Oak Knoll Celebrates 175th Anniversary of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus

For the first time since October 2019, the entire Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child community in the Upper and Lower schools gathered on the school turf field Friday, October 15, 2021, proudly displaying their school colors to honor Founders’ Day – the anniversary of the founding of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ), which today marked the conclusion of its 175th anniversary and the year-long celebration. 

Oak Knoll’s Founders’ Day celebration included uplifting songs, inspirational prayers, and an abbreviated version of the history of the SHCJ, led by students in various grade levels. Lower School students wrote notes of thanks and praise to the members of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus for the work they have done and continue to do.

Although Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child, in Summit, was founded in 1924, Founders’ Day recognizes all the SHCJ schools within the global network each year on Oct 15th – the day when Cornelia Connelly first founded the Society in 1846.

“Here at Oak Knoll, we are all connected to a much bigger family,” said Head of School Jennifer G. Landis. “We’re all part of the family of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus that’s within the United States, in Europe and Africa, and it’s like having cousins all across the world and we are shared in that name.” 

On Sunday, October 17, Landis will join colleagues and other Heads of School within the SHCJ American Province at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul in Philadelphia at the 175th Anniversary Closing Liturgy, which will be livestreamed starting at 11 a.m. 

“I’m excited to celebrate in Philadelphia on Sunday with colleagues and to be part of that celebration of our big family,” said Landis, who explained that today is an important milestone for Oak Knoll. 

“The last time we were all together was two years ago on this exact day, and look at where we are now,” she said. “Today we’re all here on our knoll with our Oak trees. There were people who came to this place and saw this hill 97 years ago, saw these trees and thought that this would be a good place for a school and a good name for the school would be Oak Knoll.

“These trees bear acorns that fall into the fertile soil and are given nutrients, sun, and rain to grow and that’s exactly what a Holy Child education is meant to do. It takes us from the Little Acorns (PreK) to our Oak trees (seniors) That’s what we are here for. This growth of becoming oak trees in the SHCJ and the vision of Cornelia Connelly and all the people who work to bring her mission to life.”