While attending a summer program for high school students at the University of Dallas, Sarah (Hunt) Arkell met an Oakcrest student, who inspired Sarah to learn more about the school. Although they lived in Texas at the time, Sarah and her father soon visited Oakcrest, and Sarah enrolled for the following year as an eleventh grader so that she could spend her final two years of high school there.
Sarah lived with the Currano family (Rebecca, ‘92; Theresa, ‘93; Maria, ‘95; Anita, ‘99; Catherine ‘02) while she attended Oakcrest. She has warm memories of sharing a home with the Curranos, who have eleven children and five Oakies. “It was so fun living there because someone was always around,” Sarah recalls. She also enjoyed the experience of attending school in the Washington, DC area. “I had previously lived in Texas and Kansas, only in the suburbs, so that was a cool experience for me.” Sarah played basketball at Oakcrest in both eleventh and twelfth grade. She has fond memories of history class with Ms. Makuc, who was also Sarah’s mentor. “Today she is a good friend,” Sarah adds.
Maria (Currano) Murphy, ‘95 shares that Sarah fit in quickly in the Currano home: “She was fun and easy to get along with and added lots of laughter (and Skittles!) to the house. She became like a bonus sister, and is included in our family photo at several weddings we attended.”
After graduating from Oakcrest, Sarah studied finance at the University of Dallas. Today, she is a mother of four children — Emma, James, Claire and Michael. Michael was born premature with an extremely rare condition that leaves him with cognitive and physical impairments. Live Action, a pro-life advocacy group, recently made a video about Michael’s story. In it, Sarah and her husband reflect on the beauty of their son’s life and the value and dignity of the lives of all people with disabilities. “You realize that you will be the one taking care of him [for the rest of your life]. But you also realize that that’s what God does for us every single day,” Sarah reflects in the video. “Michael taught me what unconditional love is.” She mentions that their experience with Michael has given them the chance to receive love and support from so many different people and organizations. Sarah herself is a passionate advocate for disability rights and the pro-life movement, and is highly involved with local charities that help the disabled.
When asked what she took away from her time at Oakcrest, Sarah says, “I think a liberal arts education helped me to learn how to think critically, a skill I will use for the rest of my life.”