Victory march

Notre Dame will celebrate and bless new science, art and technology wing on August 17.

NOTE: To RSVP for the Aug. 17 blessing and ribbon-cutting ceremony contact Carrie Lytle at or 248-373-5300 by August 10.

On March 9, 2017, Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy launched the public phase of its campaign to raise more than $7 million for a new science, art and technology wing.

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. 

Since then, school officials and the NDPMA advancement office have been working hard to "close the gap" between the fundraising goal and their current total. 

Now, on the cusp of the new wing opening for the 2018-19 school year at Notre Dame, that gap is getting smaller, according to NDPMA corporate president Fr. Leon Olszamowski, s.m.  

“We have raised more than $6 million dollars to date in this campaign and hope to reach our March on to Victory campaign finish line by Christmas,” said Olszamowski, who founded Notre Dame in Pontiac in the mid-90s.

“My personal dream since 1994 when we first opened NDP was to bring the A and D classroom wings together," he said. "Now, it has finally become a reality thanks to the steady hand of our Board of Trustees, the stepped-up effort of our advancement department, and most importantly, our many generous donors. This new STEM-oriented wing takes us to the cutting edge of programmatic offerings for our student body."

He noted that NDPMA has always been about providing for the students’ future needs.

"This new wing is a grand punctuation of our efforts to provide the best Catholic education possible, and at reasonable price,” he said.

Blessing and ribbon cutting August 17

Frank Rewold and Sons, Inc., is the general contractor for the construction of the new wing. Darin Schafer of Rewold is overseeing the project.

"We are in good shape with the project and on time," Schafer said. "There still is much work to do, but we will be ready for the blessing."

Notre Dame announced earlier this month that the date and time for the blessing to celebrate the opening of the school’s new wing will be Friday, Aug. 17, at 10 a.m.

"We are excited to welcome Atlanta Auxiliary Bishop Joel Konzen, s.m., to preside over our blessing ceremony," said Andy Guest, Notre Dame's head of school. "As a Marist priest and long-time ND trustee, his presence will add a personal flair to our event."

According to NDPMA officials, the Aug.-17 event also will include a ribbon cutting, self-guided tours of the new wing, and refreshments. Campaign donors will be recognized, but all members of the school community are welcome.

Science, art and robotics

The new facilities, which total about 26,000 square feet, includes a one-story science, technology and arts wing that has been added to the shared middle division and upper division building. The new wing houses science laboratory facilities, collaborative learning classrooms, a robotics lab, a specially designed greenhouse, and a fine arts studio.

The new fine arts studio is dedicated primarily to the visual arts and provides a setting that has been designed to encourage and foster the talent and imagination of Notre Dame students. Natural lighting, abundant wall and floor space, proper worktables, ample shelving and storage, a kiln room and more provide a setting to help aspiring young student-artists flourish. The space also includes a modern gallery to exhibit student-artists’ work.

The new science labs have been designed to promote inquiry-based learning through design and functionality, according to the school. Work areas in the labs will accommodate small group collaboration and technology will be incorporated into the teacher demonstration station. Counters and chairs have been designed with students in mind and a prep room conveniently situated between each of the two science labs provides a safe and secure environment for the storage of equipment and any potentially hazardous chemicals. 

Jocelynn Yaroch is a science teacher and co-chair of Notre Dame Prep's science department. She said she's beyond thrilled to see the new wing come to fruition.

"This is a very exciting time in the history of Notre Dame, and particularly for our department," she said. "I've been here for almost 17 years and the school has really grown with regards to its population and what we are able to offer our students. The science department continues to be innovative, while constantly reevaluating our curriculum and offering a variety of courses to meet the needs of our students."

Yaroch said, however, that space for those science initiatives was at a premium.

"This new wing means that we will no longer have teachers without a dedicated classroom, which will increase our ability to effectively deliver quality instruction to our students who deserve nothing less than the best," she said. "Plus, the addition of the greenhouse means that our life science course offerings will expand that much more. We may even be able to host some cross-curricular courses, say, an art/science collaboration, for example, in our new space! That would be really special."

Another key component of the academic expansion is a 1,200 square-foot robotics lab and 850 square-foot adjoining classroom. 

"Notre Dame’s robotics program has grown to encompass world-ranked programs at its lower, middle and upper divisions," Olszamowski said. "The robotics center will complement the space currently provided through our relationship with FIAT Chrysler, a sponsor of our robotics program since its inception."

He also said the robotics room will provide dedicated education, construction, storage and training space; mobile work stations that allow for both computer-aided instruction and robot-building space as well as indoor and outdoor work space that is centrally located between the upper and middle divisions.

Capital campaign co-chair Patrice D'Agostini is pleased with how everything came together so well.

"This project has been a great joy to me, as a donor, alumni parent, and now as a school grandparent, D'Agostini. "Notre Dame is so blessed to have had the faith to move forward on this addition. To watch the building of this beautiful state-of-the-art addition for the students, faculty and administration has been worth all the hard work that has been put into this project."

D'Agostini also said she's grateful for all involved with making the new wing a reality.

"I would like to thank the Board of Trustees, our donors, faculty and administration for all of their efforts to bring this vision of Fr. Leon to fruition," she said. "Most especially, Fr. Leon and Andy Guest have been such an instrumental duo to this project. Without them, I don't think we'd be looking at this amazing addition to an amazing school like NDPMA." 

Tip of the iceberg 

Head of school Guest said he cannot wait to see the kids' faces when they enter the new facility.

"The students are very excited," he said. "They all want to be the first to learn in the new building. 

"As administrators, our job is to provide the resources for our teachers, so that they can deliver the mission to our students," Guest added. "Our mission states that with God, we form Christian persons, upright citizens and academic scholars. This new science, arts and technology wing is consistent with that mission and we also think it will solidify our reputation as one of the top academic programs in the state."

Olszamowski added that God and Mary surely had a role in the success of the program.

"Under the protection of Mary, Mother of God and our school patroness, we continue to achieve 'great things for God and for our student community.”

He also said the new wing is just the beginning of a big future for the school.
“This facility is only the tip of the iceberg of our long-term plans for Notre Dame," said the longtime Marist priest. "Stick around, and you’ll see what hard work, a lot of prayer, and generously donated dollars can achieve.
“As one parent told me in the parking lot, ‘What you are doing at this school is incredible! I can’t believe that any family would not want to be here.’”

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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