Board continues to build alumni association

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Notre Dame has one of the most vibrant high school alumni associations in southeast Michigan. One of the reasons for that is its alumni board, which is comprised of representatives from Notre Dame Prep as well as from Notre Dame High School, Pontiac Catholic and St. Frederick. Those Notre Dame Alumni Association board members were asked recently about their memories of high school. They also were asked about why it's important for them to take such an active role with NDPMA and their fellow alums. See below.

Meredith (Gifford) Scott ’02 (NDP)
 
Why do you think it’s important to stay involved with Notre Dame as an alum?
Notre Dame gave me the confidence to pursue a career in the arts. Even when I was in college, I would get invited by Mr. Kotarski to help with auditions for shows and try to come back for performances. I loved staying connected to a program that helped me grow so much. Years later, that led me being asked to direct a show which helped me make a big career change in educational theatre. I don't think I would be here today without the support and guidance of Notre Dame. 
 
What is your favorite memory of high school?
My high school musical, "Guys n' Dolls," with my best friends. We work our tails off for three months, are exhausted, and then have a blast watching our friends and family see us on stage. I also loved the Beatles review we did in choir!

Molly (Coldren) Campbell ’08 (NDP)

Why do you think it’s important to stay involved with Notre Dame as an alum?
Notre Dame Prep and Marist Academy prepared me for a successful college experience with the tools to succeed in the real world. I am forever grateful for the relationships formed during my time at NDPMA and am proud to be an alumni. Staying a part of NDPMA is a big deal to me as I feel it is now my turn to give back to the people and the place that welcomed me back with open arms and even provided me with a job. As an alum and educator at NDPMA, my students and parents are able to witness this pride and passion towards the school firsthand, and hopefully will inspire them to feel the same pride and passion as they go through NDPMA. 

What is your favorite memory of high school?
My favorite memory at Notre Dame was winning the 2007 volleyball state championship. This accomplishment was the first volleyball state championship in Oakland County and the second state championship at the school! It was such an amazing accomplishment that my teammates and I still celebrate to this day. 

Brian Dooley ‘85 (NDHS)
 
Why do you think it’s important to stay involved with Notre Dame as an alum?
ND played a very large part of forming who I am today, and staying involved just seems like the natural thing to do. Educating our children and giving them the tools for success, can’t be taken lightly. As a father of one alum and two current students, being involved in the school's progress and success is truly one of the most satisfying things I can spend my time on.

What is your favorite memory of high school?
Two favorites: The four years I spent on the varsity gymnastics team and Irish Week!

Lisa (Syrowik) Healy ’98 (NDP)
 
Why do you think it’s important to stay involved with Notre Dame as an alum?
I believe it is so important to stay involve with Notre Dame as an alum because alumni are truly loved and respected by the administration. I get the unique opportunity to be able to be on the alumni board. I hear at each meeting topics about how we can help our alum, thank them, reconnect with them, stay updated on their successes and accomplishments and connect them with our current high schoolers. As a current parent of two ND Marist elementary school students, it is very moving to see such pride from our administration for our alumni. As a graduate of NDP, it makes me want to give back to the school that doesn't just see me as some girl who graduated from the class of 1998, but as a family member that they truly have invested in. 

What is your favorite memory of high school?
Favorite memory: Mrs. Connors' Spanish class junior and senior year. There are way too many stories and laughs from that class! 

Bobbie (Bieszki) Hall ’00 (NDP)
 
Why do you think it’s important to stay involved with Notre Dame as an alum?
I think it's important to stay involved with Notre Dame as an alum for so many reasons: it sets a good tone for our current students to know that it is a good thing to come back here and be involved whether it be by giving time or money in support of what goes on here; it shows that we appreciate the blessings we received (whether it be friends, faith, education, etc.) from going to this school and wanting to pay it forward to students and teachers that come after us; it helps us stay connected to our high school memories and friends; it allows us to see the school from a different perspective than when we attended and show appreciation for it from our new, adult perspective. My biggest reason for being here is that I have always seen this place as a home away from home, not just because of the crazy amount of hours I spent here as a student, but also the people that made my experience what it was. I truly wanted to come back and give my players and students that experience too. I want to do my best to help them feel the way I feel about this place and to come back after they graduated having that warm feeling of belonging here no matter how long it's been since they've been back on campus. That feeling is built over the course of their time at our school and I want to help build that for them. This place is special and it's a part of who we are so it just makes sense to stay connected and give back what and when we can. 

What is your favorite memory of high school?
My favorite high school memory is probably the friendships with classmates and teachers that were created then and are still a part of my life now. Of course I remember the big games we won or lost, and the outcome of Irish Week each year, but more importantly, between the classes, bus rides for sports, sports practices, Irish Week, school dances, etc., the people I shared those experiences with will stay with me forever. 

Dan Staniszewski ’02 (NDP)
 
Why do you think it’s important to stay involved with Notre Dame as an alum?
Notre Dame provided me with a great education and a chance to get into my #1 college after graduation. I want to stay involved with the students to make sure they get just as good if not a better education than I received. Seeing the school grow in so many ways since I was a student and even since I started as a faculty member has been amazing. Notre Dame has blessed me and my family in many ways and I want to pay that blessing forward to others

What is your favorite memory of high school?
As freshmen on the football team, we went 0-9 and only had 14 players on the team. Through a great deal of hard work after going 2-7 and then 3-6 as sophomores and juniors, we went 5-4 and just barely missed out on the playoffs. Despite missing the playoffs, being able to see the hard work pay off and going through the struggle and fight with my team was an amazing memory and helped make me the man I am today.

Mike Kastler ’75 (NDHS)
 
Why do you think it’s important to stay involved with Notre Dame as an alum?
It’s important to stay involved with Notre Dame as an alum for a couple of reasons. One is to relive some of the best learning experiences of our lives. Notre Dame really did shape my learning skills that have lasted me a lifetime! As a lifelong learner with three different college experiences over the years, I keep coming back to the Notre Dame study, work and ethics fundamentals. Secondly, I also think it’s important to stay involved with Notre Dame to give back to the current students and faculty. It’s a pleasure to share life’s experiences with others who are going through similar learning and growth that I had experienced back in the day.
 
What is your favorite memory of high school?
My favorite memories of Notre Dame carry a common theme: the camaraderie. It seemed that no matter what the event was, a football game or a class project, the dedication to teamwork and the ensuing camaraderie will always be remembered.

Dean Aldo ’76 (PC)

Why do you think it’s important to stay involved with Notre Dame as an alum?
Continuity. Being part of the growth and evolvement of the community of Notre Dame. The chance to reconnect with alumni and provide them with the opportunity to experience and be involved with NDPMA. And history, understanding and honoring the roots of the school and the path taken to get to where we are today. Providing a type of bridge from my time as a student at PCHS to the transformation into NDPMA. 
 
What is your favorite memory of high school?
Academics, wearing a uniform, participating in various sports and the nuns. Having been educated in the Pontiac Public School system from kindergarten through eighth grade, the transfer to PCHS was dramatic, to say the least. Academically speaking, I was behind and had to catch up, which was initially quite demanding. The best part of wearing a uniform is that I learned how to tie a neck tie; half Windsor and overhand knots. Playing varsity baseball and golf emphasized team, working together and a special camaraderie. The most intimidating part of the high school were the nuns; especially Sisters Mercia and Margaret, who defined the zero-tolerance policy. 

Amy Tkac ’02 (NDP)

Why do you think it’s important to stay involved with Notre Dame as an alum? 
I think it's important to stay involved because I can give back to Notre Dame in another way on top of a monetary gift. It also helps me to make life long connections.
 
What is your favorite memory of high school?
My favorite memories of NDP were the arts. I was involved in choir, theater and color guard.

Patty (Dean) Phillips ’52 (SF)

Why do you think it’s important to stay involved with Notre Dame as an alum?
If you have shared four years with the same friends you will carry the same memories for the rest of your life. The alumni will always be a source to be able to touch those memories once again.

What is your favorite memory of high school?
After starting first grade with the same people at St. Frederick I shared high school memories with, it was an accumulation of years of memories. Outstanding was the warm and caring sense of community of my school family.

Jane Dika ’02 (NDP)
 
Why do you think it’s important to stay involved with Notre Dame as an alum?
I believe that it is important to stay involved with Notre Dame as an alum because Notre Dame was a place where I felt I was embraced as one of the family and supported in a way that prepared me for the challenges I would face in my life. It wasn’t until I started college and then grad school where I realized how the skills and education I was provided at Notre Dame really went above and beyond what I needed to be successful. I was able to focus on adjusting to life changes without worrying that I couldn’t or wouldn’t be able keep up with the coursework or academic requirements. Every time that I go back to the school or participate in alumni activities, I am welcomed and feel as if I am not just wanted for how I can help the school but am a valued member of the NDPMA family.
 
What is your favorite memory of high school?
Some of my most fond memories of high school revolve around band class and band activates. Whether it was pep band, marching band, parades, trips or pit orchestra it was always a fun time. Even when our fingers were freezing during a parade, getting rained on practicing on the hill, or being exhausted from prepping for the musicals for hours after school, it was always a fun time.


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

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