Academics, faith and fun

Recent graduate says he attended Notre Dame for many reasons, not the least of which was its faith-based family atmosphere.

Ethan Carino, who graduated from Notre Dame alongside 199 classmates on May 19, attended Marist Academy's middle school, which is where he first received a heaping helping of the NDPMA mission. But it wasn't until he matriculated to Notre Dame Prep that he realized just how important that mission is to everyone on campus.

"I first came to NDPMA because I wanted a Christian and faith-based — yet challenging and rigorous — environment," he said. But what I didn’t realize at first but came to learn quickly was that Notre Dame is truly a spiritual, academic and social family. It's amazing how we all support each other and want what’s best for one another."

Carino said he typically uses three words when he tries to describe Notre Dame to friends outside of school, in particular, when discussing its academics. 

"It's exciting, challenging and rewarding. But I also told people that Notre Dame is different from other schools because it gives students the ability to excel not just in those academics or even extracurriculars, but also in their faith," he said. "Notre Dame has helped me become a better Christian person through continuous teaching about the Christian faith and spirituality. It’s also easy to see how dedicated the teachers are to their beliefs and to helping students in their walk with Christ."

But it's not just about faith and academics at NDPMA, said Carino, who also served as one of Notre Dame's student ambassadors, a relatively small group of sophomores, juniors and seniors who are "responsible for projecting and fostering a warm and welcoming atmosphere for anyone interested in Notre Dame," according to the program application.

"Notre Dame also has helped me become an upright citizen through stressing the need for service, respect and leadership inside the school community and out," he said. "By surrounding us with positive role models and countless services opportunities, my school enables students like me to become their best selves through working with people in the community who may need a leg up."

Meanwhile, as Carino prepared for the next chapters of his life, including college and career, his last year at Notre Dame was chock full of school work and extracurriculars. During his senior year, he's had classes in mythology, math applications, the history of Christianity, AP literature and honors Mandarin Chinese among others. But it's a class taken last year that he's particularly fond of.

"The most interesting class I’ve taken at Notre Dame, I think, is IB environmental sciences with Mr. (Brian) Little," said Carino, who commuted to school from Lake Orion. "I loved how Mr. Little took information and applied it to real-world situations, and then encouraged students to solve problems."

Carino also said he was fond of a particular time of year at the school that seems to also resonate with nearly every student or alum.

"The most fun experience I’ve had at Notre Dame is this past Irish Week because it was so full of new games, sports and activities," he said. "I enjoyed it even more than each of the previous years, which also were a blast!"

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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. Notre Dame Prep 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 Marist Academy enrolls students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. NDPMA is an International Baccalaureate "World School" and is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers. It 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