Every Opportunity for Our Middle and High School Girls
Our Girls Find Joy in a Rich Student Life Student life is rich in our 7-12 all-girls middle and high school. Our young women are nurtured and encouraged in their development. Students participate in grade-level activities throughout the year, sponsoring events such as:
Grade 7 Halloween Party
Annual Semi-Formal Dance
Special celebrations to affirm student milestones are held throughout the school year, such as:
The Cum Laude Induction
The Foreign Language Honor Society Induction
The National Science Honor Society Induction
Eighth Grade Moving Up
Junior Ring Day
Our closing awards assemblies recognizing all our students
Finding the joy in every action we take, taking time to affirm our talents and recognize that uniqueness in each person illustrates who we are as a Holy Child school. We provide opportunities where the girls are actively involved in learning in each classroom, on each playing field, in each performance and in leadership. Young girls flourish in this single-sex setting where they have both voice and opportunity.
This after-school workshop is designed for aspiring young artists in the ninth grade who plan on pursuing the study of art at Oak Knoll. Accordingly, the class provides students with a foundation in basic drawing fundamentals and skills based upon direct observational work. In addition to the work accomplished in school, several outside assignments are required. If time permits, a brief introduction to computer graphics will be included in the course of instruction. The workshop meets once a week and is offered in each of the three trimesters. Drawing supplies are furnished by the creative arts department.
Forensics is derived from the Latin word “forum,” meaning “an open space.” Historically, the forum was the venue at which all sorts of ideas were publicly exchanged. Oak Knoll students can develop their public speaking and debate skills as participants in this competitive team. A member of the Newark Catholic Forensics League and the National Catholic Forensics League, the Oak Knoll team competes against rival schools on Saturdays during the school year and also competes at various invitational and New Jersey Forensics League tournaments. Seventh- and eighth-grade students can experience forensic competition as part of the Middle School Forensics team which competes in a county tournament each spring.
The Green Team works to raise awareness of environmental issues not only in our school and community, but also in the world. This group welcomes all students in grades 7 through 12, and has its own Moodle page where we post ideas, links, pictures and the latest news on environmental issues. Protecting the environment and all creatures on the Earth and working toward sustainability are our focus.
In the Great Books Roundtable, Level 3 program, eighth-grade students study traditional and modern classics in a small group setting under the direction of a trained discussion leader. This trimester program is a supplementary course of study that increases a student’s ability to enjoy, analyze, and discuss literature in depth.
The HOPE committee is comprised of faculty and student representatives. Each year, the student council president, the Campus Ministry Council president, each class president and vice president and one at-large member elected by the junior class serve on the HOPE committee along with the deans, the division head, and the adviser to the Campus Ministry Council. This committee serves as a clearinghouse for school-wide fundraising, collections, drives, and all other requests for monies. Campus Ministry Council and the student council are responsible for designated fundraising which traditionally occurs each year, such as bagel sales and class fundraisers. In an attempt to balance the many requests received each day from students who want to give generously to those in need, this committee meets monthly to respond and schedule those fundraising and collection efforts most important to the Upper School community.
The Upper School responds to the Holy Child goal to work for Christian principles of justice, peace, and compassion toward people in need in every facet of life — not only by raising funds, but by educating and raising awareness of those needs. Students who apply to the HOPE committee commit to education and awareness by presenting information to the student body about a specific issues of social justice, the people in need, their culture, their country, and how we can go beyond financial assistance in making a difference to a particular community.
Completing the HOPE template, a student submits her application to the HOPE committee. The committee reviews the request in the context of the school calendar for fundraising and then works with the applicant to schedule a presentation time and appropriate time/place for the fundraiser or collection.
Knit for the Needy is a group that meets weekly. Depending on their comfort level, members knit scarves and hats. The completed projects are donated to various organizations such as Bridges and Catholic Charities. All students in grades 7 through 12 are eligible to be members — no knitting experience necessary.
The Latin Club serves as an extracurricular opportunity for students to explore the classical world through participation in various games and activities. The Latin Club is affiliated with the National Junior Classical League and the New Jersey Junior Classical League. These organizations promote interaction, fellowship, and interest in the classics at a pre-collegiate level. All students interested in the ancient world and the Latin language, regardless of the language they study at Oak Knoll, are welcome to join the Latin Club.
Oak Knoll participates in the Catholic Mathematics League. The program consists of four competitions involving each school’s outstanding math students. Participation in these competitions encourages students’ confidence in their mathematical abilities.
Mission:Thanks is a club committed to providing support for the military and their families and is open to grades 7 through 12. Remembering veterans and active soldiers, participants in Mission: Thanks frequently send letters and care packages to soldiers and volunteer at a local V.A. hospital. Members of Mission: Thanks raise awareness about the need for Americans to support, on an ongoing basis, our active troops and veterans.
Each year, the New Jersey State Bar Foundation (NJSBF) sponsors mock trial competitions for high school students. The purpose of these competitions is to familiarize students with the operation of the law, court procedures, and the legal system. Students on the Mock Trial team meet for about four months to prepare a mock legal case provided by NJSBF. Team members take on the roles of lawyers, witnesses, and jurors in the trial and compete first on the county level. Winning teams then move on to competitions at the regional and state level. A faculty member and a practicing attorney advise and coach the team.
The National Latin Exam may be offered annually as an enrichment opportunity for students enrolled in Latin. The test incorporates grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension, derivatives, and cultural and historical knowledge. The National Latin Exam gives every student the opportunity to demonstrate her knowledge and to feel a sense of pride in her linguistic accomplishments. The test is offered to students on a volunteer basis.
Operation Smile is a private, not-for-profit volunteer medical services organization providing reconstructive surgery and related health care to children and young adults around the world born with cleft lips, cleft palates, and other facial deformities. Oak Knoll students participate as members of the Operation Smile Student Association. Students can apply to participate in summer training workshops and as members of student education teams attending international medical missions. In the recent years, Oak Knoll students have attended mission trips in Bolivia, China, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, and India, and in the summer of 2011, four students and a faculty moderator attended leadership training in Beijing, China. In summer of 2013, two students attended the training workshop in Norfolk, Virginia. Oak Knoll also holds an annual fundraiser to support the work of Operation Smile.
The Outdoors Club is a unique activity that offers to Oak Knoll students of all grades and their teachers the opportunity to explore various hiking trails in the area. Meeting on weekends several times per year, club participants enjoy beautiful North Jersey natural settings while engaging in invigorating exercise and lively conversation. The Outdoors Club provides the perfect break from your weekend homework. Students are encouraged to propose their favorite hiking trails for exploration.
The Peer Leadership Program, comprised of seniors working with grades six, seven, eight, and nine, operates under the direction of the Upper School dean in cooperation with student council. This program requires a commitment of time, energy, dedication, and a desire to support others. Seniors participating in this program are leaders who develop a special rapport with younger students. Peer leaders attend weekly planning sessions during the year and several meetings over the summer to prepare for the school year. Sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth graders look up to their peer leaders and emulate their behavior and attitudes.
The peer leaders meet once every cycle with the students in grades 7, 8, and 9. Other peer leaders work with the sixth-grade students to ease their transition to the Upper School. The meetings include discussions about social and academic pressures; relationships with peers, parents, and faculty; and any problems or concerns that need to be addressed. In addition to the group sessions, peer leaders organize activities such as games, fun nights, parties, and luncheons.
Photo Club meets bi-weekly after school. Students, with or without photographic experience, are welcome to join for one, two, or three trimesters. Members will choose between darkroom photography (using a 35mm camera and black and white film) for a trimester and digital photography. Darkroom photography gives students the opportunity to learn exposure, creative focusing and framing techniques and members learn to develop film and make enlarged prints from negatives. Digital photography applies the same concepts of exposure, creative focusing and framing for use with the Canon Rebel DSLR. Members photograph, upload the images, edit, enhance, and print images using Mac desktop computers, Adobe Photoshop, and inkjet printers. Digital space is limited to six computers, but members can team up in pairs. Students switch from digital to darkroom at the end of each trimester. Cameras are available for use during photo club meetings.
Oak Knoll is a proud member of the School Consortium of New Jersey. This organization is comprised of 10 public and private schools from the surrounding area. Its purpose is to provide students with unique, worthwhile opportunities to share their talents, accomplishments, and camaraderie.
An Executive Consortium Faculty Committee plans a yearly calendar of events to promote student growth in academics, sports, social skills, and creative arts. Participating and giving one’s best effort are the primary goals. The consortium recognizes individual and school achievement with ribbons, certificates, plaques, and trophies, yet keeps competition in proper perspective, imparting the message that winning is less important than trying.
In the yearly calendar of events are Cross-Country Race, Choral Ensemble, Spelling Bee, Chess, Problem Solving, General Knowledge, Interpretative Reading, Extemporaneous Speaking, and Foreign Language.
Through laboratory experiments, discussions, and literature research, students in the Science Club explore and learn about scientific topics of interest to them. Recent topics have included learning, memory, and regeneration in a freshwater flatworm, and the science of hair. Field trips to local sites are organized as interest dictates.
Shades is Oak Knoll’s multicultural association. At weekly meetings, members share their cultures and ethnicities and discuss current topics about diversity. Activities include trips to multicultural conferences and visits to guidance classes to broaden the discussion of diversity at Oak Knoll. Members present multicultural topics at school assemblies and sponsor programs to which other schools are invited.
Students in grades 7 through 12 meet each cycle to discuss, organize, and plan activities and presentations that celebrate the culture and ethnicity of African-Americans. Some of the presentations focus on the celebrations of Kwanzaa, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, and Black History Month. Oak Knoll’s Black Scholars group joins with Black Scholars from other independent schools to dialogue and socialize. Although the meetings focus on issues pertaining to African-Americans and their culture, all students are welcome.
The Stage Crew is a group of technicians responsible for planning and executing all tasks related to backstage work — sound, curtain, props, and set coordination. The Lighting Tech Crew is responsible for designing, programming, and executing the lighting for all school performances and assemblies. Members of the teams must attend periodic training sessions, learn how to operate the computerized light board, and dedicate the hours required for rehearsals and performances. Both crews are responsible for the annual calendar of events and collaborate closely with the directors for each production.
The Stock Market Club gives students a forum to discuss stocks, bonds, trading and investing. Members sign up for an online stock market simulation, where they are given $1,000,000 and told to invest using the skills developed in the meetings. At the end of each year, the member who has made the largest return is awarded a prize. In addition to the online simulation, members engage in dialogues on topics ranging from current trends in the markets to fraudulent investing schemes. Current membership stands at about 25 students.
With the guidance of the director of admissions, these students from grades seven to nine serve as hostesses for visitors to Oak Knoll. They act as official guides to prospective students on visiting days and also assist with all school open houses during the school year.
Oak Knoll sponsors trips to various countries abroad in response to academic connections and student interest. Some destinations in the past have been France, Spain, Canada and Italy. These trips are in addition to the Dominican Republic trip sponsored by Campus Ministry.
The Women in Politics club seeks to encourage girls to envision themselves as future leaders. Currently, female representation in Congress stands at 19%. Research shows the importance of teaching leadership skills to girls starting in middle and high school in order to change this statistic. During meetings, students have the opportunity to interview current female leaders via Google Hangouts as well as partake in Twitter chats with girls across the nation.
Writers’ Roundtables I, II, and III gather ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade creative writers. Students meet weekly to write creative pieces, share their work, and eventually get published. The moderator develops a variety of writing activities to inspire students to their best expressive writing in poetry, short story, and the personal essay.
Students interested in starting a new club are encouraged to meet with the deans. Each year, the Upper School supports the interests and passions of our students as they initiate new clubs.
This emerging program provides a forum for instrumentalists of varying abilities to play together weekly and to collaborate on performance pieces. The chamber orchestra accompanies the choir during the Christmas and Spring concerts. All students with experience playing an orchestral instrument are encouraged to join this group. Private lessons are available.
Chimes is a select seventh- and eighth-grade vocal group comprised of talented members from Concert Choir II. Auditions are held in September and January. Regularly scheduled morning rehearsals occur in preparation for the Fall Choral Consortium, an annual event founded and hosted by Oak Knoll. This event features vocal performances from neighboring middle schools. The Chimes also perform in the Spring Concert. Members of this group master the art of three-part harmony, learn and perform songs in a variety of styles, and incorporate show-choir techniques.
The concert choir is an in-school chorus that meets two times per cycle from September to June. The choir performs two concerts each year, in December and in May. This group has the opportunity to perform various styles of women’s choral literature while learning fundamentals of vocal technique and sight reading. Styles of choral literature include: classics, madrigals, art songs, spirituals and contemporary works.
Junior Dancers is a select dance group comprised of students from grades 7 through 9. Senior Dancers belong to grades 10 through 12. Students audition for membership which requires participation in numerous after-school and occasional weekend rehearsals. The groups perform classical ballet (including pointe), jazz, modern, lyrical, theatrical and Broadway show pieces at school productions and Dance Concerts. A group called Apprentices is open to any interested student. These developing dancers should attend group rehearsals as frequently as possible.
Dramatica is an exciting and new after-school drama offering that explores stagecraft in its various forms: acting techniques, improvisation, lighting, and stage presence. Students in this process-oriented activity rehearse and perform a scripted play to which the Oak Knoll community is invited. Auditions are held in September and February followed by two performances scheduled in the Fall and Spring trimesters.
Ensemble is our select women’s choir representing grades 9-12. Auditions are held at the beginning of the school year. The group provides an opportunity for students to achieve extraordinary levels of performance and excellence in a diverse repertoire ranging from Renaissance to Contemporary. The Ensemble performs in two major concerts and tours the local area supporting foundations and charities. Rehearsals take place twice per week from September to June.
Every spring, Oak Knoll supports a full-scale musical production. Some of the recent performances in our repertoire include, "Once on This Island," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," "Sophisticated Ladies," "Thoroughly Modern Millie," and "The Wiz." Participation in the school musical provides theatrical opportunities for students talented in music, drama, and dance, but also gives experience and training to students interested in staging, directing, lighting, set design and construction, costuming and make-up, publicity and ticket sales. Auditions for the musical usually occur in early fall.
The Stage Crew is a group of technicians responsible for planning and executing all tasks related to backstage work—sound, curtain, props, and set coordination. The Lighting Tech Crew is responsible for designing, programming, and executing the lighting for all school performances and assemblies. Members of the teams must attend periodic training sessions, learn how to operate the computerized light board, and dedicate the hours required for rehearsals and performances. Both crews are responsible for the annual calendar of events and collaborate closely with the directors for each production.
"Ecoute-moi" and "La Vista" are the French and Spanish newsletters published three to four times a year. These student-driven journals cover a wide variety of topics and are written for the most part in the target language. Some editions may include an article in English to reach a larger audience. In keeping with Oak Knoll’s commitment to being “green,” online editions of these newspapers are available.
"Freestyle," the Oak Knoll literary magazine, publishes poems, short stories, essays, artwork, and photography by students in grades 7 through 12. The student editors select the works to be included and design the layout of pages in order to best showcase Oak Knoll students’ creative works. All students may submit works for consideration and possible publication. Students in all grades are eligible and encouraged to serve as staff members of "Freestyle."
Membership on the staff of Untucked is open to all students from grades 7 through 12 who are interested in newswriting, layout, photography, art, and editing. The staff publishes four newspapers during each academic year and in the spring begins to anticipate the following year’s direction.
Production of Oak Knoll’s yearbook, "Aquila," is a yearlong endeavor. Junior and senior editors and a staff of students from all grades create an annual publication of approximately 240 pages. In assembling this book, students gain expertise in the areas of graphic design and desktop publishing, journalistic writing and photography, business management, and public relations. Juniors and seniors who have served as staff members may apply for editorial positions. The staff meets regularly twice a week after school. Sessions may also occur on weekends and during vacations in order to meet deadlines.
Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child is a Catholic independent school coeducational from kindergarten to grade 6 and all girls in grades 7 to 12. Oak Knoll was founded in 1924 and is one of 10 schools in the Holy Child Network of Schools that provides independent Catholic education across the United States.