Notre Dame mom and dad appreciate what the school has meant for their children.

The Mukhtar family: From left, Joseph, Sofia, Nada, Chloe, Mark and Jacob.

Notre Dame Prep alums Joseph ('16) and Jacob Mukhtar ('18) wrapped up their spring term at Michigan State University earlier this month. For Jacob, it was his first year in East Lansing. For their sister Sofia, she soon will finish up her first year at NDP. For mom and dad, it's another year that's proven their choice of a high school for their children was the right one.

"Today, parents have many choices available to them for their kids' education," said Mark Mukhtar, who's an executive with global advisory-services firm Ernst & Young LLP. "When choosing a school for our kids, we were looking for one that not only values education, which many schools do, but more importantly, understands that developing well-rounded people is just as important. From the moment we first stepped foot in the school, the biggest differentiating factor for us was that Notre Dame focuses on that big picture."

He said it was very obvious from the start that to a person, the faculty and staff understood the institution's role in developing and providing a positive culture that helps guide its students through all phases of their lives. 

"As I said, we as parents have many education choices for our kids, but NDPMA is different. This school continues to provide an overall experience that has been instrumental in our kids' tremendous development," he said. “We believe they are positioned well as they take on any new challenges they'll likely run into during their lives."

Perfect fit

Mukhtar and his wife, Nada, say Notre Dame has given their boys the skills and maturity to handle just about everything the collegiate experience thus far has thrown at them. 

"We also already can see that Sofia is on the same path," Mark said. "Her maturation after one year at NDP is incredible. We attribute Joseph, Jacob and Sofia’s growth to three important factors: faith, education and athletics."

Mark and Nada Mukhtar in an outtake from a photo shoot a few years ago for a Notre Dame annual report.

He said those three pillars have been an important part of our family unit because all three offer some element of personal and community development. Naturally, he said, NDPMA was the perfect fit.

"Notre Dame gives its students the tools for personal development in the classroom, in the chapel, and on the field," he added. "But it also skillfully provides them with a sense of community and teamwork. I don't believe many schools, or any schools, offer such a unique blend of development a young person." 

Perfect balance

Sports also have always been a big part of the Mukhtar's life, but they see them as a far more than a contest on the field or the court. 

"We obviously want our kids to do well, succeed and win when they play sports," said Mukhtar, who also serves as president of the school's athletics Booster Club. "However, we believe sports have a much bigger purpose and that is teaching the kids how to work together and fully support their teammates. Instilling that concept has been important for us over the years because as the kids' sports careers come to an end, all they've learned during that time will have applications far greater in life. The athletics program and culture at Notre Dame, I strongly believe, hits that balance perfectly."

Mukhtar also said that during his tenure as Booster Club president, he sees that balance play out all the time.

Never a doubt

"I was excited to be named the NDPMA president of the Boosters this year," he said. "In that role I have been able to get much closer to the sports program here, which has validated my overall impression of how important the school mission is to the administration at NDP no matter where it plays out."

Mukhtar said he and Nada never doubted the decision to send their children to Notre Dame.

"Yes, the tuition is higher than many of the other schools in the area, but I believe parents need to see it as an investment in their children's future," he said. "It will help them get into more and better colleges and universities, of course, but that is only one benefit of a Notre Dame Prep education. More importantly, I believe that the education and personal development the kids receive at NDP positions them extremely well for life in general and will help them in nearly every aspect of their lives. That obviously is difficult to put a monetary value on."

Meanwhile, Mukhtar wanted to put out a plug for the Booster Club's signature annual event.  

"We are holding our annual golf outing this Monday at Pine Knob Golf Course (more info here)," he said. "The goal of this outing basically is to provide a community event for our Notre Dame family and to celebrate all they have done and continue to do for the school and its athletics program. We hope to see lots of people from the Notre Dame family at the outing.”

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