Oakies Shine at Christendom College

Oakcrest has sent a number of alumnae to Christendom College over the years. This year, however, presents a unique situation—alumna Laura Cermak (‘15) graduated as Valedictorian of Christendom’s Class of 2019 on May 11. Meanwhile, senior Katie Svoboda (pictured) is set to begin her studies as a freshman at Christendom in the fall. Both Oakies are recipients of Christendom’s highest financial award, the Padre Pio Full-Tuition Scholarship.
Katie will graduate in June of 2019 and was one of three students this year to receive the Padre Pio Scholarship out of a competitive pool of 76 applicants. To earn the scholarship she participated in a rigorous competition weekend that included writing an essay and being interviewed by members of the Christendom faculty. The essay portion asked students to discuss the the value of a liberal arts education, something that Katie has had ample time to experience and reflect on at Oakcrest. She believes her understanding of the connection between between a liberal arts education and the betterment of man in all aspects of life made her essay appealing. “We see an education as something to be acquired almost like a thing and as a means to an end,” she says, “However, a truly valuable education, a liberal education, is one that doesn’t simply improve a man in a trade, it improves him as a man. A liberal arts education is one that brings man to virtue through his studies and teaches him to be truly free within an understanding of moral boundaries.”

Katie feels more than prepared for the rigors of college thanks to her Oakcrest education. She says, “I think the one of the most important things Oakcrest has given me is my work ethic. Having teachers who try their hardest to help you learn, who are genuinely invested in keeping you engaged in the material, was an amazing gift for me coming to high school at Oakcrest. It instilled in me an understanding of the value of hard work that is one of the things I have come to pride myself most in leaving school this spring, and I know it will ground me in my work in college and push me to succeed and to appreciate the education I’m receiving.”

Katie plans to major in history at Christendom.

Laura graduated from Christendom with a BA in Political Science and Economics. During her collegiate career, she got the chance to delve into her interests through training and internships with a variety of organizations including The Heritage Foundation, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, American Enterprise Institute, and Alliance Defending Freedom. Now she’s set to start a job as a Business Innovations Associate at Saffron Ventures in Arlington, VA this coming August. She’ll help build businesses and nonprofits to prepare tomorrow’s leaders, with a focus on designing international internships and training programs.Before beginning work she will spend several weeks in Europe with the Beacon Fellowship for Business. She is a board member of the Oakcrest Alumnae Association.

You can watch Laura’s Valedictorian speech here.
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