Oak Knoll Senior Emma Gamboa Commits to Army West Point
Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child senior Emma Gamboa ’21 of Landing, NJ, recently committed to continuing her academics and athletics career at Army West Point in the fall. At West Point, Gamboa plans to pursue STEM as a potential area of study.
While at Oak Knoll, Gamboa ran cross country and played basketball and lacrosse, but found her passion and developed her skill on the rugby pitch outside of school.
She was inducted into Oak Knoll’s chapter of the Cum Laude Society last April, placing her in the top 10 percent of her class. This past year, she has served as Oak Knoll’s Athletics Council President.
“I am so grateful for all of the opportunities Oak Knoll has afforded me,” said Gamboa. “I am blessed to have met people who support and inspire me to be where I am today and have helped me every step of the way. I have an incredible amount of gratitude for those who have been there from the beginning – my family, coaches, teammates, teachers, and friends. I am so excited to continue my academic and athletic career playing rugby for Army West Point!”
Although rugby has not been a varsity sport Oak Knoll sponsors, the school has been able to follow and support Gamboa from a distance, said Kelly Childs, Oak Knoll Athletic Director.
In 2019, Gamboa was an instrumental part of the Atlantis Rugby team’s first place finish in Utah, winning back-to-back North American Invitational 7’s and the first-ever North American High School 7’s Championships. Gamboa has played on the Morris Rugby’s girls’ high school team and was also named one of 12 players on the USA Rugby Girls High School All-American roster, the only New Jersey player selected.
“Emma’s commitment to her leadership positions will serve her well at West Point,” said Childs. “She’s always prepared for our meetings, extremely thorough in her planning, and willing to do whatever it takes to get the tasks at hand accomplished. We are really looking forward to continuing to watch her natural leadership abilities grow as she tackles everything ahead of her.”
In addition to academics and athletics, Gamboa is also committed to faith and service, two important pillars of Oak Knoll School.
Prior to the pandemic, Gamboa often led the school community in readings at weekly Wednesday morning masses on campus and led the community in a fundraising project this past fall to raise money for breast cancer research and for the New Jersey Veteran’s Hospital.
Last school year, Gamboa was chosen to be one of five Oak Knoll delegates to the National Association of Independent School’s Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC). Selection to attend this multi-day conference is highly selective and only students who have demonstrated maturity, community-minded behavior, and an ability and desire to lead and effect change within our school community are chosen to attend.
Gamboa was one of two juniors chosen, a first for Oak Knoll as typically, only seniors have attended. After attending SDLC, Gamboa’s cohort presented to the Oak Knoll’s Upper School community, speaking to some very difficult topics.
“Speaking on behalf of Oak Knoll School, we are all so proud to have had the opportunity to work with Emma, to support Emma, and to watch Emma develop into the talented student, athlete, and leader that she is today,” said Childs. “We will be cheering her on as she begins her journey at West Point,” she said.