Hard work, art and architecture

2018 grad heads to Syracuse University after a creative four years at NDP.

Destiney Sandle, who graduated from Notre Dame Prep on May 20, was given the Kirby R. Smith Art Award, which is presented annually to an NDP senior student-artist who exemplifies among many of the former art teacher's attributes his hard work and talent.

According to Sandy LewAllen, visual art teacher and chair of Notre Dame’s art department, Sandle is the perfect fit for the award.

"When I think of Destiney, the first few words that come to mind are determination and creativity," LewAllen said. "She has exhibited an exemplar work ethic throughout her four years here at NDP and especially during her two years in IB Visual Art. She continually pushes herself and her boundaries to become the artist that she is today."

LewAllen said that while many think that art is mostly about natural talent, it's also at least equally about hard work. 

"Destiney possesses both talent and great-big doses of focus and hard work," she said. "I know she has a very bright future and I could not be more proud of her accomplishments and the person that she is."

Awards in New York

Now heading to Syracuse University in the fall to study architecture, Sandle leaves Notre Dame Prep with a portfolio full of awards and honors, the Kirby Smith award only the most recent.

About a year ago, Sandle was chosen by the Canvas Pontiac program, which is sponsored by the Pontiac Downtown Business Association, as one of only 25 area artists to have their art reproduced and enlarged into eight-foot-by-10-foot canvases and placed around downtown Pontiac in 2017. 

She also was recognized as a regional and national Scholastic Art Award winner this year, and during her four years at NDP, she's received an additional and impressive array of Scholastic awards, including three Regional Gold Keys, one Regional Gold Key Portfolio, one Regional Silver Key, two National Gold Medals, one National Gold Silver, and one National Silver Medal for her portfolio titled, "Everything in Me." In addition, Sandle and fellow 2018 grad Maria Mora will be traveling to New York City this summer to accept their National Gold Medal awards at Scholastic's annual awards event.

Among the other awards Sandle's earned at NDP are the President’s Award for Educational Excellence, a Syracuse University Grant, an Architecture Portfolio Award and a Certificate of Excellence in Computer Science from Notre Dame Prep.

On top of all of that, Sandle actually found time to play three sports in each of her four years in Notre Dame's upper school — volleyball, basketball and track — earning her entry into the athletic department's esteemed "Dirty Dozen" club. She acknowledges that it wasn't just her own hard work and talent that resulted in such a busy and productive high school career.

"The opportunities to excel at Notre Dame are endless, but there also is plenty of help available from the teachers and counseling staff whenever you need it," she said. "I've had a few ups and downs during the past four years balancing being a three-sport athlete, my academics, and other activities, but when I finally found a rhythm, the Notre Dame experience became even more enjoyable. Though the academics could be challenging at times, I learned many lessons of adversity that will help shape my future endeavors at college. I am so thankful to have been part of this Notre Dame community."

She is also thankful that NDP has such a progressive art curriculum and philosophy.

Revamping impoverished communities 

"Notre Dame's art program is amazing in the sense of the opportunities and help that is offered to each student in it," she said. "I was never constricted in the creativity or the size of my ideas, but instead I was encouraged to expand and further my thought process."

Sandle took art classes taught by both LewAllen and Ned Devine during her tenure at NDP and she said their impact on her art career allowed her to discover herself through several different mediums. "With the help of Mrs. LewAllen, in particular, her guidance these past four years has molded me into the artist and young lady that I am today," she said. "Overall, the program is like a family with a welcoming learning environment where it's very easy to express yourself."

But it wasn't just art class that energized Sandle's schedule at Notre Dame.

"While art is one of my passions, writing is another," she said. "Mrs. [Katrina] Sagert was also a major influence in me finding my voice as a writer. She encouraged me to open up within my writing, which allowed me to create a personal connection to the audience and ultimately become more comfortable as a writer. I also have to say another influential figure at NDP for me was Mrs. [Mary Jane] Pasko. She definitely was a caretaker and frequently served as a mother figure on campus to me and to many other students."

And to prove once again how Notre Dame students graduate with a deep understanding of the school mission and how it fits into their lives, Sandle's career goals are telling.

"In the future, after college, I intend to build houses and work on revamping impoverished communities in countries such as those on the African continent," she said.

Comments or questions? mkelly@ndpma.org.
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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.