Dear Alumni (ae), Parents, and Friends of Notre Dame Jr.-Sr. High School,
Today is the day after our annual Homecoming activities. Some of you may remember the “Spirit Week” activities of your time at Notre Dame. You may remember decorating the halls and the windows, preparing the Cawley Auditorium for the Homecoming Dance, possibly being presented with the crown of Homecoming Queen or King, playing in the soccer or field hockey games on that day, preparing booths, floats, cars, and faces for the fall festivities, or joining us in celebrating the liturgy at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Some of you may have continued your celebrations at the homes of your high school friends. I’m sure there were stories of the time that you ……; or other stories of what one of your teachers said or did. Your Notre Dame experience was relived in some form during that fall afternoon or evening. High school did have many unforgettable moments.
I find the reality hard to grasp but 49 years ago Notre Dame opened its doors. “Peters' Farm” had been transformed from pasture land to a land of Catholic educational opportunity for the East Stroudsburg area. The Class of 2016 was the 46th class to be awarded diplomas from our school on Spangenburg Avenue (and now Highland Drive). Our 38 acres are currently populated with two schools as Notre Dame Elementary has joined us at this campus and we now house 523 students in Grades Pre-K through 12. The Class of 2016 boasts a graduating class of 72! This class also boasts of having been granted scholarships in the amount of $12,022,000.00. The class had three valedictorians (all with 4.0 GPAs) who will be attending The University of Delaware, Fairfield University, and Dartmouth College and one other student attending the United States Naval Academy.
I recently received a communication from a Catholic college which announced that, “To thrive and lead in a world that is increasingly global and complex, students today must learn to think critically, communicate clearly, and act with integrity.” I believe that is quite a challenge for today’s Catholic schools. For 49 years, Notre Dame has been attempting to fulfill that goal. Our Mission Statement does not use those exact words but the idea is very similar. Tomorrow’s adults must be educated in these areas. As a Catholic school, Notre Dame has placed increasing amounts of effort in helping our students understand that they have the obligation to act with integrity in a world that doesn’t seem to live that lifestyle although most people admire those who do. This is today’s challenge and the Notre Dame Schools (Notre Dame Elementary, Monsignor McHugh Elementary, and Notre Dame Jr.-Sr. High School) are continuing to take that challenge seriously in order to fulfill our mission.