By Laura Kerney Mackle ’99, NDP Spanish teacher and recent celebrator at her 15th high school reunion
Never did I imagine at graduation in 1999, that 15 years later I would be back at Notre Dame not as “Laura Kerney”, but as a faculty member in the Language Department. In August, I began teaching Spanish in the Upper Level. Being back at NDP has been so rewarding and reminiscent for me! My ice breaker on the first day of school was “proudly” sharing my freshman photo – taken in 1996 – which is before my students were born! After that realization, it hit me that no, I am not still just a “Notre Dame” girl but now the Notre Dame girls’ teacher!
As we all know, Notre Dame is a place of extraordinary traditions. These traditions, as well as the amazing faculty, exemplary curriculum and amazing extracurricular activities, are what bond us together as “sisters”. This is how I can relate, outside of the world of Spanish, to my students. Since gym meet plans are now underway, I can easily chat…or brag about how my class won March plaque sophomore year. And how, like most juniors, we thought we deserved to win junior year. Unfortunately, I was not able to remember one of our themes and this was completely and totally shocking for my girls to hear. Of course, as with everything in life, there are changes too. A student recently asked what my email address was when I was here! Technology has evolved but the values NDP instills have held strong.
I’ve really enjoyed remembering my years here these past few months. But this past weekend, I was able to share my current experience with MY girls, the class of ’99. We had our 15 year reunion this past Saturday. Most of the girls in our class are able to keep in touch through social media, but it was so refreshing to see everyone and TALK!
Although we didn’t have email addresses, turf fields, a huge new gym, a state of the art Language Lab or many of the other amazing amenities that the girls have now, we were able to bond as a class through gym meet, retreats, Penny Queen, Stone Soup, Christmas liturgies, and wearing white gowns and holding a dozen roses at graduation. Those are the timeless traditions that bond us as NDP sisters. I am so proud of the Class of Red and White – we’ve all grown from young women who were at the pinnacle of developing our own identities to strong women who’ve accomplished so much in 15 years.
This place really does have something about it…. And it’s a feeling no Notre Dame girl ever forgets.
Editor’s Note: The Class of 1999’s winning Gym Meet theme was “Lions and Tigers and Seniors, Oh My!”