The Lower School joined in the Upper School's annual Service Day for the first time in the event's 10-year history at Oak Knoll.
On October 23, Upper School students spent the morning at various sites around Summit and the surrounding area doing community service. Students, faculty, and staff utilized their various talents to serve the community, some performing at The Connelly Center for Education in Manhattan and others sorting eye glasses at New Eyes for the Needy in Millburn. Many groups gave back locally in Summit by sorting clothes at Bridges, preparing pink ribbons for next year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Susan G. Komen, and delivering food through Meals on Wheels at Sage Eldercare.
Other students went as far as The Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless in Elizabeth, the Community Foodbank of New Jersey in Hillside, and the Sacred Heart School in Jersey City.
But this year, the afternoon brought three special service projects which involved the Lower School students. Kindergarten, grade 1, and grade 2 made breakfast bags for Bridges, grades 3 and 4 put together baby layettes for The Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless, and grades 5 and 6 assembled toiletry bags for Bridges.
"I feel that we are so blessed as a community I wanted to share with the Lower School the Service Day experience of giving back," said Upper School Theology teacher Colleen Bradley. "I feel that this one day unites us as a school community; both students and faculty. It is truly a reflection of the spirit of Cornelia Connelly reaching out to embrace God in every person, not just on campus. It is also an opportunity to allow God to use our gifts and talent with others."
Upper School juniors and seniors led the Lower School activities and delivered presentations to the students explaining the nature of each of the organizations they were helping on Service Day.
“Cornelia Connelly’s quote of 'Actions, Not Words' is manifested in today’s service projects," said Alicia Grimes, grade 2 language arts/reading teacher. "Lower School students led by Upper School students are helping local charities. The younger students learned about the needs of others in their communities and then acted in a meaningful way.”
Oak Knoll has been participating in Service Day since 2002. But service is something that Oak Knoll’s students pride themselves on doing year-round, even during their winter, spring, and summer breaks.
Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child is an independent Catholic school enrolling boys and girls in kindergarten through grade six; and young women only in grades seven through 12. For more information about Oak Knoll, please visit www.oakknoll.org or call 908-522-8109.