For senior Meaghan Kilner, some of the memories that she will miss most from her time at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Maryland, can be summed up in the moments she spent in various places throughout the school’s campus with her classmates. 

“One of the things that I love so much about Stone Ridge is the sisterhood that we build,” she said, noting the various Sacred Heart school traditions, and the strong sense of community she found there. 

And that community, Kilner said, was so special to her, even going so far as to join the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Student of the Year Campaign while Kilner was undergoing treatments for lymphoma during her sophomore year. That year, with the help of the Stone Ridge community, she said they raised $155,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to provide grants to researchers. 

“It was really special to take it (the Student of the Year Campaign) from something that was completely new and (that had) never been something at Stone Ridge,” Kilner said.

In 2019, Kilner was named the Honored Hero for the Student of the Year Campaign and she spoke at several events throughout the year to help inspire student teams. Along with her family, Kilner established the #KilnerStrong team for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s annual Light the Night walk. 

Throughout high school and in the midst of undergoing treatments, Kilner remained on top of her classes, with the help of online learning and her classmates. One specific class she said was particularly difficult was Advanced Placement chemistry. 

“It was such a challenging class, but it really showed me what I was capable of,” she said. 

In her class on Christian morality, which she took during her junior year, Kilner said she had many engaging discussions that were often difficult, but “it was an environment when I could take what I was learning and go with it.” 

“I find myself today looking at things from moral perspectives,” Kilner said. “It’s made me more thoughtful.”

The stage was another special place for Kilner, who participated in several productions with Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C.  And while her final show, Newsies, was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, she said she knew it was best to do “our part in keeping everyone safe.” 

“It was good to form a relationship with my brothers who went to Gonzaga,” she said. “It’s an awesome school, and (the community) is also service oriented (like Stone Ridge). It’s just a lot of fun to meet some guys and do theater and be in that environment of community.” 

Her Catholic education, Kilner said, has helped her on her own faith journey. 

“It helped me develop a positive relationship with God,” she said. “I infuse every aspect of my life with that. I know that at Stone Ridge and all Catholic schools, sure, there’s a religion class, but there’s a spiritual and service aspect to everything… and it’s important to have priorities going forward.” 

Kilner said she considers her classmates within the Stone Ridge community her sisters. 

“Stone Ridge has really given me confidence in who I am and what I’m capable of,” she said. “The confidence to say I can do this, I have what it takes, and I’m going to work and do my goal.” 

This fall, she will attend Vanderbilt University in Nashville and hopes to major in chemical engineering, ultimately hoping to “be a part of developing better pharmaceuticals to save more lives.” 

While the end of her senior year might look different than what she had originally imagined, Kilner said she has seen her classmates grow closer together. 

“I think that I’m really proud of how all of us have grown and leaned on each other in difficult times,” she said. “I know my classmates will go on and do great things big and small.”