Oak Knoll Welcomes Students from Holy Child School in Ireland

Four students from Holy Child Killiney, Ireland, visited Oak Knoll for nearly two weeks in April, marking the first time such an exchange has occurred with one of the two Holy Child schools in Ireland.

Lauren Barry, Éanna Brady, Sarah Canacott, and Holly Gubala were hosted by Chloe Bourneuf ’25, Caitlin Canal ’25, Gwyneth Healy ’25, Moira Joel ’25, Grace Ritter ’25, and their families. The students, currently studying in their fourth year of secondary school, are the equivalent of American sophomores.

Rebecca Mull, Upper School World Language teacher, said this exchange was remarkable as it went beyond learning about another culture due to the bond shared by Holy Child Schools.

By pairing with a Holy Child school, it helps us to appreciate our shared heritage and tradition by recognizing what is similar and familiar while at the same time noticing how they might celebrate the tradition differently,” Mull said.

This particular Holy Child bond was displayed when the exchange students traveled to the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia to visit the shrine dedicated to the Society’s founder, the Venerable Cornelia Connelly.

In addition to taking classes at Oak Knoll, the Irish students and their OKS counterparts also took a bite out of the Big Apple and had a blast at the Fly Zone indoor trampoline park. Some exchange students also traveled to Boston, visiting Harvard and Brown University.

The four students said they enjoyed their visit to Oak Knoll and the United States, adding that their time in Summit had dispelled some notions about America.

They also acknowledged the similarities between the two Holy Child schools despite differences in class schedules and times and the food.

“The school prayer is the same back home,” Brady noted, adding she appreciated how friendly the students and teachers were.

Barry also wanted to offer a “shout-out” to the dining hall staff.

“They were so nice, and the food was so good,” she said.

Holy Child Killiney is a Catholic secondary that first opened its doors in 1947 and serves students from ages 12 to 19. All students undertake a 6-year cycle annually divided into three academic terms. Many of the more than 350 students come from the Greater Dublin and Wicklow areas.

Like Oak Knoll, it is sponsored by the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, a member of the Holy Child Network of Schools. It is guided by the educational philosophy of the Society’s founder, Cornelia Connelly.

This is Oak Knoll’s first-time hosting students from Killiney, and we hope it will be an annual event. The students’ visit came several weeks after a group of Oak Knoll students and faculty traveled to Killiney and Barcelona, Spain, over spring break. Last month, Oak Knoll welcomed two sophomores from fellow Holy Child school Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena, California.

Oak Knoll also offers a range of international exchange opportunities as part of our Global Learning Program.