A Catholic School for All Faiths
Oak Knoll is a Catholic school that welcomes students of all faiths and offers them the opportunity to not only explore Catholicism in an academic context but also explore and respect other faith choices.
For example, students in grade nine were recently given the opportunity to discover a patron saint, someone with whom they connect personally—be it through their name, birthdate, interest, talent, or hobby. After writing about the saint and their connection to him or her, they created a contemporary icon (after learning about traditional icons) that represented their patron saint. Many drew illustrations, made collages, and created graphic images to complete their icon. The icons are hanging in classrooms so students and faculty are surrounded by the communion of saints and reminded that Catholics believe they are here to intercede on our behalf.
“Completing this assignment taught me so much more about Catholicism and has helped me to understand and see this beautiful religion in a new light. After choosing our saint, we had to use our imaginations to create an icon for our respective saints. I felt that this assignment, though simple, provided a great amount of peace to me, and although I am not Catholic, I felt like I could look up to my saint as a role model,” explained Ana Rizvi ’26 who identifies as Muslim.
“Researching saints and creating an icon helped me connect on a deeper level to my Catholicism. This is because I chose a saint I felt connected to—I have bad eyesight and St. Lucy is the patron saint of poor eyesight,” said Maris McGinty ‘26 who identifies as Catholic.
Also last week, grade 12 students visited a Hindu temple to culminate a unit on Hinduism in their religion class. Students were able to ask questions of Hindu practitioners, experience “arti” (Hindu prayer) and tour the temple and learn about the significance of various objects and spaces in the temple and how they are used in worship. The visit provided additional information on deities and the Hindu religion which will help students as they prepare a presentation on a particular Hindu deity for display in their classes. Hinduism is one of several world religions studied in Upper School religion classes.
Whether a practicing Catholic, a practitioner of a different faith, undecided, or atheist, all students at Oak Knoll discover the tenets, values, history, traditions, and beliefs of the Catholic Church along with exposure to other world religions. Through this inquiry, and within a community that upholds Catholic values while supporting other religious beliefs, students have the opportunity to grow not only in an intellectual, physical, and emotional capacity but in a spiritual capacity as well.