Blue Ribbon

NDA Honors Patroness and Breaks Ground on 21st Century Renovations

On Friday, May 5 the Notre Dame Academy community gathered to celebrate the school's annual May Crowning ceremony followed by the Ground Breaking for its Excellence Without Boundaries - Empowering 21st Century Women program.

It was a special day to honor Notre Dame Academy's patroness, Mary, and to reflect on NDA's educational mission as a school dedicated to Mary. As is the NDA tradition, the honor of Crowning May goes to a senior. All seniors are invited to submit a reflection about Mary and how they have viewed her as a role model. This year the honor of crowning Mary went to Katie Schawe with the honor or carrying Mary’s crown in procession going to Lauren Reinersman. Liz Urban, Abby Kelly, Georgia Laird, Stephanie Meyer, Madison McCauley, Elizabeth Lonneman, Claire Lonneman, Sophie Middendorf , Sally Bishop and Ruthie Franzen made up the honor guard. You can read Katie Schawe's reflection below.

The event also marked the official beginning of Phase One of the Excellence Without Boundaries program.  Phase One will include the renovation of NDA's chapel and the construction of a 21st Century Collaborative Learning Center which will begin on May 30.  Phase Two of the program will include the construction of a Food Court and Student Commons and is scheduled to begin at the end of May in 2018.

For years, Notre Dame Academy has led the way in educational technology, integrating core competencies that enable students to thrive in the 21st century.  As the only all-female college preparatory school in Northern Kentucky, Notre Dame Academy has demonstrated a strong commitment to academic excellence and empowering students by giving them immediate access to cutting-edge technology.  At NDA, educators believe that fundamental skills such as collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking are required for success in today’s global community. 

"Friday morning's celebration was a momentous and historic occasion for Notre Dame Academy," says NDA President Dr. Laura Koehl.  "We believe that through our efforts in these areas, we will take our 20th century building, which has served us so well over the years, into the 21st century where it will continue to provide an optimum environment for our NDA community to learn and thrive."

Blessed Mother Reflection
by Katie Schawe

Pale blue, arms open wide, ultimate mother. These are all things that come to mind when I think of the Blessed Mother. From a young age, I was always encouraged to look up to Mary. Growing up, I knew who she was, and I prayed my Hail Marys, but that’s as far as my relationship with her went. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon a Lifeteen article that I realized just how awesome our Mother is. Every point the article made, it was made clear to me why a relationship with Mary was important. 

I spend a lot of time in my parish’s adoration chapel. I took some time to pray and reflect on my relationship with Mary. I began writing everything she meant to me. Our chapel has dimmed lights, so I got up to turn them brighter. When I got close to the little basket of books and such, I noticed a picture of Mary laying at the top. I stopped and really took in the picture I had come across. The picture depicts Mary weeping. I had a really rough week and felt like no one understood what I was going through, but in coming across this image, I realized that Mary felt the pain and suffering I had felt that week. 

In today’s society, it can be hard to live out our faith and fully devote our life to Christ because of fear that we will be judged for living out our faith. When those around Mary found out she was pregnant out of wedlock, she was judged harshly. She never once turned away from God. We can learn that in devoting our life to Christ we will face persecution, but we can look to Mary as a role model because of her strength and willingness to continue to do what God was asking her to do despite of how she was being treated by those around her. When God calls us to do things that we think are impossible, we can look to Mary as an example and call upon her to help us. When choosing a college, I had a very difficult decision to make. I could go to a public university and get the degree I wanted and not be in debt or I could go to a Catholic university, get my degree, and learn how to devote my life to ministry through my career. I felt so unworthy to devote my life to Christ in ministry. I spent countless hours in prayer asking for the Blessed Mother’s help in making the decision that was right for me. It was through praying the rosary that I got my answer. She taught me obedience and divine wisdom.  

Mary is also a model of strength because of her immense suffering. I’ve learned to turn to her when I am suffering. If no one else understands what I am going through or how tough of a situation I am in, I know that I can always turn to her. Life hasn’t always been easy for me, and being able to turn to her has been so uplifting. Knowing I can ask her for help facing struggles that will come my way is very reassuring. Mary became my confidant. She helped me to notice that the suffering I was feeling was only going to draw me closer to God. 

I also look to Mary as a source of hope and unfailing love. As my years in high school are ending and my future is beginning, I am finding myself with more and more anxiety. I know that she is a source of hope in the fear. I know that I can always count on her to offer love as well. She has taught me how to love. In being able to fully love and give ourselves to God, we can known her son more deeply because she guides us to her Son. If I feel alone, I know that I can pray a decade of the rosary and instantly be connected to Mary. She has taught me how to trust in God’s plan for my life. She has taught me how to love and how to be myself and still devote my life to Christ. If I am fighting with my parents or with a friend, I know that I can always turn to her and she will be a source of love and support. 

Our Blessed Mother Mary means so much to me. She is a friend, a light in my life, an example of humility, charity, and sweetness. She allowed God to be the force behind her every decision. Through praying with her, she leads me to follow His will. She is the perfect example of love. She teaches me how to be the person that God calls me to be. Without my mother, I wouldn’t be able to face my fears and struggles. I wouldn’t be who I am today without her.