IVY LEAGUE MIDDLE SCHOOLER

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August 20, 2020

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

Notre Dame eighth grader Sehaj Gill earns "MicroBachelors®" degree and three certificates from New York University, Harvard, MIT and the University of Toronto, respectively, over the summer months. She says NDPMA brings "the best out of its students."

Notre Dame eighth grader Sehaj Gill earned a degree and three certificates (below) from New York University, Harvard, MIT and the University of Toronto, respectively, over the summer. 


When Notre Dame closed its campus in March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, then-seventh-grader Sehaj Gill was thoroughly disappointed and shocked. In the middle school, students and staff had just finished their annual International Day celebration, which this year was held March 12.

"On International Day, none of us knew that we wouldn't be returning to school for the rest of the year," Gill recently told Notre Dame Middle School principal Brandon Jezdimir. "Every day since then, I have missed coming to school in the morning."

But for Gill and the rest of the NDPMA student body, they transitioned well into virtual learning and finished the school year in June working from home.

But Gill wasn't satisfied with ably handling a most unusual finish to her school year and taking the summer off with hopes of a more normal school year in the fall. In fact, she was so inspired by her online experience at Notre Dame that she enrolled in the edX program, an internationally recognized massive open online course (MOOC) provider and non-profit founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012. Many other universities have since joined Harvard and MIT in the program.

"The virtual learning experience at NDMS earlier this spring was transformational for me," Gill said. "The instructions provided by teachers were equal to the in-class learning, and the personal follow-up by [Vice Principal] Mrs. [Kelly] Patterson and Mr. Jezdimir was very reassuring. So at the end of the school year, I researched other virtual programs, including edX, in areas that interested me. Once I found the courses I liked, I kept going."

And going and going and going. . . 

Besides completing the online degree in Computer Science Fundamentals from New York University, Gill received certifications in Citizen Politics in America from Harvard, Becoming an Entrepreneur from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Behavioral Economics in Action from the University of Toronto.

Gill said she believes she was the only middle schooler in these online university-level courses that typically are attended by professionals, job seekers, teachers, homeschoolers and high school students preparing for college.

"The coursework was intense and some of the concepts were advanced for me," said Gill, who first came to Notre Dame as a first grader. "I watched video lectures and had to do written assignments, quizzes, labs, peer discussions and proctored exams. It was all done virtually. Sometimes I had to do extra reading to grasp the more advanced concepts."

She said she invested about 30 to 40 hours a week on the courses and remarkably was able to finish them before any deadlines. Now, as she begins her last year in Notre Dame Middle School, Gill said she believes she's truly blessed to be part the school.

"The lower school provided me with a nurturing environment and a strong academic foundation," she said. "The middle school continues to foster the IB learner profile attributes while providing the right challenges to bring the best out of its students. And every day, the teachers and staff help us live the school mission. There is no place I would rather be."

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

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 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.