A QUIET GRACE

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February 11, 2021

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

A scholarship offered to current Notre Dame students carries the legacy of a 2017 alumnus who represented ‘everything the school stands for,’ says one of his classmates. Candidates for the scholarship are nominated by Notre Dame Prep's faculty and staff.


In 2020, the family of Notre Dame Prep alum David Molnar NDP'17 established the David A. Molnar Endowed Scholarship to honor David’s life and to provide support to NDPMA students who have demonstrated resilience and courage in overcoming past or present challenges in their lives.

According to David’s father, Robert Molnar, the scholarship also commemorates the positive impacts David made on his family’s lives and the lives of those who knew him. David died suddenly in November 2019 at the age of 21.

”David was afflicted by acute onset epilepsy at the age of 11,” his father said. ”For many years he endured unpredictable seizures that dramatically altered his teenage years, a time that is usually filled with a multitude of activities and social experiences. He desired to live a normal life despite the fact that his epilepsy made his life extraordinary and significantly limited his ability to truly enjoy the freedoms that all teenagers covet.”

Robert stressed that his son, who graduated in 2017, was determined to beat this health enemy no matter what obstacles he had to overcome. 

”David always strived for perfection and worked harder than most while managing his affliction with a quiet grace,” he said. ”He rarely spoke of his epilepsy, likely due to the fact that he wanted to be seen and treated just like everyone else. His perseverance, optimistic attitude, wonderful sense of humor, and passion to overcome his condition was courageous and inspiring.”

The scholarship provides for two awards to be made each school year to a rising eighth-grade student and a rising 12th-grade student at Notre Dame. The awards will be used for tuition and fees incurred during the eighth- and 12th-grade academic years.

”Having lived through what David endured and having witnessed his courage and faith, our family wishes to distinguish those students who carry a burden but who do not let it define them and who give extra effort in fighting through adversities that many others do not realize,” his father said. ”It’s tough to be an NDPMA student, as the demanding curriculum and requirements are rigorous and necessitate hard work. To those students who do this while going through additional trials and tribulations that most others can’t even imagine, we salute them and wish to honor their tenacity and work ethic.”

David Molnar celebrates his 2017 Notre Dame Prep graduation with siblings Maria NDP’13 and Robert NDP’14.


One of Molnar’s classmates who knew him well recalled his friend’s own tenacity and work ethic.

”When I think of my friend David, I am reminded of his strength of spirit,” said Joe Tuski, who also graduated in 2017. ”David dealt with very difficult circumstances all while maintaining a great attitude. I am inspired often by his resilience and fortitude and I’m convinced that his strength was indeed rooted in his faith in God and support from his wonderful family and friends. David will be in my heart always, and his memory will continue to make me grateful for my own blessings.”

Dan Staniszewski NDP’02 is a longtime math teacher at the school and remembers his former student well.

“David was one of the kindest people you could ever meet,” he said. ”He always wanted to learn more and understand everything better. And David lived the mission of the school. If we had more people in the world with David’s kindness and character, the world would be a much better place.”


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Another one of Molnar’s high school instructors was Melissa Archer, who teaches English at Notre Dame Prep. She’s also a member of the school committee that recommends Molnar scholarship recipients.

”I taught David in his junior-year English course and found him to be a conscientious, hardworking, kind and upright person,” she said. ”He was eager to grow in his academic skills and reacted well to setbacks. Among his classmates, he had many friends and while dealing with his health, he seemed to be enjoying a full life.”

Archer also said she admires the Molnar family for honoring their son with the scholarship.

”What a great act of kindness to lift up future NPDMA students to courageously rise above challenges to fulfill the school’s mission,” she said.

Mary Jane Pasko, who recently retired from the main office at Notre Dame, also was a big fan of Molnar. 

”David taught me a lot about living with an unusual condition and that he never let it stop him to do or try anything,” Pasko said. ”He even wanted to sing in the choir in front of the entire school. He just wanted to experience everything every other NDP student experienced. I’m so sad that David left us way too soon but will forever be happy that I knew him.”

Two other classmates also recall their fellow alum.

”I remember his smile and positivity the most,” said Dana Pangori. ”David’s positive energy brought calmness and comfort to everyone he encountered.” 

Luke Adams was happy to hear about the scholarship.

”I think it’s an amazing idea,” said the Columbia University senior. ”David deserves to be remembered in this way as he always appeared to represent everything NDP stands for.”

Robert Molnar says that’s exactly why his family has endowed this scholarship, which was initiated for the 2020-2021 school year.

”We want to recognize families who are enduring real struggles, as we know those challenges well,” he said. ”We recognized how David shouldered his burden; it was inspiring and will always positively influence our family’s lives. That’s why we want to acknowledge these attributes and to celebrate those who demonstrate similar traits. 

”These attributes define character and provide a challenge for each of us to rise above our difficulties and to be the best that we can possibly be,” he added. ”The scholarship is our way of memorializing and respecting the positive effects David had on the lives of his family, friends and community, and to share our admiration for those who continue to do so.”

Molnar was a big fan of University of Notre Dame football.


The David A. Molnar Endowed Scholarship was established in 2020 by Dr. and Mrs. Robert Molnar, in memory of their son. Before his untimely passing in November 2019, David exemplified the mission of our school, of which he was a proud alumnus of the Class of 2017. The award bearing David’s name recognizes a rising Notre Dame Middle School 8th grader and a rising Notre Dame Prep senior for demonstrating resilience and courage in overcoming challenges in their lives, and for serving as positive role models for other students.

A note on creating scholarship funds: Scholarship funds, like the David A. Molnar Endowed Scholarship, are often initiated in honor of or in memory of a loved one and award assistance with tuition and fees to deserving students attending Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy. They typically represent the goals and values of the person for whom the fund was established.

Please contact Mark Roberts, vice president for advancement at Notre Dame (248-630-7720 or mroberts@ndpma.org) for more information on the Molnar scholarship or establishing a new scholarship fund.

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

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 Preparatory 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 National Association of Independent Schools. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school’s home page at www.ndpma.org.