CAK announces valedictorian, salutatorian

Christian Academy of Knoxville has announced Class of 2022 valedictorian is Noah Oaks, and the salutatorian is Matthew Newton.

Oaks, the son of Chad and Lindsay Oaks of Sweetwater, is a well-rounded student who excels in not only academics but also in the arts. He is a National Merit Commended Scholar, a member of the National Honor Society and has earned the French Award. He also has taken eight AP courses, a challenging number. Musically, Oaks has been a member of the auditioned CAK high school musical theatre group, as well as the Spirit of Praise Ensemble, for three years. He was a member of the All-state choir his sophomore year, and he has won a number of ASCI leadership awards over the years.

Oaks also gives back to his school in many ways. His senior Capstone project involved a chemistry magic show for CAK’s fifth graders. He also served as a teaching assistant to CAK’s Chemistry teacher. Oaks is on the Robotics team and in the Bowling Club. 

“As I reflect on my high school career, I am grateful for the teachers at CAK,” Oaks said. “They are passionate about what they are teaching. They truly care and put in time and effort to ensure our success as students—not just getting by. Teachers such as Mrs. Siard, Mrs. Bleyl, and Dr. Moazen have instilled in me a desire for lifelong learning.” 

After high school, Oaks plans to major in chemical engineering and computer science. He has a number of options for his post-secondary education and still is narrowing down where he will attend. He is considering the honors program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, as well as Tennessee Technological University. He also is waiting to hear back from MIT, Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth colleges. 

Newton, the son of Bethany Newton of Farragut, also excels academically and in a number of other extracurricular areas. He was awarded the ACSI Leadership Award and was selected to be a part of Youth Leadership Knoxville his junior year. He is a member of Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society and CS Lewis Society. Newton served as treasurer of the National Honor Society for the last two years.

He was awarded the highest rank, Eagle Scout, in Boy Scouts of America. Newton’s Eagle project consisted of planning, designing, fundraising and leading the construction of a Gaga Ball pit for Camp John Knox.

Athletically, Newton has played lacrosse for four years as a defender, goalie, and midfielder. In 2021, CAK Lacrosse won Tennessee state runner-up. Newton has been a member and leader of CAK Robotics Club helping the team place second, sixth and fourth in regional competitions in the past three years. He also has been involved with CAK’s high school musical theatre for four years. He was selected for the CAK Spirit of Praise Ensemble for the last three years and has been named to East Tennessee Vocal Association’s All-East Tennessee Choir twice.

Newton also has a heart for service and volunteers his time in helping lead the middle school robotics club, leading quarterly flag retirement ceremonies, helping with an annual Veteran Memorial 5K and as a Middle School Bible Study leader. He was a part of the Montreal, Quebec, mission trip in 2019, the music team for CAK’s Montreal Mission trip in 2019 and 2020 and has been on the prayer team for four years. For his senior Capstone project, he led and organized both the CAK Robotics club and the CAK bowling club. 

After graduation, Newton plans to major in biomedical or biomolecular engineering with a medical career in mind. He is considering UTK, Auburn and Clemson and also is waiting to hear back from some prestigious schools like Duke, USC and Vanderbilt.