‘Something here for everyone’

Graduating senior says her time at NDPMA has strengthened her faith and her academic opportunities. Also says Notre Dame's a home for nearly every kind of student.

Elizabeth Brouns will walk across the stage this Sunday as one of 200 graduates of Notre Dame Prep. When she receives her diploma, she says, it won't just be a nice piece of paper with an embossed school seal. She says it will represent years — actually six years for her, which began when she transferred to Marist Academy's seventh grade from Our Lady of the Lakes — six years of attending a school from which she's gained so much.

"When anyone asks me about Notre Dame or why I attend school here, I usually tell them that it has such a wide variety of opportunities to offer, that everyone can find something great," she said. "At Notre Dame, there is a huge range of clubs available, amazing athletics, excellent academics, and many groups of people to call friends. There really is something here for everyone, no matter what their skill level in academics, athletics or anything else."

Brouns also singles out Notre Dame's music program.

"I've always said that the best decision I've ever made was my decision to participate in the band program at NDPMA," said Brouns, who will be studying psychology and neuroscience at the University of Michigan in the fall. "The jazz band and pit orchestra helped me become a more technically advanced and more stylistic musician, for which I am extremely thankful. Also, through band, I found a group of friends who have become like my family, and I cannot imagine my life without them."

She said nearly all of her favorite high school memories are from the numerous trips she took with the band, including to places like Hawaii, Mackinac City and Florida.

"I got to travel and play great music with all my favorite people," she said. "Mr. [Joe] Martin truly is a fantastic band director and knows so much about music. But most importantly, he is so willing to share that knowledge with all his students."

For band director Martin, he is delighted he's able to share that knowledge with students like Brouns.

"I've had Lizzie in my band program for six years," he said. "It's been wonderful to see her grow in many ways. Not only as a fun, loving and nurturing person, but her leadership and musicianship has really blossomed in the last three years."

It hasn't been just music that's kept Brouns occupied outside the classroom. Over the course of her a time in Notre Dame Prep, she has served as a member of the varsity bowling team and she played softball for most of her high school tenure. She also participated early in the school's nascent Model United Nations program as well as the National Honor Society and the Spanish NHS. 

But for Brouns, though, all of what NDP has to offer revolves around one very important piece of the school's mission: faith. 

"Being raised in a Catholic family, I've always been involved in the church, but in the past, I never really connected too deeply with my faith," she said. "At NDP, I've gotten a chance to strengthen my faith in ways that I have not been able to before. In religion classes, for example, I was able to learn about moral issues, church history, and the reasons for why things are done at Mass every Sunday. I've also gotten a chance to connect more deeply with my faith through the Kairos retreat, which honestly was one of the best experiences of my life." 

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 Prep 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 Marist Academy enrolls students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. NDPMA is an International Baccalaureate "World School" and 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 Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at www.ndpma.org