If you ask Katie (Swedo) Beatty (‘07) what Oakcrest means to her, she will tell you, “Through my time at Oakcrest, I found my best friends, my faith and my husband. To say that those six years had a lifelong impact on my future would be an understatement.”
Katie started her Oakcrest journey in Middle School. Although she was not Catholic, she began attending daily Mass during her senior year of high school to help out with lighting and setup. She found herself falling in love with the Mass, and on her senior retreat felt the call to become Catholic. Katie made the commitment to convert on Palm Sunday of her senior year and was received into the Church on Easter Sunday of her freshman year of college. Oakcrest theology teacher, Mrs. Bonnie Hanssen, was her sponsor.
During high school, Katie also met her future husband, John. The two of them began dating during their senior year and continued to do so as they both attended Virginia Tech. They were married during Katie’s junior year. Katie graduated in three and a half years with a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics with a concentration in Education. The Beattys now have have three boys and two girls. They adopted their eldest daughter, Rose, from South Korea in 2018.
Katie and John delight in Rose’s smile, her intelligence, and her curious spirit. Katie also acknowledges that adoption has had its challenges, especially as Rose learned to form attachments to her new parents. She sees adoption as a special vocation, one that has been well worth the struggle. “Adoption is a wonderful reminder of our relationship with Christ,” Katie says. “We are all adopted brothers and sisters together in His mystical body.”
The liberal arts education that Katie received at Oakcrest has served her well in her vocation as a wife and mother. “My time at Oakcrest taught me how to think critically, solve complex problems and stretch myself to learn things that do not come easily to me. My time at Oakcrest taught me that education is a lifelong endeavor.”
Katie works this love of learning into everyday life with her family. She enjoys showing her children how things work. She also loves learning from them, noting that children are wonderful teachers of how to observe the world with wonder and appreciate beauty. “They marvel at a caterpillar crawling on a leaf, they climb trees to see how high they can go and proudly show off their latest LEGO creations,” she says. “Since I am a stay at home mom, I get to see them learn and grow every day and it is a true gift.”
Katie remembers many special moments at Oakcrest. One of her favorite memories is of a rocketry project that she and some classmates worked on the fall semester of senior year. Their teacher gave them CAD modeling software and they spent the next few months designing their own rocket, which was to be entered in a competition. “My favorite memories of that time were spent at [classmate] Adia’s grandmother’s farm in Howard County shooting off the rockets that we had made,” Katie says. “One particularly memorable moment was on a windy day in early spring. I was in charge of pushing the button that would launch the rocket. I gave the countdown and as soon as I reached one, our stand blew over and our rocket shot across the field straight for us. We all dived to safety (thankfully no one was hurt) and learned a valuable lesson that day: Windy days are not the best for shooting rockets.”