By Donna Radlowski
Sun contributing writer
UTICA — Notre Dame Jr. / Sr. High School prides itself on its commitment to a sense of family both in the school and in the larger community. Over the past year Notre Dame has focused attention on building a greater bond among its students. On opening day of the school year the older students and the staff make a point of welcoming the seventh Grade students with decorations, a special lunch and an assembly at the end of the day. Various groups such as the choir and the cheerleaders perform. Spirit Week is a time of great fun with special themes every day. Students dress up according to the theme of the day and the week culminates with a pep rally and the crowning of the homecoming queen and king. These two events in early fall are designed to foster a sense of school spirit and togetherness.
Special this year was a variety of events planned for Catholic Schools Week. Students from the leadership class believed that the best way to begin this special week was with liturgy on Monday. Tuesday was dedicated to honoring the administration and support staff. Wednesday was Faculty Day. The faculty was allowed to “dress down,” each received a sweet treat with an individual handwritten thank-you from the students. Thursday was the day to treat our students. The students were allowed to dress down and there was no homework, quizzes or tests for the day. Friday was to be Senior Day. but was postponed due a snow day. Plans for them included a special two period lunch for the seniors served by the junior class and a volleyball match between the seniors and the faculty and staff. Arrangements are being made to make up those events. Besides the immediate Notre Dame community a number of events involve the local community as well. Notre Dame students are active in yearly programs such as a massive Thanksgiving Food Drive that feeds 56 plus families each year as well as stocks of the local food pantry. For Christmas this year the students bought presents for an entire family, filling many of their immediate needs as well as providing toys for the children. Other projects include being involved the Heart Run and Walk, an Easter project and a yearly book drive. While sports, drama, music programs, NJROTC all develop a feeling of unity within the individual group, Notre Dame is taking that philosophy and fostering that same involvement in the entire school community.