Notre Dame art teacher to receive ‘Inspiring’ award


Notre Dame visual arts teacher Sandy LewAllen received word in early January that she will be presented with the inaugural "Inspiring High School Teacher Award" at the 2018 Scholastic Art awards ceremony next month at the Detroit Film Theater.

According to Amy Armand, who is the director of recruitment for Detroit's College for Creative Studies and regional coordinator for the Scholastic Art Awards competition, LewAllen, who also serves as Notre Dame's visual and performing arts chair, was nominated by her students after the 2017 competition.

"Last year, after the exhibits and ceremonies were over, I reached out to all students who had participated and asked if they would complete a survey to nominate a teacher who went above and beyond — to help them, push them, mentor them, and inspire them," Armand said. "I figured it's about time to start recognizing teachers like Sandy who go that extra mile all the time."  

LewAllen to be honored at annual awards event

Armand said that out of all the nominations that she received, the stories about LewAllen from her students touched her the most. 

Art students from LewAllen's classes last year weigh in on their teacher.

"She will be honored with the 'Inspiring High School Teacher Award' at the DFT on Tuesday, February 6, beginning at 7 p.m.," Armand said. "Congratulations to her on this well-deserved honor!"

"We've always worked hard to make sure the program is one that students and teachers can all be proud of, and that there are no barriers to enter for any student who wants to participate," she added. "However, I realize that if it wasn't for dedicated teachers like Sandy Lewallen, there would be no program at all."    

Fr. Joe Hindelang, s.m., principal of Notre Dame's upper school, said that being named an "Inspiring High School Teacher" came as a surprise to LewAllen. But, he said, it was even more meaningful to her because it was based on comments from her students. 

"It is good that they recognize how much she cares about each of them, about their learning, growth and success," Hindelang said. "While others notice how much she does so generously for others on a daily basis — especially her students — to Sandy these are just typical days of being a teacher at a Catholic and Marist school."


Last year's impressive haul

At the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards ceremony held Feb. 7, 2017, at the Detroit Film Theater, LewAllen's students earned 45 awards for the Southeastern Michigan region, a huge increase from the 2016 school record of 27 awards. According to LewAllen, earning 45 awards tops the number of awards ever won at Notre Dame Prep. “I am so proud of all our art students and their effort,” she said last year after the awards event.

The 2017 awards include 16 Gold Keys, 16 Silver Keys and 13 Honorable Mentions for Notre Dame students from Scholastic.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have an impressive legacy dating back to 1923. Over the years, the awards have grown to become the longest-running, most prestigious program for creative teens in the U.S., and the nation’s largest source of scholarships for creative young artists and writers. A noteworthy roster of past winners includes Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Robert Redford, Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen King and John Updike.

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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