Middle to high school express

8th-grade grad loved ND's middle school, but is looking forward to transitioning from Notre Dame's middle school to its high school.

Notre Dame's campus ministry department hosted its annual freshmen "launch" last month on the Notre Dame campus. The launch is a big part of the preparation for the new school year for registered 9th graders and transfer students entering Notre Dame Prep. Hosted by the school's Campus Ministry department, the launch is an integral part of assimilating new students into the upper school of Notre Dame. Important information on high school socialization, getting involved, and what it means to be part of the Marist family, are highlighted at the event.

One of those incoming freshman will be Thomas Budnick. However, for Budnick, the process of assimilation into ND Prep might be a bit easier than for a few others. That's because he is moving into the high school from Notre Dame's middle school, which is literally just down the hall from the high school.

Budnick said he's looking very much forward to NDP in the fall, but he's not without some concerns.

"In Notre Dame Marist, my teachers were extremely understanding with how much energy I usually have in the classroom," he said. "I just hope my high school teachers are also understanding."

It appears that Budnick needn't worry too much because one of those supposedly "extremely understanding" middle school teachers said he was a joy to teach.

"Tommy is a strong leader and a great model of the Marist mission," said Kelly Patterson, who is the vice principal and language A teacher at ND Marist. "I believe he has found a happy balance between his academic studies and his natural athletic abilities. I taught Tommy in 7th-grade Language and Literature, and he always brought joy into the classroom."

Budnick will enter high school after a strong three years at Notre Dame Marist. He said he learned a lot and it was a lot of work, but he said he enjoyed it very much as well.

"My years of middle school were fun, exciting, and full of adventure," said Budnick, who also played baseball for ND Marist. "I learned a great deal that can help me in the future and I especially loved my 8th-grade History of the Catholic Church and science classes. I loved the interaction and fun ways we learned in those classes."

Budnick said in general his religion classes in Notre Dame's middle school really helped him learn about his faith and how he can become a better person. 

"Faith and religion factored into my experience at Marist because it really added to the family atmosphere with all the other kids," he said. "I feel like I knew everyone, everyone knew me, and everyone was nice. It was a great community. I really will miss all the fun and the teachers I had at the middle school." 

For Patterson, the feeling is mutual because she will surely miss Budnick. But she also has no doubt he'll do well at ND Prep.

"He just carries himself well and always has his head held high while walking down the hallways," she said. "Tommy truly is a Marist-centered student, and one who will find success in all he encounters."

Budnick noted with a wink of his eye that there is one more thing he is looking forward to when he gets to the 9th grade.

"I am also excited to get new school pants that might fit a little better." 

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