2018 grad says his four years at Notre Dame Prep included a new family of friends and a teaching staff that helped set him up for college, career and life.
At the May 20 Notre Dame Prep commencement, it was announced that Braeden Fromwiller had earned the school's “Outstanding Service Award,” one that he shared with nine other classmates. According to NDP Principal Fr. Joe Hindelang, s.m., it's an annual honor for graduating seniors that's somewhat unheralded.
"Administrators and department leaders typically nominate students who have gone out of their way over the years to be of help to the school community or to other students," he said. "We then take a look at those who have received the most nominations or had been the most helpful. Some are Student Council and some are just always ready to volunteer when something needs doing. However, most of their service goes unrewarded."
For Fromwiller, the service award fits a pattern, if you listen to his teachers. Jocelynn Yaroch is one of them.
"Braeden is truly an outstanding young man," said Yaroch, who teaches science in Notre Dame's upper school and is a co-chair of the science department. "He is generous, has a great sense of humor, and possesses a gentle spirit while exuding a quiet confidence – unusual for an 18 year-old. I am privileged to have been part of his high school journey."
Career in research
Fromwiller's journey after high school begins in the fall when he arrives in Ann Arbor to attend the University of Michigan. He is entering a five-year, joint-degree program at U-M that incorporates cellular and molecular biology with biomedical engineering, with an eye toward a career in medical study. But he's keeping his options open.
"I would like to get involved in research," said Fromwiller, who was one of 22 valedictorians for NDP this year. "But I so enjoyed my AP/IB macroeconomics class with Mr. [David] Osiecki that maybe something in business also is a possibility."
Other aspects of Notre Dame Prep life do not go without acknowledgement from Fromwiller.
"I've had a great experience at Notre Dame," he said. "Everything that I was a part of benefited me in some way and gave me an opportunity to grow as an individual. Obviously, I learned a lot in the classroom, but I also found ways to learn outside of the classroom through teachers, coaches and through other activities."
Lacrosse was a large part of his high school experience and he was lucky enough to be part of a Fighting Irish team that won the 2017 MHSAA regional championship. "Also, I will definitely miss the summer lacrosse tournaments in Traverse City," Fromwiller said. "But overall, just being a part of sports at school gave me an opportunity to make great friends and to learn a lot from coaches and teammates."
He said student council also offered him a chance to get involved in other school events, as well as to form a kind of a family that he could have fun with for four years and beyond.
Fromwiller said playing JV football was an interesting experience for him as he got to learn a lot about the game under Coach Daniel Staniszewski as well as from all of his new teammates. "But little did I know that I would have Coach Stan for HL (Higher Level) Math my senior year, and knowing him from football made it that much easier to learn and communicate with him in the classroom."
Excelling and impressing
Excelling in that classroom and in others led to a number of awards and acknowledgements as Fromwiller wrapped up his senior year at Notre Dame. In addition to being a member of NDP's valedictory court, Fromwiller also was a member of the National Honor Society and is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program candidate. He earned a President’s Award for Educational Excellence, a University of Michigan Regents Merit Scholarship, and Certificate of Excellence awards in English, Religious Studies, Spanish, Visual Arts and Social Studies.
And it wasn't just Fromwiller's teachers who noticed his propensity for excellence.
"I think Braeden is as impressive as they get as far as high school students are concerned," said NDP counselor Jason Whalen. "I would describe him as mature beyond his years. He has an intellectual curiosity that is extraordinarily rare and he genuinely wants to know and understand things beyond the surface level — truly a deep thinker. He's very multitalented — from math and science to music and sports — I believe his talent is beyond exceptional."
"I believe the teachers, coaches and faculty at Notre Dame definitely take a personal interest in their students," he said. "Some of the people I would like to thank for guiding me are Mrs. [Bobbie] Hall, Mrs. [Jocelynn] Yaroch, Coach Stan, Mr. Whalen, Sra. [Lauren] Raleigh, Mrs. [Heidi] Newby, Mr. [Nicholas] Kator and Mr. [Kyle] Lilek.
"Also, a big shoutout to Mrs. [Julie] Carman, for sponsoring my Make-it-Matter Day service project; Mr. [Anthony] Butorac, for teaching me how to be an organic and fluid writer and especially through his love of Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea, instilled a deep appreciation for literature,” he said. “Also, to Mr. [Ned] Devine, who passed on his experience and passion for photography to me — I thank him for always having an open door, not only for classwork, but to talk about life and everything in between."
Lastly, Fromwiller wanted to thank his social studies teacher. "I am exceptionally grateful to Mr. [David] Osiecki for mentoring me on my IB extended essay, and making the writing of a 4,000-word essay seem enjoyable," he said. All of my NDP teachers have contributed to making me the person I am today and I have learned so much from each of them. I am indebted to them for their guidance and support in preparing me not only for college, but for whatever lies ahead for me."
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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The school's upper division enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower divisions enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three divisions are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at www.ndpma.org