An Inspirational Common Reader Day at NDA

On Wednesday, October 9, the Notre Dame Academy community took time out of their regular schedule to celebrate NDA’s annual Common Reader Day. This school year, the assignment was I Choose to be Happy by Missy Jenkins Smith and William Croyle. The book is a memoir of Missy’s courageous journey after being shot at the age of 15 in one of the first school shootings in the U.S. 

The day began with small group discussions about the book which were followed by a special presentation by the author, Missy Jenkins Smith. Missy addressed the NDA community with her amazing story of survival. The students, faculty and staff at NDA were inspired by Missy’s deep faith and tremendous courage as well as Missy’s message of hope and forgiveness. 

The day continued with question and answer sessions with both Missy and her co-author, William Croyle. Following lunch, students attended breakout sessions and activities including a strengths study, making sisterhood bracelets, attending a prayer service and a session which focused on helping students find an outlet for stress.  

“It was an incredible day for everyone involved,” said NDA Principal, Jack VonHandorf. “We celebrated our school year theme of Cultivating Hope and Happiness Strengthened by God’s Love and we lived our mission by educating young women to make a difference in the world. It was a very meaningful and moving experience for our entire school community.”

The day ended with a giant prayer circle in the gym where students, faculty and staff recited the Sisterhood Happiness Pledge together. 

Sisterhood Happiness Pledge

I choose Happiness for you
As I choose it for myself.
I choose happiness for our relationship 
 Though our paths may vary.
I choose happiness in our brief encounters.
I choose happiness in our learning of life’s lessons.
I choose happiness in the friendships now experienced 
And even those that are yet to come.
And though I may not always be at your side,
I pledge to you to always try to live in a way
That will celebrate the goodness of what is given.