McLean's Oakcrest School Holds Veritas Awards Reception

McLean's Oakcrest School Holds Veritas Awards Reception

Award consist of $5,000 tuition remission for two recipients who are student leaders.

Oakcrest School, an all-girl liberal arts school in McLean, held its Veritas Award Reception on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, at the school. The award is given to two recipients, still unnamed, who display high academic achievement, leadership, and character. It is a merit scholarship open to students who are applying for admission for ninth grade in 2017-2018, and for current Oakcrest eighth grade students.


Veritas Scholarship recipients Jackie Pluta and Makena Kiara, both in 11th grade.


Oakcrest Veritas scholar Sarah Nosrat, from the Class of 2017.


Oakcrest Veritas Scholars (from left): Mary Grace Nugent, Angela Diaz-Bonilla, Sarah Nosrat, Jackie Pluta, Maria Luisa Bertolini, Makena Kiara, and Isabella Fowler.

The award consists of $5,000 tuition remission per year for four years at Oakcrest. To qualify, students who were being interviewed during the ceremony, had to submit an essay, art or video project that says what makes a good leader.

"By applying for the Veritas award, you have shown initiative, creativity and a willingness to take a risk. We commend you for the work and care that you have put in the application process. Every student at Oakcrest is a Veritas girl. Oakcrest engages with the parents to nurture, challenge and inspire the girls," said Mary Ortiz, Ph.D. head of school, during the ceremony.

The role of the Veritas recipients is to speak to donors, as well as leading tours, talking about Oakcrest, and assisting with all kinds of admissions and school events. Their most important contribution is bringing people together and promoting unity, showing respect for all, and giving their best in academic pursuits, added Ortiz.

Michael Barvick, Director of Institutional Advancement at Oakcrest, said: "We try to choose young women who are intellectually qualified who are humble leaders, who are servant leaders and who are going to represent the school for the four years that they'll be attending Oakcrest in the upper school."

"The Veritas award promotes an attitude where leadership is one of service. It is about using what we have to give back to the community and inspiring everyone else to do the same. What Oakcrest has taught me is that every act of leadership is an opportunity to grow through service," said Isabella Fowler, a Veritas award recipient from the Class of 2017.

According to Makena Kiara, a Veritas award recipient from the class of 2018, "When I received the Veritas Scholarship award, I realized that I was representing something bigger than myself. I knew that when I would talk to prospective students and parents at admissions events, that I was showing what was to be an Oakcrest leader and what was expected of me."

Added Jackie Pluta, a Veritas award recipient from the class of 2018: "The award isn't as much recognizing the girls who won it but it's more for seeing the girls who are able to have leadership in the school through small acts of service. It's giving back to the school in ways that won't be recognized as much but it's still just as important as keeping the morale of the students and keeping Oakcrest a friendly environment and a very warm atmosphere."

According to Dr. Alexis Gutierrez, Ph.D., the keynote speaker from the Class of 1999: "I think Oakcrest does a fantastic job in teaching women how to think and how to lead. I feel that my Oakcrest experience gave me the ability to make a difference. I hope you take this opportunity to develop your intellect and your character because it will serve you for the rest of your life."


Question: What are, for you, some of the top issues facing the country during this time of change?


Mary Grace Nugent, grade 10, of Herndon: "I've been raised a conservative and I think feminism, in the radical sense, has been really taking over the government positions. I'm very opposed to some of their platforms. I think it's a good thing that they're fighting for women's rights. But some of the things they also fight for are a little detrimental to what is fundamentally right. So I think if we could turn around what they sometimes push for, a lot of things could change for the better."


Makena Kiara, 11th grade, of Fairfax: "One issue I think facing the country is how divided we are and one way I think Oakcrest helps us to combat this once we graduate and go into the real world is by being able to advocate for ourselves and truly know what we believe so that we can better communicate with others and form relationships so that we have a common understanding."


Cecilia Marquez, Academic Dean at Oakcrest: "I think what we have seen in our society for the last few decades is the lack of engagement with people who have different ideas, political ideas, philosophical ideas, how to listen to the others with respect with intellectual engagement, and how to present your own ideas with persuasiveness, with facts, and some feelings along the way because you want to come across as a charismatic person who is happy about your beliefs and why you believe that the long-term happiness is based on certain key virtues."


Mary Ortiz, Head of Oakcrest School: "Oakcrest's mission is always timely so it's always addressing the most important questions of the day. Teaching young women to be women of character, to know who they are, to have confidence, to go out and bring all of their gifts and talents to the world, to try to be good, to lead others to good, is always going to be relevant, and that's what I love being part of."