Class of 2026 Discuss Unique Friendships, Unbreakable Bonds during Oak Knoll’s Eighth-Grade Moving-Up Ceremony

The 38 members of the Class of 2026 came together on campus to celebrate their transition from eighth grade to high school through prayers, songs, scripture readings, poems, and poignant reflections from several students on Thursday, June 9, during Oak Knoll’s annual Moving-up Ceremony.

“Throughout our journey as a class in seventh and eighth grade we have demonstrated the theme of today’s ceremony ‘Shooting for the Stars’ in academics, school competitions, sports and much more,” said Carolina O’Malley ’26, of Summit, and president of the Class of 2026.

“We all work together to make each other stronger and help each other shoot for the stars which is so special about our class. We have a dynamic that allows us to support each other in whatever we are passionate about. You are all truly my greatest friends and I can’t wait to see where life takes us in high school,” O’Malley said.

Kenzie Schiller ’26 of Westfield, talked about the stars as great lights in the dark sky but said that they offer much more.

“The stars we see in the sky are some the same stars that famous artists drew, and great authors wrote about,” she said. “We are all under the same stars that hold the same tales. We have always been told to shoot for the stars, but what if this was less of a metaphor and more of a truth? Maybe a realization to what our stars truly upheld over tons of years for us. What if in shooting for the stars we are already achieving greatness in such an action?”

Head of School Jennifer G. Landis also addressed the Class of 2026.

One of my favorite Cornelia Connelly quotes is, ‘Be yourself but make that self all that God wants it to be,’” said Landis. “There are so many ways that we are reminded that each of us is here for a reason. Today, since we are honoring you as a class, I want to expand on Cornelia Connelly’s statement by adding be your class and make your class all that God wants it to be. Think ahead to how you will continue to be who you are, who you are supposed to be as a class even as your constellation grows next year with the addition of new stars who will add their own shine to your already very bright light.”

Kate McGroarty, Upper School Division Head, said that when she thinks of the Class of 2026, she thinks of the word joy.

“Your joyful response, your smiles, your energy is contagious, and they light up the school. You live out the theme of ‘Shooting for the Stars’ – you are all essential members of the class, and it is together that you will reach the stars,” she said.

Congratulations Class of 2026!