Cum Laude chapter. Additional Oak Knoll faculty members serving as permanent members include English Teacher Dr. Sylvia McTague, Upper School Division Head Kate McGroarty, and Head of School Jennifer G. Landis. Serving three year terms include Mathematics Teacher Margaret Widder, and Librarian Elinor Takenaga.

Upper School Division Head Kate McGroarty also addressed the inductees during the ceremony. “As you look ahead to your future academic path, I encourage you to be inspired by the words of Cornelia Connolly, and I quote, ‘be open, sincere, lively, and joyful, ready for seeing and active.’ Congratulations to our Cum Laude recipients,” she concluded.\

Oak Knoll formally became part of the Cum Laude Society 37 years ago. The Cum Laude Society originated in Maryland in 1906 to ensure that scholastic achievement be accorded as much recognition as that given to other accomplishments.