Mastering the middle to high school transition

Eighth-grade grad looking forward to going to Notre Dame Prep.

On May 24, 2018, at St. Mary of the Hills Roman Catholic Church in Rochester Hills, 89 eighth graders from Notre Dame's middle school officially graduated. Now, after a relatively short summer break, they will head into their next academic level: high school.

For Anthony Zaleski, one of ND Marist's grads, he simply can't wait.

"I am definitely looking forward to Notre Dame Prep next school year because I think there will be many more opportunities to be challenged academically, to meet new people from other schools and to have many more uniform choices," he said shortly after he graduated from middle school. "Also, I've heard from current NDP students that Irish Week is even more fun in high school, so that is something I'm looking forward to as well."

Zaleski said he's also looking very much forward to competing in sports at the next level.

"The opportunity to compete in sports at a high school level is definitely something I am excited about," he said. "I hope to play soccer, basketball and golf at NDP in the coming years." 

While he will love being in the upper-school wings at Notre Dame, Zaleski nonetheless will miss his experience in the middle-school wing.

"I think one of the big things I will miss about Notre Dame Marist is how close I was to many of my friends," said Zaleski, who will share NDP, no doubt, with many of them. "With about 90 kids in our grade everyone knew each other and were friends. It was nice and easy in that way."

He also will miss his teachers. 

"I definitely will miss my Notre Dame Marist teachers," he said. "They were very helpful to me when I was there."

A few of those teachers weighed in on Zaleski.

Nadine Loria, who teaches religion and science in Notre Dame's middle school, said Zaleski was a great kid.

"He is a self-starter and a leader," she said. "His inquisitive mind and problem-solving abilities helped him tackle any classroom challenges with ease." 

Katherine Thomas, who teaches eighth-grade science at Notre Dame, said Zaleski is a student who can see the importance of working well with others. "He also has a positive outlook toward school and works to be successful in all that he does," she said.

Notre Dame Marist Academy teacher Mark McGreevy said he enjoyed the fact that Zaleski was such a deep thinker.

"Each year I have a few students who are well beyond the typical eighth-grade ability to connect concepts and adapt them to what is happening in their lives," said McGreevy, who teaches religion in the middle division. "Anthony is one of the best at it."

For Zaleski, he, too, recognizes the importance connecting faith to everything else he does at NDPMA. 

"I feel like I’ve seen my classmates as well as myself become more faithful throughout our time here," he said. "I think our faith is integrated very well into our education and I think the administration does a good job of incorporating religion into the school without disrupting our standard academics."

But how does Zaleski sum up his NDMA experience in total and what kind of memories will he take with him to high school?

"I really enjoyed my three years at the middle division," he said. "Going into Notre Dame Marist in my sixth-grade year, I did not know a single person and now I am leaving the school with a group of close friends who I know will be friends for a lifetime. Also, my three years are filled with fun memories from Irish Week, the Kalahari trip and the Washington, D.C., class trip."

He adds that his favorite classes included science and religion. 

"My teachers in those subjects had a great way of making each topic interesting and fun to learn!" 

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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