‘Fighting Irish family’

Busy sophomore student ambassador says Notre Dame really is a family.

Rachel Bologna is one of Notre Dame's student ambassadors, which means she is one of the young men and women who've been chosen to bring the message and mission of NDPMA to prospective students and families.

Nominated by Notre Dame teachers and administrators and ultimately chosen by the admissions department, these sophomore, junior and senior ambassadors are the school's "A team," responsible for "projecting and fostering a warm and welcoming atmosphere for anyone interested in Notre Dame, which could be both on or off campus," according to the program application.

It's a role sophomore Bologna gladly accepts and embraces wholeheartedly because if anyone in the school can riff about all the great things at Notre Dame, it is her.

"I love to speak out loud and express myself," she said. "In fact, one of the classes I have here and that I enjoy very much is public speaking. I am learning the right techniques and ways to formally speak in front of an audience and I love my teacher, Mrs. (Bobbie) Hall, because I always learn so much from her every time I see her."

One of the things about her high school that Bologna expresses loudly to anyone within earshot is how NDPMA is just like a family to her.

"I didn’t realize it at first, but after a few months here, it really is a close family," said Bologna, who came to Notre Dame from Holy Family Regional School in Rochester Hills. "Some schools might say they are like family, but people at NDP show and exemplify their love for one another every day. The faculty and staff do everything they can to make sure we are getting the best education. They always put us first and help us to the max."

One of the staffers Bologna may be referring to is Kathleen Offer, who is the school's direct of admissions and also heads the girls basketball program. Bologna currently plays for ND Prep's JV squad.

“Rachel is a great example of what it means to ‘be Notre Dame,’" Offer said. "She’s involved, dedicated, passionate, positive and giving. We are very fortunate to have her in our Fighting Irish family.”

Full schedule

Being a part of that Fighting Irish family, according to Bologna, means that she must juggle a very busy academic schedule with sports and a myriad of extracurriculars. 

After all, a typical day for her could include classes in earth science, public speaking, Spanish, economics, geometry, paschal mystery, honors American literature and U.S history. Add to that schedule membership in the school's National Honor Society, the Multicultural Alliance and Optimist clubs as well as basketball in the winter and soccer in the spring and it's obvious that Bologna's one busy young lady.

"I think I'm am able to balance schoolwork, sports, clubs and activities at Notre Dame because our teachers all understand our busy schedules and they help us out as much as they can," she said. "Notre Dame is very challenging, but the teachers try to give us leeway when it's appropriate."

It's not all work, though, for this busy 10th grader. As with any other family, there is a time for work and there's a time for play.

"The most fun experience I’ve had so far at Notre Dame is Irish Week," she said. "That was the best week ever! As a freshman, every single day of that week brought new excitement and fun. I loved seeing all the grades competing, and I loved being able to root for my classmates. Can't wait for Irish Week 2018!"

When all is said and done, Bologna is super glad she and her parents chose Notre Dame Prep for high school.

"I wanted to come to Notre Dame because I knew it had an amazing academic curriculum, and I really wanted that for myself," she said. "Also, my brother, Jonathan ('14), came here and he absolutely loved it. I really wanted to enjoy and experience it, too."

Comments or questions? mkelly@ndpma.org.

Follow Notre Dame on Twitter at @NDPMA.

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