“We Believe” at Notre Dame

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Notre_Dame_HS_Photo_2BY Notre Dame staff

UTICA — Stop and listen in the corridors of Notre Dame Junior/Senior High School in Utica and one will hear the normal sounds of a functioning school. There is something imperceptible however. A sense of hearing alone can’t interpret this. Tuning into all the senses, it becomes more apparent: One becomes aware that at Notre Dame, “We Believe..

Academic excellence is the top priority at Notre Dame Jr./Sr. High School in Utica. Administration, teachers, staff and coaches are all on board to enable students to achieve their individual best. There are many ways to express Catholic beliefs in our students and instill in them a faith in themselves.

The administration at Notre Dame is  proud to announce that in the graduation class of 2008, there was a 100 percent graduation rate with 100 percent of the graduates going on to higher education. The school’s 2008 valedictorian was a Commended National Merit Scholarship winner.

Notre Dame’s language department in 2008 was successful in achieving a 99 percent passing rate in the New York State Regents and a 100 percent passing rate in the New York State Proficiency Exam at the eighth grade level. Four of our fall sports teams met the New York State criteria for scholar athletes.

Every teacher in the school provides 10th period instruction to students who are in need of help. Notre Dame also has a strong mentoring program which matches older students who have excelled academically to work in tandem with peers who have shown a need for instruction in addition to their class time. This program has become invaluable as peers interact and realize their potential.

Notre Dame has partnered with Oneida-Herkimer BOCES providing students with two dual enrollment programs. The first offers students hands-on programs to participate directly in their field of interest to identify interest in specific career paths.  The specific areas of content offer both one  and two year programs. The BOCES New Visions program which has been implemented at Notre Dame places students in internship positions. These students participate off campus in fields of study and careers in which they are interested, such as medicine and engineering.

Another choice for our students is the Regional Program of Excellence which offers students who function at a high academic level the opportunity to participate with professionals in the career of their choosing. This is a school year program with two internship placements as well as a summer program when the student is mentored by a professional and completes a third internship.

After school programs include Colgate Seminar. Students from Notre Dame meet with other area high schools to attend a seminar at Colgate University on three consecutive Wednesdays. The seminars are offered four times a year. The courses of study offer higher level education topics and the students are taught by college professionals.

Notre Dames offers advanced placement courses in English, American history and calculus with world history being introduced in the fall of 2009. The school offers  a dual credit program with Mohawk Valley Community College which offers college credits in government, statistics, Spanish and French. Notre Dame also offers an honors English course for juniors.

This year the AP U.S. history and MVCC government classes had a unique opportunity to see government in action. In the spring of 2008 it was decided to coordinate a trip to Washington, D.C. for the inauguration of the 44th president of the U.S. Throughout the fall while planning the trip, the students monitored the race from the nomination process to the final campaigning through the election. A mock presidential election was held at Notre Dame which included posters and speeches for each candidate. Then on Jan. 19,  2009, 44 students and their chaperones traveled by bus to the nation’s capital to experience first-hand the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president. Reports from the National Mall were that it was an electrifying atmosphere despite the 14 degree wind chill. Students were positioned near the Washington Monument where they witnessed first hand a dramatic turning point in our nation’s history. All said that it was a day never to be forgotten. While in Washington the students were also given the opportunity to see Congress in action. Rep. Michael Arcuri was able to procure gallery tickets for the group. While sitting in the congressional hall they witnessed the presentation of a petition that asked Congress to support Catholic Schools. The students also spent time touring the various national monuments and the Smithsonian. The 44 students and their chaperones returned on Thursday, Jan. 22 very tired but exhilarated by the trip. The experience was a wonderful opportunity for the students to see the reality of their studies and the processes of our government.

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