With gratitude to Dr. Mary T. Ortiz and her eleven years as Head of School, Oakcrest School honored the Head of School Emerita in a celebratory toast at its Founder’s Day Celebration on September 16, 2023.
Oakcrest School is pleased to announce its Upper School Theatre production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. The musical follows the story of Charlie Brown and his friends based on the characters of cartoonist Charles Schulz in his infamous comic strip, Peanuts. Through dance and song, Charlie and his friends discover what it truly means to be a “good man”.
Oakcrest School is pleased to welcome Christie Keuchel as the Interim Head of School. Mrs. Keuchel returns to Oakcrest after serving the school community for 13 years from 2007 to 2020 in a variety of roles: Associate Head of School for Students, Director of Student Life, Director of Middle and Upper School, and Theology teacher. She is the seventh Head of School to lead Oakcrest.
At Oakcrest, students foster their individual talents and passions outside the classroom which accompany the rigor of the curriculum and community at Oakcrest. Enjoy these highlights of Oakies pursuing their passions:
In the eighth grade at Oakcrest, students are tasked with reflecting on loyalty and justice throughout the year as their formation into a “Champion of Freedom and Responsibility” through their grade level experiences.
Three Oakcrest seniors - Regina Baird, Zoe Burke and Teddie Yeagley - signed to continue their athletic careers at their chosen universities in a college signing ceremony on Tuesday, May 16, 2023 with many of their coaches, family, and peers in attendance.
The entire Oakcrest student body, adorned in Oakcrest green and white and bursting with shouts of jubilation and ringing of bells, ascended on the gym floor for the very first time following a ceremonial ribbon cutting to open the new McGowan Family Athletic Center on May 2, 2023. Students, faculty and staff were joined by many of the project’s sponsors, including Dorothy and Brian McGowan, for an afternoon of celebration at the inaugural pep rally.
The seventh grade theatre class, taught by Visual and Performing Arts Master Teacher Dr. Kristin Ricci, performed a series of three medieval passion plays depicting Noah’s Ark, The Incredulity of Thomas, and The Coronation of Mary.
The eighth grade class, led by Dean of Students Ms. Meghan Hadley ‘06, Mrs. Andie Salerno and Mrs. Margaret Sweatman, Middle School Athletic Director, climbed the 9.3 mile-loop trail on Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park. The hike is a culmination of the eighth grade’s Grade Level Experience, guiding the class through formation as “champions of freedom and responsibility” before they cross the threshold into upper school.
English Master Teacher Lisa Kenna was recently accepted to the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for Teachers. She will attend a course at Baylor University in Waco, Texas this coming summer 2023.
The Oakcrest Middle School theatre production of Newsies, Jr was enjoyed by two sold-out audiences February 24 and 25 at the Ernst Theatre in Annandale. The well-loved Disney musical was spectacularly performed by a Middle School cast and supported by an Upper School crew totaling nearly 60 Oakcrest students.
Ticket sales have opened for Oakcrest School’s Middle School theatre production of Disney’s Newsies, Jr.. Performances will take place on Friday, February 24 and Saturday, February 25 at 7:00 pm at Ernst Theater, 8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, Virginia 22003.
Lucy R. ’24 was recognized by the Scottish Harp Society of America for her composition entry in the group’s 40th anniversary tune writing competition. Her piece, Equinox, placed first among many entries from around the world.
In the ninth grade, Oakcrest students explore the theme of “Life as a Heroic Journey” through the lens of the virtues of self-knowledge, sporting spirit, and fortitude. As they discover these themes in their classes, particularly by studying the Greeks in history and through the reading of The Illiad and The Odyssey in their English course, they competed in their own Greek Olympics throughout the first and second quarters.
Oakcrest School is pleased to announce its Middle School Theatre production of the Disney musical, Newsies, Jr. The show is inspired by the true story of newsboys in New York City at the turn of the century when newsboys went on strike against publishers raising the distribution prices of newspapers. With music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Jack Feldman, the show is sure to be a hit for the family.
Oakcrest School had a major impact on the WETA Classical Countdown this year. The local radio station hosts their annual Classical Countdown on Thanksgiving day. The Countdown includes the top 100 classical music pieces of listeners in the Washington, D.C. area. In early November, listeners vote on their favorite classical piece and the top 100 are played during Thanksgiving week. On Thanksgiving night at 8:00 pm, the top-voted piece is crowned victorious and is played.
“I’ve had many friendships develop through the years because of Oakcrest. I enjoy being part of the lives of the girls and hope to encourage them to do their best and love life. There can be challenges that young women face, but we at Oakcrest have the opportunity to really impact the girls in a way that can help guide them to make great choices aiming for the good, the true and the beautiful.”
“In conversations I had with Mary Ortiz when I came back as an alumna to visit Oakcrest, I knew that if I was going to teach, I was going to do it here,” she said. “I was confident in the skills and the preparations that Oakcrest had given me in high school and to be part of this education is a gift.”
“Being at Oakcrest for the last four years feels like much longer,” Ms. Duncan said, reflecting on her time at Oakcrest thus far. “I have amazing students, the best colleagues, and I really like our program and the way the classroom experience is a support to the students' character formation and faith formation, as well as supporting families while they’re navigating a difficult time to be human - from the sixth graders to the seniors.”
“The way English classes taught me to write, not just how to use the right words, but how to create a strong structure and argument, has served me incredibly well. Oakcrest also taught me how to think critically, ask good questions, and have meaningful discussions--not just about literature or science, but everything,” she said. “Oakcrest helped me to learn more about myself and grow into the person I am today. This self knowledge has helped me develop and cultivate my personal aesthetic throughout design school into one that is truly representative of my whole self.”
“My senior thesis changed my view of myself,” she explains. “When I wrote and presented my thesis, it gave me confidence, and I thought that it would help our girls so much. This is a way for them to share what they’ve done not just in English class, but throughout their classes. The Senior Thesis solidifies what they’ve learned at Oakcrest. It is a culmination of what they have thought about over the years. After their presentations, they have the confidence that they can do anything. They do more than they thought they could do.”
When Zoe B. '23 thinks about her favorite parts of a typical Oakcrest School day, three things come to mind: seeing the smiling faces of Head of School Dr. Mary T. Ortiz and Dean of Students Meghan Hadley ‘06 at the beginning of the day, getting to stop in the Chapel throughout the day, and ending it all by laughing with her classmates in the senior loft.
“Having a basis of going to an all-girls school where you see female role models who are educated and accomplished, intelligent and well-spoken women in these fields of math and science, gave me a lot of confidence. That was something that having a female environment gave me the confidence to thrive in college, and I want to pass that along to my students. We have to learn to build each other up, not sell ourselves short. You don’t need to apologize for answering a question. You’re contributing, and that’s a good thing.”
“The liberal arts education I received at Oakcrest introduced me to many of the best thinkers and writers who have shaped the world over the past three thousand years,” she says. “That exposure taught me how to think critically, and how to reckon with the most fundamental questions we face—why we’re here, what we’re meant to do, and where we’re going.”
“The teachers are some of the most dedicated, intelligent, and kind women I've ever met, and they genuinely care for the well-being of each and every student,” Sophia explains. “The girls here are so incredibly supportive, always looking out for one another. My friends are my sisters, whether I've known them since sixth grade or just from junior year. The community of Oakcrest is so important to me because it makes going to school enjoyable. Even when I have bad or busy days, I walk through the doors smiling because I know it's another day I get to spend with some of the most amazing women and friends.”
“In the classes that I teach, discussion and interpretation is key, but it is under the auspices of the classical approach,” she explains. “I cover a lot of contemporary ideas which is helpful alongside an understanding of where contemporary ideas come from, so we develop that thinking process with the students. I think the education here is really valuable because it is not in a vacuum, it really does take into account the decades and centuries of learning, and for the visual arts, expression."
“The years that I have been at Oakcrest, many of my teachers have been willing to meet with me outside of class to help me if I am struggling in a class, or to form friendships with you apart from teaching you. In addition, this year especially, the mentoring program has been really important to me, and my mentor has really helped me in many different ways,” Maddy said.
As Maria (Kilner ’99) Sousa looks back at her years at Oakcrest, she sees the ways that her liberal arts education shaped her college experience and beyond.
“The liberal arts education I received at Oakcrest really set me up for success in college - to be a thinker and to ask questions,” she says. “My education at Oakcrest helped me become the problem-solver and leader that I am today.”
In the midst of her junior year, Monica ’24, looks back on her formative years spent at Oakcrest School with gratitude for the opportunity to learn fully what it means to be herself.
“Oakcrest provides an environment where we can learn who we are and learn to live that well,” she said. “Especially this year in 11th grade, as we take on more challenging content and workloads in our classes, we have started to really learn more about ourselves. Through our academic, social, and personal challenges, Oakcrest has given us the means to grow from that. Oakcrest has provided myself, and the whole school, with the perfect environment to explore what it means to be ourselves. Oakcrest has given me the tools I need to understand what is truly good for me and to actually execute the good for myself and others, whether this be through the sacraments, our classes, sports, or extracurriculars. All of these have given me the formation I need to be the kind of person the world needs right now.”