‘Time to pay it forward.’

NDPMA family says their children have benefited from attending Notre Dame. Now they want to ensure that future students enjoy those same benefits and more.

On March 9 of last year, Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy launched the public phase of its campaign to raise a total of $7.5 million for a new science, art and technology wing to be built on its campus in Pontiac.

Dubbed the “March on to Victory” campaign, the public phase of the fundraising effort was introduced at a special celebration to a crowd of more than 700 who heard from school and campaign officials and watched a special video presentation.

Notre Dame head of school Andy Guest said that since the launch of the campaign, a total of $5.6 million has been pledged to date. “But we are working hard to close the gap between where we are today and the $7.5 million goal. We want to secure as much as we can if not all of it before we open the facility ahead of the 2018 school year.”

Daron Gifford is the NDPMA board chairman and co-chair of the MOTV campaign. 

“The big goal of this campaign, which is the most ambitious in the school’s history, is to help our great school to maintain its educational leadership not only for our current generation of students, but also for many generations of students to come,” said Gifford, who also is an alumni parent.

Echoing Gifford are Jill and Brad Seitzinger — parents of Claire, an NDP senior, and Eli, a freshman — who are significant contributors to the campaign.

"Our children have benefited from the school's current facilities, which have been provided to us in part from donations that came before us," said Jill Seitzinger, who also is a school trustee. "Now it’s our time to pay it forward."

The new 26,000 square feet facility, which is well underway and on schedule, includes a one-story science, technology and arts building that has already been connected to both the current middle-school and upper-school wings. When it opens before school begins in August, it will feature science laboratory facilities, collaborative learning classrooms, a robotics lab, a specially designed greenhouse, and a fine arts studio.

For the Seitzingers, even though Claire will have graduated before the new facility opens and Eli will be starting his second year in the upper school, they are thinking about the many students who will benefit from it well into the future.

"We hope the new science, arts and technology wing will provide teachers with the space they need to teach all of the programs that future students want and deserve," Jill Seitzinger said. "Also, the facility's robotics lab and greenhouse are new and exciting ways to learn and are steps ahead of most schools in this area. We believe this will help keep NDPMA a top-ranked school."

The 1,200 square-foot robotics lab and 850 square-foot adjoining classroom are key components to the new wing. Notre Dame’s robotics program has grown to encompass world-ranked programs at its lower, middle and upper divisions and the robotics center will complement the space currently provided through the school's ongoing relationship with FIAT Chrysler, a sponsor of our robotics program since its inception.

"The new greenhouse has been designed to be a powerful environmental education tool for Notre Dame students of all ages," said Fr. Leon Olszamowski, s.m., Pontiac Notre Dame's founder and its current corporate president. "The greenhouse also will provide students with the unique opportunity to explore hydroponic growing systems, which is a new way to develop efficient food sources. Our students who study natural and social science, math, language arts, visual arts and more will benefit from the greenhouse and its garden-like setting."

The many other unique opportunities that Notre Dame has already provided to students and their families are not lost on Jill Seitzinger, who has been consistent in her assessment of the school.

Notre Dame “is a phenomenal school and everyone here truly lives the mission,” she said when the campaign for the new wing was first announced. “Both our children are thriving not only academically, but as good Christian people and upright citizens. We are very happy with Notre Dame.”

Today, Seitzinger is equally effusive.

"NDPMA has given our family an environment to meet many great kids and parents with similar values as well as a top-notch education to Claire and Eli," she said. She also said that her kids are being brought up to be both responsible and generous with their own money.

"We have taught our children that when budgeting money, five categories are important: save, spend, invest, tithe and donate," said Seitzinger, who noted that she and her husband strive to be role models in those areas as well as in the volunteer work they do. "We participate and serve because nonprofits like NDPMA typically need lots of help and we believe all parents should play a role."

To learn more about the campaign, its impact on students and how to participate, please visit ndpma.org/marchontovictory.

Comments or questions? mkelly@ndpma.org.

Follow Notre Dame on Twitter at @NDPMA.

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.