Alums give back

Notre Dame Prep scholarship fund set up by generous contribution from alumni brothers.

Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy announced on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, that an endowed scholarship fund for tuition assistance has been established with the generous support of alums James Berch, Lawrence Berch and Robert Berch.

The fund, which is officially titled “The Notre Dame Tuition Assistance Endowed Fund,” has been established with a charitable gift from the Berch family of $105,000 for ongoing tuition support of a student or students entering Notre Dame Preparatory School.  

In a ceremony held on the school's Pontiac campus, members of Notre Dame’s administration, including Corporate President Fr. Leon Olszamowski, s.m., ’65 (NDHS); Director of Advancement Gregory Simon ’89 (NDHS); ND Prep Principal Fr. Joe Hindelang, s.m., ’68 (NDHS) and Fr. Jim Strasz, s.m., '70 (NDHS) said they were extremely grateful for the Berch family’s generosity in establishing the fund. 

“Your gift will help generations of Notre Dame students receive the same excellent education that you and thousands of other alumni received, but who may not otherwise be able to receive,” added Olszamowski at the ceremony. “A huge thank you to the Berch brothers! And we look forward to growing this fund even more in the coming years.”

The gift from the Berch brothers will provide a permanent asset that will enable financial assistance for one or more students each school year. The scholarship is renewable by the recipient each school year until graduation, based on demonstrated need, good citizenship and academic success.

Jim Berch, a 1959 graduate of Harper Woods Notre Dame High School who also was a faculty member at the school in the 1960s and 70s, said he and his brothers definitely appreciated the dedication of their parents in being able to afford the Notre Dame education they received. “That’s why we are here making this donation today, so that others who might be less fortunate are better able to afford such a great education,” he said.

Jim’s brother, Robert, a 1963 Notre Dame alum who was unable to attend the ceremony at the school, said that in deciding to contribute to the scholarship fund he was totally appreciative of his time at Notre Dame. “Like my brothers, I was very grateful for the academic training and the character formation I received at Notre Dame. That’s why we decided to put this fund together,” he said.  

According to the school, the goal of the partnership with the Berch family is to increase access to Catholic education at Notre Dame for students “with great promise as Christian people, upright citizens and academic scholars.” 

The scholarship will be made each year based on returns on investment, according to the agreement. The award can be increased and/or awarded to multiple students up to the amount of interest earned each year.

Larry Berch, a 1960 Notre Dame alum, said the most important thing about their gift is that he and his brothers want it to inspire future giving to the school.

“We hope other alumni see this also as an opportunity to grow the fund even further,” he said. 

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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." The Marist Fathers and Brothers sponsor NDPMA's Catholic identity and manages its educational program. Notre Dame is accredited by the National Association of Independent Schools, 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