by Maureen Sack Cannon, Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management and Notre Dame Prep Parent to seniors Kerry and Kate
It was difficult for me to begin this reflection because I have so many thoughts entering my mind—emotional ones, grateful ones, happy ones, tearful ones. Know, as I write this reflection as a mother of two seniors, I will fight back the combination of tears and smiles. The journey for our family at Notre Dame Preparatory School has been more than we ever expected.
The high school experience has been one of growth and independence for my girls, Kate Cannon ‘21 and Kerry Cannon ‘21. Although I work at the school, I didn’t really know what to expect when my daughters began 9th grade. For all of us, there was uncertainty and expectations. I quickly realized they would thrive more than ever (they matriculated from NDP’ Middle Level). The faculty—second to none—love and support NDP students. I have never before seen a group of educators that are so expert in their academic areas and supportive of their students. They serve as mentors, advisors, counselors—not just teachers. As Kate and Kerry stand on the threshold of college, making the decision will be more difficult than I imagined. Because of NDP’s amazing and unique phasing system, both have thrived academically, and both of their college acceptances and financial packages reflect their hard work.
Another aspect of NDP that will be hard to leave are the traditions. Of course, Gym Meet rises above them all. The cementing of sisterhood, the fostering of new friendships, the responsibility that comes with the students leading the planning and organizing from start to finish. This is another example of how leadership and independence are fostered at NDP. Personally, my favorite tradition is Junior Ring Day… this is where I fight back the tears of the special moment. The ring is a symbol of their NDP experience, a badge of honor that an NDP graduate wears for life. The Ring experience includes classmates sharing pictures of their dresses (heaven forbid two girls wear the same one 😊), the camaraderie of decorating the school, and the blessing and receiving of the rings by Sister Patricia. It connects them to each other and the school forevermore.
I would be remiss if I didn’t reflect on the personal and spiritual development of my girls during their high school years. I cannot say enough about how amazing the school liturgies are. Student-organized, they connect all the classes together and bring a sense of renewed energy each time the girls pray, reflect, and sing as one school. The religion program fosters deeper thinking and the sharing and cultivating of different perspectives which nurture inclusivity and diversity of opinions. The faculty bring all elements of religious teaching to life and engage with the teenage mind.
Last, service – a transformative experience. After their first Camp Umoja experience, my girls came home with a true sense of appreciation and gratitude, and a realization that there were more commonalities than differences between them and the campers. We still have pictures and paintings that their campers drew or painted for them hanging on our refrigerator because of the bond each one forged with her camper.
Transformation really does happen at NDP. Again, as I fight back the tears at the culmination of my daughters’ experiences at NDP, I am grateful for all who serve out their calling and their professions at Notre Dame Prep. NDP is community. NDP is love. NDP is traditions. NDP is friendships. NDP is personal. NDP is transformation.