Although Cecilia Escobar is taking up a new position as Oakcrest’s Middle School Director, she is no stranger to the school. She began teaching at Oakcrest in 1991 and has taught many classes for both Upper School and Middle School, from French and English to theology and history.
Oakcrest’s beloved Most Courageous American Competition got its start thanks to Mrs. Escobar. This annual event for seventh and eighth grade students involves creating a March Madness-style bracket of men and women from American history. Each week, students debate in history class over the virtues of these people and then choose one to advance to the next round. Eventually, there are only two people left, and a seventh grade student and an eighth grade student make speeches in front of the whole school about why their respective candidate should be considered the Most Courageous American. All Oakcrest students then vote to decide who merits the title.
“I loved the idea of inspiring my students through the lives of courageous Americans,” Mrs. Escobar explains. “Seventh and eighth grade is the perfect time to engage with students' imaginations and love for noble things. After reading about and discussing the characters from history, they invariably start to reflect on their own lives, asking themselves if they, too, could give of themselves in such magnanimous and brave ways. This fits with Oakcrest's mission, to educate the whole person. All learning is integrated and this is a perfect way to show students how the study of history can directly affect their lives.”
Serving as Middle School Director will bring many exciting new opportunities that Mrs. Escobar is looking forward to. In addition, she will continue to have a presence in the classroom, teaching seventh grade medieval history. “I am planning on working directly with all the Middle School teachers and spending significant time with our new Middle School teachers,” she says. “With proper mentoring and support of the teachers, the students benefit tremendously. As a history teacher and Middle School Director, I will be focusing on developing the seventh grade history curriculum to be exciting and robust by making connections between history and our other departments.”
Mrs. Escobar has had the joy of seeing a daughter (Clare ‘18) attend Oakcrest while she taught there. She says that her favorite Oakcrest memory is the day Clare graduated. “She benefited greatly from her Oakcrest education and my husband and I could not be more grateful,” Mrs. Escobar notes. “Her teachers were dedicated and truly loved her and cared about her. The friends she made will, no doubt, be lifelong friends, and her understanding of who she is and why she is on earth was firmly rooted in her by her studies and the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. I realized on her graduation day that the seven years that she and I spent on the Beltway together driving into school were a gift from God.”