Category Archives: Clubs

Oakcrest Cappie Publishes in Washington Post

Frequent murders and hilarious hi-jinks pervade Bishop Ireton’s musical comedy, ‘Something’s Afoot’

The Washington Post, November 26, 2012

All reviews are written by Cappies student critics and edited by Cappies adult mentors prior to publishing.  Access online HERE.

Sophie Buono, a student at Oakcrest School, reviews “Something’s Afoot” performed by Bishop Ireton High School as part of The Cappies Critics and Awards Program.

Photo by Catherine Schreiber

An old mansion, an unlikely mix of guests, and the unexplained death of a host seem to form a recipe for suspense and screams.  However, these elements actually make up the lively and comical musical “Something’s Afoot,” Bishop Ireton’s recent production.

“Something’s Afoot” was written by James McDonald, David Vos, and Robert Gerlach, with additional music by Ed Linderman.  It became a dinner theater favorite after its 1976 showing on Broadway.  The story, which pokes fun at Agatha Christie’s murder mystery “And Then There Were None,” begins with the arrival of six guests at the Lord Dudley Rancour’s mansion.  Unfortunately, the guests quickly discover that their host has been murdered, and as one person after another mysteriously dies, suspicions heighten.  While the guests and servants of the house hunt for answers, they face personal encounters with each other.  All the while, the show exaggerates the shock of murder, the uncertainty of finding a culprit, the wittiness of a detective, and the spontaneity of love in order to add spicy humor to the story.

Bishop Ireton’s production of “Something’s Afoot” shone with impressive talent in multiple areas.  The cast as a whole sparked laughs through their body language, sharply performed in dramatic unison whenever something suspicious occurred.  The choreography, though simple, captivated the audience through each character’s enthusiasm and almost consistently spot-on timing.  In spite of a few microphone issues, the cast’s diction carried through quite smoothly, and most of them engaged strikingly accurate accents.

Miss Tweed (Sarah Moffit), the sprightly and witty old lady, performed with particular confidence and ease.  Each of her mannerisms, from her hunched walk to her wily facial expressions captivated the audience, making her death both hilarious and sad to see that such an entertaining character had to die.  The tender-hearted Hope Langdon (Brenna Carroll) also livened up the stage with her brightly optimistic face and melodious voice that made singing high notes seem like a walk in the park.  Her heartfelt yet juvenile relationship with the spirited Geoffrey (Joey Ledonio) both touched and tickled the audience.

Other characters shone despite shorter stage time.  Lady Grace Manley-Prowe (Kaitlin Hamer) displayed strong vocal talent in her solo “The Man with the Ginger Mustache.”  Servants Lettie (Catherine Schreiber) and Flint (Joseph Green) grasped their cockney personas and ran with them, shown in their accents, attitudes, and comical song “Dinghy.”  While some characters sang a bit weakly in the upper register, their skillful expression drew significant attention.

The set of “Something’s Afoot” wowed the audience from the moment the curtain opened.  The two levels, complete with stairs, decorative paintings, and several functioning doors, portrayed Lord Rancour’s mansion with astounding realism and beauty.  The costumes, almost all student-made, from hats to shoes, drew the reader into the 1930s time period. The special effects, timed precisely, included amusing and surprising elements such as smoky explosions and poisonous gas clouds.

From beginning to end, Bishop Ireton’s “Something’s Afoot” flipped Agatha Christie stories upside down with dexterity, and so brought several audience members to their feet at the curtain call.


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Oakcrest Respect Life Club Attends Vitae Anniversary Dinner

By Laura C., Student Writer

On Saturday, October 27, Oakcrest teacher and alumna parent Mrs. Bell treated the officers of the Respect Life Club (Laura C., Maria K., and Giorgina A.) to seats at the Vitae Foundation’s 20th Anniversary Dinner.  Mrs. Agostini, Mrs. Kehrli, and Ms. Lecuyer were also guests at the table.  Our table was surrounded by many familiar people from Oakcrest and from their parishes.  We even saw Jeanne Monahan, the new President of the March for Life who spoke to Oakcrest just the day before!

The Vitae Foundation was established in 1992 by Carl Landwehr.  Vitae’s mission is to use mass media to eventually make abortion “unthinkable.”  Vitae promotes the culture of life by using bus ads, TV commercials, radio, and Internet sites.  For example, was launched to help build teen confidence and ability to face peer pressure, unplanned pregnancy, and other problems.  Young women who may be pregnant and are looking for a place of comfort can go to to read stories of other women’s choices.

The goal of Vitae is to convince abortion-minded women to choose life by appealing to human compassion and other similar sentiments.  This unique method of “right brain” motivation has yielded incredible results: in New York City, Vitae’s 2009 campaigns saved an estimated 1,323 babies from abortion.  Internet advertising in Los Angeles and Dallas/Fort Worth increased visits to by over 66,000.  A DC bus campaign generated at least 2,300 calls to the Pregnancy Centers in the metro area, and saved an estimated 150 babies.  Vitae’s Atlanta billboard campaign generated nearly 2,000 calls to the local Pregnancy Centers.  These are just a few of the fruits of Vitae’s work over one year.

At the dinner, the Keynote Speaker was national pro-life figure Jill Stanek.  She told her story of being a nurse in the Labor & Delivery Department at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois.  She discovered that the hospital provides abortions, and not only that, but that the method of abortion is to force the baby to be born prematurely and leave the baby to die.  She related many tragic stories.  Jill Stanek fought from the inside, publicized Christ Hospital’s practices, and testified before Congress to pass the Born Alive Infant Protection Act.  She was eventually fired from Christ Hospital and now speaks openly about the horrors of abortion.  At the end of her speech she received a standing ovation from the immensely grateful crowd.

The night’s stories were a mix of tragedy and success, and everyone in the room was charged with the mission of defending life with increased vigor.  We have faith that with God’s help we can restore the culture of life.  As Jill Stanek said, “One + God = the majority.”  Many thanks to Mrs. Bell for her invitation, and many thanks to Vitae for its abundant contributions to promoting the culture of life through their pro-life efforts.

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The Blog Club

By Ana S., Student Writer

Hello, Oakies!

The clubs in Oakcrest are all very wonderful, like Blog Club.  The Blog club is a new club at Oakcrest (moderated by Mrs. Watts), where Oakcrest students write about the amazing things that happen at Oakcrest and share their stories on “Charger Chatter,” the official blog for Oakcrest.  The Blog Club is an amazing way for girls to express their writing creativity, and to keep people posted on everything that happens here at Oakcrest.

The first blog post written by a student was by 6th grader Kiley H. about the “Founders Day Mass & Brunch,” which was posted on October 1st, 2012.

The Blog Club meets once a month, but any student can join!  The meetings are during school at lunch time.  All the students absolutely love writing the blogs and seeing their work posted on “Charger Chatter.”  The reason that I think that students should join Blog Club is that there`re so many things that happen at Oakcrest, and who better to write about Oakcrest, than the students themselves!  Thousands of people from different countries have read the Oakcrest Blog.  (You’re reading one right now!)

I would like to thank the people that made this opportunity possible for students.  I would like to thank Mrs. Watts and Miss. Ortiz for all their hard work, and the students of Oakcrest who write the amazing blog posts that they work hard on to keep you posted.  That’s all for now, but we`ll keep you posted on “Charger Chatter”!

6th Grade Bloggers:

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Spring Speakers, Academics & Character Workshops at Oakcrest!

This Spring has been a busy time for Oakcrest students!  Just to give you an idea of what happened this semester inside – and outside – of the classroom:

7th Grade American History with Mrs. Escobar: In April, Mr. Bill Rita, grandfather of Sarah Nosrat, came and spoke to the 7th Grade about George Washington and Aaron Burr and his daughter.  Mr. Rita is the author of The Just Pride of Patriotism.  He painted fascinating portraits of his three subjects.  Hopefully he will be able to come back and teach the girls about Abraham Lincoln!

Biology 9 with Miss Lecuyer:  In April, the biology classes took a biological inventory of the diversity of the Oakcrest garden during their lab periods.  They counted the number of different types of organisms they found, then they wrote a newspaper article explaining their research.  With this lab, the classes also completed an ecoregional survey, which helped them examine the components and history of the ecosystem found in northern Virginia.

 9th Grade History – Medieval Castle Models with Ms. Joly:

Advanced Spanish’s Cafe Literario with Miss Salls and Ms. Barna-DeWald:

The advanced Spanish students proved themselves to be not only enthusiastic, but also very good language students! On April 27 they, along with their teachers Mrs. Barna-DeWald (4th year and AP) and Ms. Salls who goes by the same of dona Sonsoles in Spanish III class, transformed the music room into a tapas bar lifted directly from Madrid. It was replete with a beautiful floral arrangement on the bar and flowers for each table. The girls prepared authentic tapas and music from Spain wafted through the cafe.

After having heard the 3rd year Spanish students recite classical Spanish and Latin American poetry, the teachers and administrators who stopped in, decided that they would begin to learn Spanish this summer. The 4th year students took us on a tour of some of the regions of Spain and sneaked us into a classic piece of literature, Lazarrillo de Tormes, where we saw a “picaro” (street urchin) slyly take advantage of his blind benefactor. The AP class reproduced a chapter from don Quijote in which don Quijote attacks windmills thinking that they are knights on the attack. The theme of many of the poems was friendship, nostalgia for countries left behind, and the importance of ideals in living an authentically human life.

AP US History WWI & WWII Speaker: In April, Oakcrest father Dave Courtney spoke to the APUSH  (AP US History) class.  He brought original military pieces, images, and stories from WWI and WWII.   The students had the opportunity to handle many of these artifacts, including several empty cartridges found near a WWII military engagement on Guam and a magazine from an M1911 pistol, designed during WWI.

Science 8 with Ms. Fortunato built a complicated roller coaster…it took teamwork and close attention to detailed instructions, but it was worth it and the students had fun!

Character Workshops!

Alum Ann Vitz ’01 worked with the 9th and 10th grade on “Case Studies on the Virtue of Prudence.”

Culinary Arts teacher and alum parent, Mrs. Dorrie Gleason, and Director of College Counseling, Colleen Ganjian, talked to Seniors on “College Food Sampler: How to Make the Best Nutritional Choices in College.”

Mary Ortiz speaks to students about perseverance.

Theology teacher and alum parent Mrs. Hanssen talks to enthusiastic students about the four temperments.

Director of Advising and alum parent, Mrs. Hadley, speaks about perseverance.

Nature Club: Miss Lecuyer’s Nature Club did their final hike at the Scotts Run Reserve.  It was beautiful outside! Ms. Lecuyer taught a lesson about secondary succession using a fallen tree (with new plants and fungus) as an example.

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Upper School Mini-Courses & Middle School Bonding Trips!

On Thursday, September 22nd, while the Middle Schoolers were away on bonding  fieldtrips, the Upper Schoolers had an afternoon of Mini-Courses.  During two one-hour sessions, Upper School students participated in their choice of 2 Mini-Courses.  The Mini-Courses offered were:

1.         American Sign Language– Mrs. Collins

2.         Cake Decorating: Scalloped Edges and Roses – Mrs. Kelly

3.         Calligraphy – Mrs. Carducci

4.         Contemporary Dancing –Amanda H. ’12

5.         Farkle: A Dice Game of Probability – Mrs. Hammarsten

6.         Handcrafted Note Cards– Mrs. Cole

7.         Introduction to Italian– Ms. Joly

8.         Irish Step Dancing–Tory Z. ‘12

9.         Learn to Draw with Gold: Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts– Mrs. Pluta

10.       The Many Layers of Rome– Mrs. Kenna

11.       Philosophy and Dr. Seuss– Ms. Salls

12.       Pilates– Ms. Moretto

13.       Quick and Easy Part Dips– Mrs. McDonough

14.       Recycling Tee-Shirts: Scarves – Mrs. Havey

15.       Stage Make-Up: Fantasy and Horror – Mrs. Carey

16.       Tea: A History of Britain – Ms. Pluta

17.       The Great College Interview – Ms. Ortiz

Meanwhile, September 22nd was a day for class bonding in the Middle School.  The 6th grade went to Hemlock Center for outdoors team-building activities.  The 7th grade performed service at the RiverBend Nature Center; this year they cleaned out portions of the river.  The 8th grade went to Harper’s Ferry for whitewater rafting and other water-based team projects.  The class bonding trips were a great chance for the girls to get to know each other better and work together for common goals.

Photos from the 6th Grade Bonding Trip to Hemlock Center:

Miss Pompeii summarized her experience from the 7th grade service trip to River Bend Park:

“The class of 2017 had a wonderful time at River Bend Park on their class bonding trip!  The 7th grade class was absolutely FABULOUS!  We could not have asked for a more positive, cooperative, and enthusiastic attitude from the wholeclass.  They were enthusiastic about helping to clean and save the environment and looked for trash without needing to be asked.  They graciously helped each other out when someone needed a hand. They did a great job practicing their cheer, which kept getting better with every practice!  They also wholeheartedly went on a nature scavenger hunt and looked for leaves, twigs, acorns, seeds, and yes!  Even pinecones!  (You will have to ask a seventh grader about that one!)  Many thanks to all who helped organize and chaperone the trip.”

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PVAC 2010-2011 Director’s Cup, PVAC Player of the Year!

For the second year in a row, Oakcrest has won the PVAC Director’s Cup!!  The Director’s Cup is awarded to the school with the most total points for regular season finishes and tournament finishes in all PVAC sports for the entire school year.  The Chargers had Championship titles in Varsity Tennis & Varsity Softball along with 2nd place finishes in Varsity Volleyball and Varsity Basketball and a 3rd place in Varsity Track & Field to score the most points amongst the 14 PVAC schools.   

This is a tremendous achievement for the Athletics Department and for the whole school.  Congratulations to Oakcrest Athletic Director Miss Caroline Heeter, all of our coaches, and of course, all of our dedicated and talented athletes!

In addition, Varsity Softball player Alex G. was named PVAC Player of the Year!


For details and photos of Oakcrest spring sports season victories, click here.

For details and photos of Oakcrest fall and winter sports season victories, click here.

Photos by Robert Burke Photography

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Fine Arts at Oakcrest

Fine Arts Week

The week of April 4-9 was Fine Arts Week at Oakcrest.  Highlights of the week included the Film Festival and Fine Arts Night. 

The Film Festival kicked off the week on Monday in the G.  Lloyd Bunting, Sr. Theatre.  Student film-makers premiered their short films in front of the whole school. Caitlin R’s short animated film, “Each Little Bug,” was voted by the entire school as best film. To watch the film, click here.

During the week, student artwork was displayed in the lobby and throughout the school.  On Saturday, we ended the week with the annual Fine Arts Night.  Students sang solos with accompaniment, played musical instruments, and performed monologues and a student-choreographed dance number.  The Advanced Theatre Arts class performed a one-act play.  It was a memorable night for parents, students, faculty and staff. 

Our hats are off to Mrs. Miller (music), Mrs. Bunuan (theatre arts), and Mrs. Havey (studio art) for their tireless work to teach and promote fine arts at Oakcrest.

Performances on Fine Arts Night were:

Til There Was You from Music Man by Meredith Wilson, Performed by Monica R.: voice

I Enjoy Being a Girl by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, Performed by Angel M.: voice

 What I Did for Love from A Chorus Line by Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Kleban, Performed by Danielle D.J.: voice

Alone in the Universe from Seussical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Performed by Carolyn L., Jamie R.: voice


I Could Have Danced All Night from My Fair Lady by Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner and Lascia Ch’io Pianga from Rinaldo Opera by Handel, Performed by Kathryn B.: voice

Papa Can You Hear Me from Yentyl by Michel Legrand, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Performed by Cathryn T.: voice

Wouldn’t It Be Loverly from My Fair Lady by Frederick Loewe, Alan Jay Lerner, Performed by Julie M.: voice

Bagpipes, Performed by Kathleen B.

Ophelia Monologue from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Performed by Carolyn L.

Arietta by W.A. Mozart, Performed by Anna W.: piano

Thank you by Herbert Allen, Paul and Ralph Colwell, Performed by Laura C. (piano) and Emilie K. (voice)

Come By The Hills: Traditional Irish song  arr. by Phil Coulter, Performed by Katie N. (piano) and Maggie N. (voice)

Boogie Improvisation, Performed by Andrea M. (piano)

Parade of the Tin Soldiers Arr. by John Kinyon, Performed by Giorgina A. (flute)

Rolling in the Deep by Adele, Performed by Kathleen B. (guitar and voice) and Andrea M. (piano and voice)

Fur Elise by Ludwig van Beethoven, Performed by Anne P.: piano

“The Kindred Spirit”

A One Act Play, Written by Amanda Courtney

Co-directed and performed by: Kathryn B., Amanda C., Carolyn L., Julie M., Angel M., Jamie R.

Under the guidance of Mrs. Monique E. Bunuan

“Drive My Car”

By The Beatles

A dance number choreographed and performed by: Carolina L., Cecilia L., Chelsea W., Katerina W.

Under the direction of Maggie Watts (’00)

String Ensemble Field Trip to Lashof!

Also last month, Miss Salls (Director of Student Life) took the Oakcrest String Ensemble – Mary Mary L., Catherine S. and Grace P. – to visit Lashof Violin Store in Gaithersburg, Maryland.  Jen, one of the owners of Lashof, gave a presentation to the girls on how she makes violins.  The girls were able to see just how difficult it is to be a luthier (maker of stringed instruments). When asked how much time it took to make one violin, Jen replied “at least 3 months”! The girls also were able to watch Jen fit the finger board into a student cello. They all recommend Lashof for any of your violin, viola and cello needs. The String Ensemble ended the morning with lunch at Panera on the way back to school.

Fine Arts Flashback: Oakcrest Talent Show 2011

In March, the School held it’s ever-popular Talent Show.  Organized by Spirit Captains and Spirit Committee, the Talent Show featured acts by students, faculty and staff.  Oakcrest students and parents enjoyed dance performances (Irish, Spanish Flamenco, hip-hop, lyrical), music (piano, guitar, bagpipes, flute, voice), gymnastics and a hysterical staff and faculty skit.  After the performances were over, the audience voted Andrea M. and Cathryn T.’s musical performance for First Place.  (The faculty and staff demonstrated their supreme talent in their skit, and missed third place by one vote!)

To watch the winning act, click here. 

Questions or suggestions for Charger Chatter?  Contact our blog editor, Mrs. Watts, Director of Development at

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Filed under Clubs, Fine Arts, Green & White, Liberal Arts, School Traditions, Special Events, Student Life