In October of 2018, as many families set foot on the campus of Notre Dame Prep for the first time to consider beginning an educational, religious, and social journey for their daughters here, my daughter, Anna, and I were volunteering at our very last Open House. Later that year, my husband, Joe, and I attended our last Christmas concert at NDP. In March of 2019, my family found ourselves in the midst of our last Gym Meet season (with Anna a co-chair of her class’s costume committee for four years, Gym Meet always impacted the entire family). Anna’s sister, Liz, is a member of the class of 2017. As Anna experienced many “lasts” in the 2018-19 school year–last Penny Queen week, last band trip, last school Mass–our family also experienced many last events. Anna, the middle child, has a younger brother. Her graduating from NDP meant that our family was saying a goodbye of sorts to this school that had given my girls and our family so much.
Our NDP journey started in the fall of 2009 when we attended Open House. Liz fell in love with the school the moment she set foot on the campus. The sisterhood, the activities, the uniform—it was all so appealing. Joe and I were thrilled with all that NDP had to offer. The academic opportunities interested us, we were impressed with the teachers, and Liz would get to perform in a synchronized swim show in eighth grade! She began sixth grade the following fall and never looked back. I can remember telling people that she would be happy to board at the school if that were an option, she loved it that much.
When Anna arrived two years later, it was a seamless transition. She knew and loved NDP already, having attended many events for her sister. Her strengths and interests were different from Liz’s, but that did not take away from her NDP experience. Her experience, like every girl’s, was unique and all her own, but wonderful, nonetheless.
The fun did not stop in middle school. As Liz, and then Anna, started high school, their NDP world opened up even more. Challenging yet fun classes, beloved teachers, so many activities in which to get involved, friendships that will last a lifetime. There were the school dances, the musicals, the band concerts, Christmas Liturgy. Ring Day of Junior year was a much-anticipated highlight and one of my favorite events. And, of course, GYM MEET. They had waited three long years in middle school to participate and it did not disappoint.
And as the years flew by and the girls had their fun and made their memories, Joe and I were along for the ride, loving NDP as much as our girls did. We, too, got involved in this special community. I volunteered as the Middle Level Coordinator, eventually becoming the Parents’ Association President for a year, and co-chaired Post Prom for Liz’s class. Joe was invited to join the school board and he never missed a Father-Daughter Dance. We got to know and love the administration, faculty, and staff that our girls knew and loved. We, too, have forged friendships through Notre Dame Prep that will last forever.
There was excitement and pride that came with moving on, knowing that Liz and Anna had so much to look forward to in college, but it was bittersweet as Joe and I moved on from the school, too. This is not to say that our relationship with NDP ended when Anna walked through the arch in her white dress. We have known that we will always be welcome in this beautiful community and our involvement has, indeed, continued in different capacities since the girls have graduated. But May 29, 2019 meant that we would never again be NDP parents. Notre Dame Prep helped guide my daughters through adolescence as they grew into these amazing young women. It was a part of our family for nine years. So many heartwarming and joy-filled memories of my girls are tied to this incredible school. I will always be grateful for their experiences at NDP, for all that they have become because of NDP, and for all that NDP gave our entire family over the years.