Oak Knoll Celebrates 49th Annual National Catholic Schools Week

Faith, excellence and service were the themes of this year’s National Catholic Schools Week — which runs annually from the last Sunday in January through the remainder of the week. Since 1974, the week has been celebrated throughout the country in honor of Catholic education and the value it provides to young people. 

At Oak Knoll, the week is an opportunity for Lower School students to show their school spirit, alongside their holy spirit, through a series of themed days, surprises, and activities. 

On Monday, students participated in “Love Your School Day.” They enjoyed an Oak Knoll school colors dress down day and wrote all the reasons they love Oak Knoll on paper hearts which were then hung around the school. The hearts will remain on the walls through Valentines Day.

 Tuesday was “Celebrating Students and our Faith Day.” A surprise raffle was set up providing students the opportunity to garner goodie bags or receive lollipops to ensure everyone ended up a winner. In addition, grades 2-5 attended a special session in the chapel to learn about vocations from Father Matthew Gonzalez, Parochial Vicar at St. Bartholomew the Apostle in Scotch Plains.

 Wednesday was “Theme Dress Down Contest and Spirit of Giving Day.” Each grade level had a special dress down theme and took turns parading for fellow grades. Each grade then voted on a winner from another grade and the winning class will receive a special dress down day in the future. Student Council collected donations to be used to purchase and put together toiletry bags for those in need at Bridges Outreach in Summit.

 “Celebrating our Community Day” was the theme for Thursday. Students gathered for the first time in their cross-grade Prayer Families for readings and activities. Prayer Families gather throughout the year, and provide an opportunity for students from each grade to develop friendships with older and younger students and engage in fun activities together. 

The week ended with “Winter Fun Day and Celebrating our Parents Day.” Students had a pajama dress down day and the Student Council served hot cocoa with marshmallows at lunch time as a special treat. Students also brought home special notes for their parents who have chosen to provide them with an education rooted in Catholic values — regardless of their religion. Friday evening, grade 2 joined their family members to share their newly acquired square dancing skills — learned in Creative Movement class. Lower School Physical Education, Health, and Creative Movement Teacher, Kelly Hartmann, was on hand with a professional square dance caller so that family members could learn and participate.

“Students enjoyed a special week of celebrating being a Catholic independent school and had fun engaging in many joyful activities that were thoughtfully planned,” said Christine Spies, Lower School Division Head.