Kaylor Stroot
Kaylor Stroot

As she prepares for her high school graduation, Kaylor Stroot reflects on her years at Brookewood School, where, she said the faith, example and dedication of her teachers led her to convert to Catholicism this year.

“I would not be who I am today without Brookewood,” said Stroot, who was raised Methodist and attended the all-girls independent Catholic school in Kensington since 6th grade.

In particular, she credits Timothy Nauman, her former Brookewood religion teacher who passed away in 2014. “He was just so patient and kind and told us all the time how he prayed for our futures,” she said. “This was a love I didn’t see at my church.” 

She also singles out her high school religion teacher, David Booz, who taught her the Fundamentals of Christian Theology, for his instruction in the Catholic faith and spiritual guidance.  She recalls a day while walking down the hallway at Brookewood and stopping to ask him the question, “Is it a sin not to listen to God’s calling? He said, ‘Yes it is,’ and I immediately said, ‘Mr. Booz, I want to be a Catholic.’”  She also said Irene Sorensen, an Italian and Latin teacher, exclaimed upon hearing the news of her conversion said, “Finally, Kaylor! I’ve been praying for this for years!’ It made me understand I had made the right decision.”

At Easter time, she and her younger sister, Ella, an 8th grade student at Brookewood, came into the Church together at St. John Neumann Parish, Gaithersburg. She said she was overcome with profound emotion upon receiving the Body and Blood of Our Lord during her First Holy Communion, with all her Brookewood classmates there supporting her.

This fall, Stroot will attend McDaniel College in Westminster, Md., where she plans to major in chemistry and minor in secondary education, as well as minor in art or Spanish. She said looks forward to continuing to discover the truths of her newfound Catholic faith.

“I plan to join the Catholic campus group at McDaniel. I want to grow in my faith and learn more,” she said.

During her years at Brookewood, Stroot played goalie on the varsity soccer team; worked on the yearbook staff; served as house captain in her senior year; starred in several plays – as one of the leads in this year’s school production of “Our Town” – and was the first Brookewood student to represent the school at the Maryland state level of the national Poetry Out Loud competition.

Rich McPherson, headmaster of Brookewood, describes Stroot as an outstanding example of a Brookewood girl. “As a student, she is diligent in her work and interested in everything. As a soccer player, she played her heart out every game,” he said “As a house captain, she was a true leader and a great example of cheerfulness for the younger girls. As an actress and in the poetry competitions, she stunned us with her performances. And as a child of God, we witnessed her full-fledged conversion to the Catholic Faith.”

Stroot said she hopes to use her God-given gifts to pursue a career in education like her parents, Tom and Mary Stroot, both of whom are teachers. Her dad is a longtime teacher at Avalon, Brookewood’s all-boys brother school in Gaithersburg, and her mom teaches at Clearspring Elementary School in Damascus, where the family resides. 

This spring, Stroot served an internship at Gaithersburg Middle School in the autism program. In the future, she said she hopes to continue working with special needs children, focusing on special education, an area of the public school system she believes urgently needs more teachers and attention.

“There’s a lot more that we can do. I just want to show kids how they are loved and important they are and how great it is to come to school,” she said.