Middle school through high school continuum

Senior 'ambassador' says Notre Dame teachers from middle school through high school have helped him succeed.

Notre Dame senior Mitchell Ballew said that when he graduates in May, he believes he will be ready for whatever the future holds for him. And it's due part and parcel to the teachers he's had since he first came to the school's middle division.

"Notre Dame has helped me become a complete student from sixth-grade on by having teachers who help us do our best work," he said. "Also, students help one another through our mutual desire to succeed and learn. I know when I graduate from Notre Dame, I will leave feeling content that I am ready to pursue my endeavors at the university level. I also will know who I am, what I can endure regarding schoolwork, and how to manage my time. Most importantly, I will know that I have the ability to succeed and grow in my future."

Ballew said that while school has been tough at times, he thinks NDPMA has constantly looked out for each student's well-being.

"I came to Notre Dame because I wanted an academic challenge," said Ballew, who lives in Waterford. "But I also wanted a tight-knit community with lots of opportunities to get involved and make my life my own. I knew about all NDP had to offer from my time in our middle school, from the IB program to athletics, and I wanted to be part of the family community though 12th grade. Plus, I wanted to learn in an environment of students who are driven to be scholars and constantly prepare for the future."

Ballew's "scholarly" schedule includes a number of AP, honors and IB classes, including AP Composition, Honors Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus and IB Envronmental Science. But he clearly has a favorite.


"The most interesting class I’ve taken so far at Notre Dame is IB History with Mr. Osiecki as a junior and senior," he said. "I enjoy it so much because it goes much further into history and helps me make connections with current events. Mr. Osiecki makes a hard class very easy through his teaching style."

Also a member of the school's Student Ambassador program, the National Honor Society and Notre Dame's ski team, Ballew said he's been able to keep his schedule comfortable with the help of his teachers and coaches.

"I didn’t realize it at first, but I came to learn that Notre Dame has teachers and faculty who want students to succeed. Every teacher is willing to help all students become not only more intelligent but strong, independent people as well," he said. "Notre Dame really is different from other schools because it offers a sense of community where everyone knows your name and you feel like an essential component of the school. Notre Dame also offers far more opportunities and ways to get involved than any other institution."

Ballew adds that fun is an essential component to the NDPMA experience and he cites Irish Week as one part of that fun. 

"But I think the most fun experience I’ve had so far at Notre Dame is every aspect of being on the ski team," he said. "I joined my sophomore year and have been ski racing ever since. The weekends up north to train, the daily practices, the races, the coaching staff, and especially my teammates make it the best ski team around. It’s hard work, but I’ve never had more fun."

Summing up his Notre Dame experience, Ballew is succinct. 

"The teachers at Notre Dame are exceptional, the students at Notre Dame are family, and the opportunities at Notre Dame are vast."

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. Notre Dame's upper school 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 schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three schools 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.