Notre Dame family ‘meets the teams’

Athletic department helps celebrate 25 years of NDPMA with prominent motivational speaker and special outdoor "meet the teams" rally.

Hundreds of Notre Dame students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff gathered on campus Friday, Aug. 16, for the school's first-ever "Game Day" festivities as part of its community pep rally. The afternoon began with a series of presentations by Rob Miller, an internationally recognized educational-athletics expert specializing in coaching, team-building and leadership, who gave presentations first to NDPMA's student-athletes and then to school parents.

Coach Miller's discussions were followed by a 'community meet the team rally on Kozyra Alumni Field, which involved introductions of each fall athletic team from CYO through high school and performances by the Notre Dame band, dance team and sideline cheer team.

Betty Wroubel, Notre Dame's director of athletics, said the main objective for holding a school-wide pep rally to start the school year is to build a greater sense of community and school spirit.

"One of the athletic department's themes for the upcoming school year is '31 Programs, One Team,' emphasizing that we all support Notre Dame regardless of which specific team you may be involved in," Wroubel added. "We also think this rally is a good way for us to highlight our 25th anniversary as a school."

Miller, who is representing Proactive Coaching LLC, an organization that works with coaches and teams to help create character-based team cultures, was entertaining, informative and very direct to both students and parents on hand yesterday. He told the student-athletes that they are all on great teams, no matter the wins and losses. He also said teams are not just for sports.

"The band is a team," he said. "Robotics is a team and FFA is a team, which he said was his high school's most successful team while growing up and attending school in Pigeon, Michigan. "FFA is Future Farmers of America and they had a dynamite record of turning out successful farmers."

Miller also told the students that great teams and great teammates reach potential, whether they win a championship or not.

"It's not about wins and losses' it's about doing the best you can and reaching your highest potential. Also, potential has nothing to do with talent. It's all about the choices you make. Showing up on time, giving 100%. And having no regrets, regardless of records, as along as you reached your highest potential."

He also said when you grow up, you won't remember your wins and losses. 

"But, you will always remember your teammates forever," he told the eighth-through-twelfth-grade students on hand.

For Miller's presentation to the parents, he focused primarily on making sure they always support their kids, win or lose. He also told them to leave the coaching to the coaches.

"Your only role as parents of athletes is to support your children, always be the face your kids needs to see and focus on the team," said Miller, who now lives in Kansas City, Missouri. "In addition, when you're at your kids games, try to watch the whole team and not just your kid!"

The community pep rally followed Miller's talks and was held in the school's football stadium. 

The NDP marching band opened the rally, followed by outstanding performances by the Irish dance and sideline cheer teams.

NDPMA Assistant Athletic Director Aaron Crouse then introduced 24 different Irish teams who charged onto the field through the school's new stadium helmet tunnel.

"I think the day went extremely well," said Wroubel after the event wrapped at about 7:15 p.m. "We wanted to kick off our 25th year with a bang and it was a wonderful opportunity to bring our Notre Dame family to school the week before school starts. We think it's exciting to start the year off this way and showcase all of our teams and coaches together in one place. We plan to continue to build on this event next year and every year afterward."

The Irish dance team performed a couple of routines for the crowd.

NDP’s sideline cheer team also was on hand Friday.

Notre Dame’s new ”helmet tunnel” made its debut at the rally.

Notre Dame head of school and cross country coach Andy Guest and senior Jenny Ohlsson lead NDP’s cross country team out of the stadium helmet tunnel.

Notre Dame head football coach Pat Fox, assistant athletic director Aaron Crouse and NDP assistant principal Mary Simmonds reprised a ”Game Day” routine at the end of the rally.

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About Notre Dame 
Notre Dame is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named Michigan's best 50 Catholic high school three of the last four years ( Notre Dame's lower and middle schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All Notre Dame schools have been authorized by International Baccalaureate as "World Schools" and the entire institution is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers. It 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, visit the school's home page at