by Kara Lipinski, NDP Science teacher
Ms. Lipinski’s reflects on one of NDP’s most cherished traditions, Gym Meet. She is not a Notre Dame Prep alumna.
I attended Catholic schools for twelve years and I have been teaching in private schools for 15 years. When I first started teaching at NDP, all I heard about beginning in September was GYM MEET. I thought, “What is the big deal?”
I learned my first year teaching here at NDP that students really loved Gym Meet, and they all looked forward to it. And alumnae…well, some of their best memories are tied to Gym Meet!
After my first NDP Gym Meet, all I thought was “WOW!” It really is a time for students to come together and be creative, collaborate on ideas, and practice, practice, practice. It is so much fun watching the students prepare and collaborate as a class to win the silver cup. Students learn so much from each other, develop leadership skills, and make new friendships that will last for many years to come. Most NDP alumnae remember their Gym Meet themes for each year, which shows just how meaningful the event is to students past and present.
Students start discussing Gym Meet themes and ideas in early fall. Eventually February arrives, and it is all about Gym Meet, with committee meetings, after-school practices, and early Saturday morning practices. The girls give it a 110%. Just walk down any hallway, and you will see girls singing their songs, teaching dance steps, and practicing aerobic routines. Students are also working on their march and designing their posters. You can feel the excitement in the air and the high expectations of winning the silver cup. Even with all this excitement going on, girls still manage to accomplish their academic work.
Finally GYM MEET arrives, and everyone comes together with each class celebrating and wishing their sisters well. I am always so impressed with their songs, marches, aerobic routines, and dance. I love seeing the costumes, too. But my favorite part is the excitement in the air and the students’ enthusiasm and unity. Our school theme for this year is UMOJA, or unity, which is truly experienced by all during Gym Meet. Good luck to all classes! I can’t wait to see what you have planned for this year!