A View From My Office

Dear NDA Family,

Today is February 2, 2022. As I sit at the desk in my NDA office, I marvel at the coat of bright white snow that covers our fields. The snow and the frigid temperatures do not let us forget that it is February in New England, the halfway point of our academic year. As suspected, February has also brought a decline in COVID cases seen in our school community. Since the start of school, sixty four member of our school community (students and staff) tested positive for COVID. Almost 90% of these cases have occurred since our return from Christmas break. Thankfully this rate of infection has dropped significantly, and we are hopeful to have zero cases by the end of this week.  Based on our current rates and guidance from the CDC and DESE, we plan to adjust our Covid protocols once infection rates in Worcester County fall below 10% for three consecutive days. In the meantime, the health office continues to monitor our school-wide vaccination rate as well. Currently, 79% of our school community, including students and adults, is vaccinated.  Per DESE guidelines, when our vaccination rate reaches 80%, we will consider a mask optional policy at Notre Dame Academy. 

This week in February, Catholic schools around the country are celebrating Catholic Schools Week, sponsored since 1974 by the National Catholic Educational Association. The week celebrates Catholic education, and this year’s theme is "Catholic Schools: Faith. Excellence. Service.” The mission of Catholic education, which is essential to the mission of the Church, is noble and worthy of the highest recognition and praise. 

At Notre Dame Academy, this mission and these themes are central to our everyday practices. The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur was founded in France by Julie Billiart. In addition to it being Catholic Schools Week, today is very special to us. On this date in 1804, Julie Billiart, Françoise Blin de Bourdon, and Catherine Duchâtel committed themselves to God by a vow of chastity and the care and education of young girls.  This was the founding day of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Amiens, France, and was the beginning of a mighty global ministry of women educating young girls. This education was focused on teaching students “what they needed to know for life” while giving them a strong formation in the Christian faith and values. Today, NDA carries out that same mission. This afternoon, our NDA community will join in prayer to celebrate Catholic Schools Week and Foundress Day with the Feast of St. Julie Liturgy. 

As the premier independent Catholic college preparatory school for young women in Central Massachusetts, Notre Dame Academy offers our students exceptional academic and personal growth opportunities. I witness our active and cooperative learning models creating classroom experiences that wed academic and social interaction between students and teachers every day. The result is students who master the material, think critically, and articulate their knowledge with clarity. This excellence is showcased by our students not only in the classrooms, on the fields and courts, and stage. This week begins the Senior Presentations. Each Senior presents on stage a literary research paper paired with a thematic representation of their analysis in the form of a performance or visual art piece. And, next month, our actors will take their turn on stage with this year’s Spring Performance of “Once Upon A Mattress.” Tickets go on sale soon.

Service to others is central to our faith tradition and philosophy of an education that develops the whole person. With so many opportunities to serve our broader communities, our graduates enter the next phase of their lives, becoming more aware of what is happening in their lives and assuming responsibility for themselves and their communities. To date, members of the NDA Class of 2022 have been accepted to over 54 colleges and universities this year, including Villanova University, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, Wesleyan University, Hawaii Pacific University, and Pace University.  We look forward to celebrating all of them with many traditional senior events throughout the remainder of the year.

One person who has served Notre Dame Academy for over two decades is our Principal, Susan Butler. Yesterday, I shared with NDA current faculty, staff, students, and parents that Mrs. Butler has decided not to return to her role as Principal of Notre Dame Academy after the 21-22 academic year. In addition to being an alumna and a mother of a graduate, Susan has served Notre Dame as a teacher, St. Julie Division Director, and Principal. She has had a profound impact on both the academic and personal lives of our students and a positive impact on the achievements of the Academy as she guided our school and faculty during one of the most challenging times in history.  Though Susan and I first met at NDA in the mid-80s, it has been a true pleasure to have the opportunity to work alongside her over the last few years. She has a passion and love for Notre Dame that is palpable.  As part of our Strategic Plan, Susan strengthened the foundation of our academic program. She built a dynamic and supportive learning environment for NDA students and has been a constant champion for our community.

I am confident that Notre Dame Academy is poised to attract strong talent and that well-qualified educators will seek the opportunity to continue to lead Notre Dame Academy into the future. We will immediately embark on a search process for a new Principal who can continue this work overseeing all daily operations of the NDA academic program; health, guidance, and wellness services; and the congruence between our school’s mission and its instruction and activities. Please join me in thanking Susan for her twenty-two years of service at NDA as she carried out the mission and Hallmarks, impacting the growth and success of our students. On behalf of the Notre Dame Academy community, I wish Susan all the best as she moves past the NDA gates and explores new adventures - while always remaining an NDA Rebel! 

Speaking of Rebels, in the September issue of this newsletter, I mentioned that this year we would be embracing the “Rebel” in all of us and bringing her to life. For decades, the Rebel has been the Notre Dame Academy mascot. To us, an NDA Rebel is a leader, a challenger, an ideator, an innovator, a change agent, a hard worker, a risk-taker, and a collaborator. She is strong, respectful, colorful, open-minded, generous, comfortable with who she is, purposeful, inspirational, authentic, results-oriented, and fierce. Our new mascot Rose, named in honor of Marie-Rose Julie Billiart, later Saint Julie - our first Rebel - has finally arrived at 425 Salisbury Street. So today, 2/2/22, is Rose’s “birth” day!  We look forward to welcoming her to campus in a celebration with our student community on March 4th. I can’t wait for the entire NDA community to have an opportunity to meet Rose! 

In fact, everyone will have a chance at our upcoming 2022 Virtual Rebel with a Cause celebration. This event, honoring the recipients of the Knollwood Award and inductees to the Athletics Hall of Fame and the Society of the Arts, will be taking place virtually on Thursday, April 7, 2022. There will be a virtual pre-show at 6:30 PM, and the virtual live show will begin at 7:00 PM. This event is our major fundraiser for financial aid for the school and celebrates the educational experience that extends beyond rigorous academics and extracurriculars. The NDA experience is as much an education in STEM, the Arts, History, and Language as it is a time of great character formation. This indelible spirit is a defining feature of the NDA experience and will be celebrated throughout the event. At this year's celebration, Knollwood awardees Sarah Scrogin '92 and Margery "Tommy" Dearborn, former NDA trustee and founder of Preservation Worcester; Athletics Hall of Fame awardees, Carola Cummings '76, Eileen Cataldo Kneeland '80, and Annie Lahey '98; and the Society of the Arts awardees, Judith Tonelli-Brown '74 and Caitlin Sargent Lubelczyk '00, will be honored. Tickets will be available soon!


I hope your celebration of Catholic Schools Week will be filled with joy, learning, giving, and faith.


Dear NDA Family,

Today is January 6, 2022. As I sit at the desk in my NDA office, it’s hard to believe that 2022 is upon us. I hope that each member of the NDA community had time during the holiday break to relax, unwind, and spend time with close family and friends. New Year’s is typically a time to look to the future with hope. But, admittedly, it is hard to focus on anything but the coronavirus impact on our world, our local communities, and our Notre Dame Academy community. I think back to my communications in the “early COVID days” and reflect on the staggering numbers I shared every week. They were jaw-dropping and scary. And now, even higher, new records are being set. In the City of Worcester alone, there have been 3,513 new cases since last week. 

At NDA, we were expecting an after-holiday surge. With our ongoing effort to keep the health of our students and staff paramount, I remain very proud of the pivots we continue to take to adjust as necessary. Since the beginning of the school year, NDA has had 26 positive student cases and three positive faculty/staff cases, with numerous others who have been quarantined due to possible exposure. Of those 29 cases, 76% have occurred since the Christmas break began. To date, we have not correlated any positive case to transmission in school. Undoubtedly, this is due to the tremendous focus on constantly reviewing data and re-evaluating our policies and procedures accordingly. Mrs. Rosanna Burke, NDA School Nurse, has led that effort and should be applauded for her efforts in taking such incredible care of our students, their families, and our employees. We are grateful for her. 

As a school, Notre Dame Academy encourages our community to get fully vaccinated and boosted to help prevent infection, serious illness, and death. Though certainly not 100% effective at preventing infection as we have seen many breakthrough cases, especially with new variants, we do believe the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks. Today, 76% of our total student body and 91% of our faculty and staff are vaccinated, for a combined total of 78%. In the future, we hope that as those rates continue to rise and the exposures decrease, these vaccination rates will eventually allow us to relax our school-related protocols. In the meantime, we appreciate our student and parent cooperation in following the current protocols and keeping students home should they show even the slightest signs or symptoms of a cold. 

Research confirms that the COVID-19 pandemic is not only a physical threat but also a threat to mental health and psychological well-being. At NDA, we are keenly aware of the social-emotional toll COVID is taking on students. As such, we have gathered several local experts for our inaugural January InHER Circle Speaker Series. A Panel Discussion: Social-Emotional Wellness for Young Women Amidst the Pandemic that will focus on the impact of the pandemic on the social and emotional health of young women. Deirdre Bottamini will moderate the panel, and the panelists include Sr. Elaine Bain, Nichole Farrington, Anne Fine, Dr. Karyn Martin, Emily Mercier, and Wendy O’Leary. NDA Parents have received the participant bios and registration link, and I am hopeful that all will participate in the online event on January 12th at 6 pm. I am confident it will be an informative evening giving us all new tools to help our students navigate these challenging times.  

I hope that the current surge is short-lived and next month will bring higher immunity and vaccination rates, and we can look forward to better days in the future. In the meantime, we will all continue to reevaluate protocols as we look to February with hope. For now, let us continue to be kind and supportive of one another. As a community, we will continue to work together to find ways to better cope with our own feelings during the COVID-19 outbreak while remaining laser-focused on our students. There is no doubt that what we all want is the best for our Notre Dame Academy students and our broader community. 

With my hopes for a new year filled with kindness, joy, and treasured moment.


A Message from the Head of School: A View from My NDA Office Dear NDA Family,

Today is November 3, 2021. As I sit at the desk in my NDA office, I enjoy the crisp fall air coming through my open windows; my beloved puppies, Mia and Bianca, are relaxing at home, anxiously awaiting the return of their humans after work; a very special pumpkin, delivered by a secret “Pumpkin Pal” sits on my desk; and as I sip my cup of tea, I reflect on the mission of NDA and how I see it manifest in our community every day. I often start my days watching our new video, which perfectly captures the spirit of the NDA leaders of tomorrow!

My favorite way to start my day is by standing outside to greet our students. I enjoy the opportunity to wave to parents and other family and friends who are lovingly giving up their time to drop students off at NDA. Often a younger sibling gives me a cute wave from the backseat, or a family fur-baby pokes its head out the window, seemingly wishing me a good day.

Last week, my heart smiled when a family member rolled down the window to tell me how much he enjoys the information shared in this newsletter, especially when he conveyed he was an English major! And a special thanks to the Moms who told me they loved my shoes earlier this week! So many students who were so shy as we began school a few months ago now beat me to the “Good Morning” exchange. By far, my favorite moments are when I hear students say “I love you” to their parent before they exit the vehicle.

Last Friday, October 29th, the morning drop-off routine allowed me the chance to see so many of our students in costume for Halloween. It was an extra special day for our St. Julie Division (SJD) middle school students who enjoyed an afternoon of Halloween activities, including a costume parade to the Knollwood Mansion to show Sr. Ann Morrison and Ms. Kathy Philipp their wonderful costumes. The costumes were some of the best we have seen!

The St. Julie Division students also led our All Saints Day liturgy. In keeping with SJD tradition, to begin the Mass, each student carried their pumpkin, decorated to depict an important Saint, as Mr. Kallin Johnson played “When the Saints Come Marching In” on the piano. Thank you to Father Jonathan Slavinskas, NDA Chaplain, for celebrating this day with us. During November, we will continue to remember those who have gone before us, particularly the saints, holy men, and women who lived exemplary lives.

Two other traditions that continue this month include the Oxfam banquet and the Love-In-Action Commissioning Ceremony. With Sr. Evelyn McKenna’s support, the Oxfam Banquet will be held tonight at 5 pm. For those not familiar, when guests arrive at our Oxfam Banquet, they draw tickets at random that assign each to a high-, middle-, or low-income tier, based on the latest statistics about the number of people living in poverty. Each income level receives a corresponding meal. This long-standing event, organized by the NDA Oxfam Club, challenges how we all think about hunger and poverty. It is a remarkable evening, and I encourage all to attend.

This month we will also celebrate one of the most extraordinary and most impactful programs at Notre Dame Academy. NDA Love In Action is celebrating its 50th Anniversary! This program, which requires all Juniors and Seniors to perform 60 hours of community service each year, is one that every alum who has graduated since 1971 can remember. On November 12th, the NDA community will celebrate with a special Love In Action Commissioning Ceremony where we will bless those going forth in service this year and reflect on the last 50 years. Following the ceremony, every student, faculty, and staff member will participate in a school-wide service day. We will board buses to many sites in the community to show what love in action means to NDA. We will return to campus to enjoy a cookout hosted by the NDA Parent Association in the afternoon. I am very much looking forward to this special day to celebrate a program that impacted my life, and so many others, in a profound way.

Another unique tradition that was celebrated in the last month was Junior Ring Day. On October 22nd, the NDA community gathered to bless special class rings for the NDA Class of 2023. It was a beautiful day framed with sunflowers. As the Juniors embark on their upperclassmen years, we are reminded of the words of St. Julie, “Be like the sunflower that follows every moment of the sun, and keep your eyes always turned to the good God.”

We were very fortunate to have sunny days during a busy athletic month! There were several days when there were multiple games/meets happening simultaneously, and spectators could see many of our athletes on the field and court. The energy on those days was electric! During October, NDA athletes supported breast cancer research by wearing pink to numerous games and hosting a “Pink Out” in conjunction with our girlUp Club. By selling pink items and pink food donated by the Boost-her Club, NDA raised $1500 to go to breast cancer patient care services at UMASS Memorial.

The Fall season continues with post-season games. The schedule of upcoming games can be found on Arbiter Live. Maybe we have some Rebel alums who live near these games who will help to cheer our athletes on!

It’s hard to believe that the Winter Season is about to kick off! All Ice Hockey candidates have a meeting on November 8th at Hogan Ice Arena in Auburn at 6:30 pm. All interested winter sports athletes must register by November 17th on Family ID. There is a mandatory "Meet the Coach Night" for winter student-athletes and families participating in basketball and indoor track on November 18th. That presentation begins at 6 pm in NDA's auditorium. There will be a 30-minute presentation to review rules and expectations for all student-athletes, followed by break-out sessions for student-athletes and families to meet with their respective coaches. The first day of tryouts for the winter season is November 29th. And with the start of winter, our Ski Club will also begin! Mr. Cole Crusciel will be the School Coordinator for the Club this year. Notre Dame Academy's 6-week ski/snowboard club begins Tuesday, January 4th, and registration is handled directly through Wachusett Mountain. Current students and families can take advantage of the NDA Ski Club pricing.

The Model United Nations (MUN) Club had its first event of the year. The NDA MUN Delegates performed exceptionally well at the Saint John's Model United Nations on Saturday, October 23rd. One student passed a "MUN Resolution" representing the USSR. This was an excellent effort by all. The NDA MUN is now preparing for the event on December 11th at Saint John’s Prep in Danvers, where several Saint Julie Division students will be participating in the middle school division. The MUN is also looking forward to the opportunity to attend the University of Chicago Model United Nations in February of 2022.

On October 20th, many students and delegates from Notre Dame schools across the globe gathered together for a virtual Global Education Forum. Our NDA team enjoyed breakout sessions with our new friends in California and Nigeria. The discussion focused on care for creation, climate, ecological justice, and Laudato Si. Along with the MUN students, these students represent the concept of "globalization" that is part of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (SDNdeN) tradition.

On October 17th, we welcomed new families interested in learning more about the NDA and SNDdeN missions and traditions. The last family leaving the foyer had two daughters, only one of them was coming to look at NDA for 9th grade, but the younger sister, a 6th grader, said to us, “I’ve never seen a school where the students and teachers liked each other so much; it shows.” Her parents said she mentioned that about three times throughout the day, and both are now applying to NDA. This was a wonderful reminder of how the nurturing environment shines through for those who come through the gates to visit the campus. Anyone interested in learning more about NDA should visit our website. Our high school entrance exam is coming up this weekend on November 6th!

Another event that I encourage you all to attend is the upcoming 10 Under 10 Awards Night. This year, we will be honoring alums who graduated between 2010 and 2019 and are emerging leaders in their fields, making significant contributions to their communities by living out their calling. Our awardees serve as outstanding young role models for our current and future students by showcasing the attributes of an NDA graduate. The event will take place virtually on Sunday, November 14th. Event registration is available here.

We are excited to have on campus in November include the Annual Fall Concert this Thursday at 7 pm in the Cuvilly Auditorium. This will be the Music Department’s first public concert in 20 months. All are welcome to come to hear our talented singers and musicians free of charge! The NDA Theatre Department is also pleased to present our Fall Production, The Night Witches, on Friday, November 19th, and Saturday, November 20th. Both performances are at 7 pm also in the Cuvilly Auditorium. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children and can be purchased here.

Many other exciting learning lessons happen in our school community every day. Here is a sampling of a few recent examples:

● The Sophomore AP World students completed the "Autopsy of an Empire" group project. They investigated what led to the downfall of six different Early Modern empires and created coroner reports and obituaries for them. Lifesize posters are hanging up on the walls of our third floor!

●  Engineering students did an Egg Drop project where they had to drop an egg three stories without breaking. Then they did a Reverse Engineer where the students had to take apart a small appliance and create a manual on how to put it back together.

● In one of the 7th grade Math classes, they had a “Song Battle”! Students were tasked with coming up with a song that would help them remember the rules for multiplying and dividing integers. Students could use an existing melody or make one up. All songs were then performed and critiqued. How fun!

● The 7th grade World Geography class wanted to reach out and establish writing relationships with "pen pals from around the world to learn our geographical differences better worldwide. With the assistance of our SND community, they are now writing and exchanging pictures, ideas, and letters with Notre Dame students and schools from around the world. They will also be writing to Sister Amarachi Ezeonu who will educate them regarding the work of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in respect to the non-governmental organization (NGO) of Notre Dame in the United Nations.

● Grade seven students studied the formation of rocks and crystals. They used a hammer to break open geodes and analyze the crystal formations inside and Grade 8 students went into the lab and used digital and triple beam balances and other lab equipment to determine the density of cubes of varying materials.

● Some eleventh graders have been doing some stellar character analyses of The Great Gatsby. They have gone beyond just thinking about how Gatsby, Daisy, Nick, or any of the supporting characters are growing and changing throughout the story and analyzing the characters.

● Tenth graders are reading Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart. They are learning about "anchor" statements and will be writing essays about these prophetic statements this week.

● Grade 11 Scripture Studies students completed and shared a Faith Interview project in which they interviewed a person 18+ in their lives who they consider to be a "person of faith.” Through a series of questions and ensuing conversations, students gained an appreciation for this person's faith journey, reflected on the similarities and differences with their own, and perhaps grew to know this person in their lives on a deeper level than they previously had.

● Grade 9 Latin Studies students completed and shared a "Latin in Everyday Life" project in which they discovered and researched an example of where Latin can be found all around us - in the stories of Roman gods and goddesses, woven into the character and spell names in Harry Potter, and popular brand names like Athleta (athlete), Volvo (I roll), Panera (breadbasket), and ASICS (Anima Sana In Corpore Sano - A healthy mind in a healthy body). Students enjoyed sharing slideshows of these examples and learning more about how Latin is all around us!

Students and families, please remember that there are no classes this Friday as it is a Professional Development Day for our faculty and staff. There is also no school next Thursday, November 11th, in observation of Veteran’s Day. More details regarding the upcoming Food Drive, which begins on November 15th, will be shared soon.

I hope you found this month’s issue of “A View” helpful. As one of the NDA communication vehicles to ensure our community receives essential and timely communication, we will continue to share who we are as an NDA community by highlighting school activities over the last month and ensuring awareness of upcoming events. Archived issues of this newsletter are available here.

As Thanksgiving draws near, may we remember the words of Maya Angelou, “Be present in all things, and thankful for all things.”

With my warmest appreciation for our NDA community,

Lisa Mancini ‘88 P‘18
Head of School
Notre Dame Academy

A Message from the Head of School: A View from My NDA Office

Dear NDA Family,

Today is October 7, 2021. As I sit at the desk in my NDA office, I look out my open windows and see a few leaves starting to turn and I can feel the fall crisp air; Mia and Bianca are at home, looking forward to the long weekend with their humans; the sunflowers have been replaced by gourds; and as I sip my cup of tea, I feel blessed to be part of a community that is thriving.

The first month of the 21-22 academic school year is in the rearview mirror. Students and faculty are settling into new routines. New friendships have been made in the classrooms and on the court and fields. The school has a constant and very positive buzz from 7:00 am when the first students arrive until the last ones leave after evening sports activities. In the last month, I have continued to enjoy many special moments talking to students and parents/guardians. It warms my heart to receive emails from parents with sentiments such as, “We are so happy with our choice to be a part of your community. It’s heartwarming to know that a small school, such as Notre Dame, is able to accomplish as much as you do! I was blown away after attending the Back to School Night…there is so much to offer!!!,” “I just wanted to reach out and say thank you. Thank you for making a place that understands girls and fosters their whole person… your presentation just emulated your love for Notre Dame. I am so happy for our daughter to be a part of the 7th-grade class, she has come home every day with a huge smile on her face and has not stopped talking about each and every class and teacher...I know it is the perfect place for her,” and “we are so excited for our daughter’s future at NDA!! I can’t even explain the words I have for the NDA environment!! (loving, caring, compassionate, dedicated, the words are MANY.) Something I never experienced but so blessed by GOD that our daughter will have such an amazing experience at NDA!!!”

This issue of “A View,” one of the NDA communication vehicles to ensure our community receives important and timely communication, will continue to share who we are as an NDA community by highlighting school activities over the last month as well as ensure awareness of upcoming events.

We are golfers: Well, some of us are. But even for those of us that are not, we enjoyed the NDA 4th Annual Swing Into Action Golf Tournament. Held on September 20th at Heritage Country Club, over 100 golfers enjoyed the perfect weather, the camaraderie, and the sport of golf to benefit the NDA Athletics Department. The event raised over $40,000 and we are very thankful for our generous sponsors, volunteers, participants, those who donated auction prizes, and the few student-athletes who joined us on the course for the day! Soon, we will share the date for the Fall 2022 event so you can mark your calendar and can be sure to join the fun next year.

We value our community: NDA hosted a Back to School Night at the Woo Sox is September 22, 2021. Though it was a very rainy night resulting in a long game delay and some wet NDA community members, it was still wonderful to see students, parents, faculty, and staff together at an event outside of our gates and supporting the Worcester community. We hope to host other events at the local sports venues throughout the year. We also participated as a sponsor for KidsFEST at Wachusett Mountain on September 25th and 26th. It was great to meet so many families and tell them all about the great things going on at NDA! All who visited the NDA booth received a fun mini-rocket kit organized by our STEM team.

We are adventurous: We had lots of excitement at our Rebel Adventure Spring 2023 Information Night on September 23rd. The meeting focused on the details for our STEM-focused international trip to Iceland during the April school vacation week in 2023. As I mentioned at our informational session, at NDA, we believe that educational travel exposes students to new people, places, and cultures which in turn expands their knowledge of the world and their knowledge of themselves. There are 42 spots available for students and we currently have 30 students registered. Please note that NDA student-athletes that are concerned about missing sports activities while on this trip will be excused from practices and games in order to participate in this opportunity of a lifetime! Registration is still open and parents can reach out to me directly for the enrollment link. After October 8th, the price does increase by $200. EF Tours offers flexible weekly payment options as well as needs and merit-based scholarship opportunities for those that are enrolled. In addition, each student traveler has access to a customizable tour donation page to send to family and friends. The countdown is on - 556 days until NDA tours Iceland!

We are learners: Parents included! The 2021 Curriculum Night allowed parents to step into their daughter’s shoes and travel through their actual Day 1 and Day 2 schedules! In condensed blocks, faculty introduced themselves and shared an overview of the class. Parents also had a chance to learn more about this year’s co-curricular clubs and talk with the NDA administration. To end the evening, NDA Principal, Mrs. Susan Butler, unveiled the details of our certificate programs described below. Our certificate programs are a commitment by our students to take a “deeper dive” into a chosen discipline during their junior and senior year, culminating in a capstone presentation and portfolio.

●     Global Perspective Studies - The Notre Dame Academy Global Perspective Studies (GPS) Certificate is designed to help NDA students prepare for their role in the global community. In the spirit of Notre Dame Academy, St. Julie Billiart, and the Sisters of Notre Dame, this certificate program challenges our students to become both linguistically and culturally fluent through a challenging high school curriculum, cultural connections, and real-world experiences to prepare them to enter college and become aware of the challenges of our constantly evolving world.

●     Salisbury Certificate of the Arts - The mission of this certificate is to recognize students who have dedicated themselves to a challenging high school arts curriculum and real-world experiences that will prepare them for entrance into prestigious Arts colleges and universities. It is also intended to heighten student art experiences in order to prepare for careers and to build more skilled consumers of Visual and Performing Arts.

●     STEM Excellence - The Notre Dame Academy STEM Excellence Certificate acknowledges students for their achievements and involvement in STEM-related activities. This certificate recognizes students who have dedicated themselves to a challenging high school curriculum and real-world experiences that will prepare them to enter college and lay the groundwork for careers in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics in a changing society. The opportunity to work with experts in the field and current technology both within the school and the community will be an essential part of the program and prove invaluable as students complete their capstone projects.

We are supportive: On October 3rd, NDA participated in the Worcester County Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Our team raised over $3,500 in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, and we were proud to have a team of 16 walkers and volunteers on walk day. Thank you to our faculty, student, and parent volunteers and Service Club members for representing NDA and supporting the Alzheimer’s Association. Next week, the entire school community will come together to support Breast Cancer Awareness. Our soccer team will don their pink to play a game at 4:00 pm on Tuesday, October 12th. Then on Friday, October 15th, the girlUp Club will be hosting an all-school assembly during the Activity Block. That event will be followed by a special “Pink Out” event as we cheer on our Volleyball and Field Hockey teams. We would love to see lots of participation from NDA students and families. Each NDA student who attends games will be given a raffle ticket to be entered into a drawing for a $25 Amazon card. The Parent Boost-Her Club, girlUp, and the Business Club will also have tables with raffles and items for sale. Put on your pink and come support our Athletic teams while raising money for organizations that support breast cancer prevention and awareness.

We are sisters: October 1st brought one of the most beloved traditions at Notre Dame Academy - Little Sister Day. After a few weeks of receiving secret notes and gifts, all freshman and new 10th and 11th grader students were able to be introduced to their Big Sister. This year the red carpet was rolled out for the ‘Hollywood’ theme and our Little Sisters came dressed in so many clever costumes. The day ended with an Oscar celebration then the Littles and Bigs joined in the Athletic Center for merriment. I am sure many alums remember what they dressed up for their Little Sister (formerly Freshman) Day. I can still remember my felt “SweeTARTS” costume! And I have been fortunate enough to be reunited with my Little Sister, whose daughter is now an NDA student!

We are service-oriented: Another beloved NDA program, Love In Action, celebrates 50 years in 2021. Planning continues for our Love In Action Commissioning ceremony on November 12th, which will be followed by a school-wide Service Day. Every student, faculty, and staff member will be traveling to a service site to help with various projects and much-needed help. Next month, students will be informed of their assigned service site. Once we return to campus, we will continue our celebration with a school-wide cook-out.

We are focused on wellness: On September 29th, Mrs. Rosanna Burke, School Nurse, coordinated a flu clinic for NDA faculty, students, and families. Fifty flu shots were given in partnership with CVS in West Boylston. We appreciate Kelly and Julie coming to NDA to administer these shots. Another wonderful wellness opportunity for our St. Julie Division (7th and 8th grade) students is the 10-week Fight Like a Girl (FLAG) boxing and leadership development program. This program is specifically designed to help girls become their strongest, most confident selves. FLAG is run by, Box United, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization focused on using the sport of boxing to help girls become leaders in life. During the program at NDA, 25 students will learn boxing techniques and practice punches and self-defense while also being taught a lesson aligning with NDA's wellness curriculum. Our introductory lesson yesterday focused on self-awareness and building confidence, while other lessons include empowered decision-making, identifying positive influences, managing stress, conflict resolution, and influences in the media. The sessions will be taught by trained female instructors from the College of the Holy Cross and all of the equipment, including gloves, mitts, and bags is provided.

As we continue to focus on wellness, NDA has implemented a Test and Stay program for COVID this year. This is one of the new protocols set forth by DESE for schools in an effort to keep students in the school after they have been identified as a close contact. The program works by testing a student classified as a close contact with a Binaxnow Test. If the student is negative, they are able to stay in school. Because NDA does not have access to unlimited test kits, NDA families are offered this option with a slight modification. If they accept, the family will purchase the test kits (found at local pharmacies) and test at home for 7 consecutive days. Each morning they forward test results to the Nurse’s office. If this student is negative, she will be allowed to come to school. If the test is positive, she then goes into isolation for 10 days and shifts to remote learning. If the family does not choose this option, then the standard 7-day quarantine protocol is used.

We thrive: I am pleased to share that NDA student, Brooke Anacleto, was recently selected as a winner of the Girls Who Thrive video contest. Her video was shown at the Investing In Girls Alliance (IIGA) Girls Who Thrive conference yesterday. Brooke will be awarded a $100 visa gift card and a copy of Michelle Obama's Becoming Me book. Brooke’s video is available for viewing here. Please join me in congratulating Brooke!

We are blessed with supportive parents: On October 5th, the NDA Parent Association held its first meeting of the year. Association President, Tara Leahy, shared opportunities for parent involvement and members of the leadership team provided updates on a number of initiatives. We hope to see even more parents attend the next meeting on November 2nd at 6:00 pm.

Upcoming events: As a reminder, there is no school next Monday, October 11th. October 13th is NDA Testing Day and regular classes are not held. Parents - please be sure to review the email from Ms. Roach as dismissals times vary for each grade and supervision is not available in the afternoon as usual. Seniors do not have school on this day and are encouraged to use the day for college visits and application readiness. The St. Julie Division will celebrate Halloween on Friday, October 29th. They are asked to dress in costume and will enjoy an afternoon costume parade, trick-or-treating at the Knollwood Mansion, and other activities. Lastly, if you know any 6th to 11th-grade girl mom’s please ensure they are aware of our upcoming Fall Open House on Sunday, October 17th from 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm. The registration link is available here. We don’t want them to miss a chance to learn about everything that Notre Dame Academy has to offer!

I hope this information is helpful and you enjoy all that autumn has to offer. In the fading of the summer sun and the shortening of the summer days, may you enjoy the changing of the seasons. I pray this season brings us joy, new hope, laughter, health, and peace.

Warmest Regards,


Lisa Mancini ‘88 P‘18 Head of School

Notre Dame Academy

A Message from the Head of School: A View from My NDA Office

Dear NDA Family,

Today is September 14, 2021. As I sit at the desk in my NDA office, I look out my windows finally can see the faces and hear the giggles of our students while on their mask breaks again; Mia and Bianca are home, wishing summer was not ending; I enjoy the sunflowers on my desk which always remind me of St. Julie; and as I sip my cup of tea, I am filled with excitement for the 2021-202 academic year.

NDA has enjoyed almost a full week of classes and a wonderful start to our year! I have enjoyed meeting new students and parents/guardians as we begin the new school year. As promised, this issue of “A View,” one of the NDA communication vehicles to ensure our community receives important and timely communication, will focus on a review of the topics covered at the very well attended “Parent Back to School Night,” held on Thursday, September 9th.

We are dedicated: I proudly introduced members of the NDA Executive Leadership Team, Susan Butler, Principal; Ewa Mamro, Business Manager; Caitlyn Germain, Athletic Director; Caitlin Lubelczyk, Director of Enrollment and Marketing; and Colleen Sullivan, Director of Advancement and Alum Relations. I also shared the NDA full organizational chart with a reminder that a full listing of faculty and staff can be found in our online directory.

We are growing: With excitement, I shared that the NDA enrollment continues to grow as families learn about the tremendous value of an NDA education, especially given our success during the pandemic and so many exciting new programs and initiatives. For 21-22, we currently have 32 7th-graders, 42 8th-graders, 53 freshmen, 39 sophomores, 43 Juniors, and 32 Seniors. This is a 43% increase over our 2019-2020 enrollment. The 22-23 Enrollment is kicking off soon. Please be sure to let your friends and family know that our Fall Open House is scheduled for October 17th at 1:00 pm and interested families should register online. I encourage interested families to apply early as we did have a waiting list for some grades this year.

We are active: The NDA Activity Block (2:00 pm - 2:45 pm) is part of the school day. Each student now has access to the Activity Block calendar to view all Clubs, Advisors, and locations. Students in grades 7-10 are required to be on campus. If not participating in a co-curricular activity (clubs, tutoring, etc.), Study Halls have been assigned and students will need to sign out at the end of the day. Junior and Seniors are required to attend Mandatory Activity Blocks (assemblies, liturgies, special events, etc.) and it is highly encouraged that they participate in co-curricular activities on other days. The Activity Block allows upperclassmen in our dual enrollment with Assumption University to attend classes after 2:00 pm and also gives student-athletes and others with extracurricular activities immediately following school the opportunity to be active in Clubs. And, there certainly are many to choose from! The 21-22 Club list includes the list below. Students will have an opportunity to learn more about all Clubs at the Co-Curricular Showcase on September 21st.

Art Club

Herron Project

Percussion Ensemble

Book Club


Public Speaking Club

Business Club



Science Club


Math Club

Service Club

Diversity Club

Mock Trial

Ski Club

Dance Ensemble

Model UN

Slam Poetry

French Club


Spanish Club


Oxfam (fall only)

Sports Management

Glee Club


Student Council


Peer Support 9-12

Writing Club



Peer Support 7-8



Writing Tutoring





We are hungry: The Rebel Cafe now consists of a new micro-market in our Student Center. There are many choices for snacks, sandwiches, meals, and beverages. (The bag of pickles is already an NDA favorite!) Each student has received an Avanti Market Card. Value can be added to the card at the kiosk or by visiting the Avanti Market App with a credit or debit card. Cash can also be used to purchase items directly at the kiosk by selecting the item, scanning the barcode on the item at the kiosk, and then scanning the barcode on the Market Card. The kiosk also allows you to scan a fingerprint to link to an account if you so chose. Please note that security cameras have been installed to monitor the Kiosk and the merchandise. All items taken must be paid for at the kiosk. Anyone found not doing so will receive disciplinary action.

We are learners: Mrs. Butler provided a brief overview of our new Notre Dame Academy Certificate Programs. Our longstanding Global Perspective Studies (GPS) certificate is being enhanced, and this year we are adding a STEM Certificate as well as the Salisbury Arts Certificate. These certificate programs will allow students to take a deep dive into an area of interest and to graduate from NDA with valuable information about future educational and career paths. Students will commit to a program by October of junior year and will complete two years of specified courses, community activities, projects, and a capstone. We are proud to have been assisted by WPI in creating our STEM Certificate and by Holy Cross in assisting with exploring collaborative opportunities for our Arts Certificate Students. We look forward to sharing more information on these programs on Curriculum Night, scheduled for September 28th. More details on that night and Parent-Teacher conferences (scheduled for November 30th) will be forthcoming.

We are Rebels: For decades, the Rebel has been the Notre Dame Academy mascot. To us, an NDA Rebel is a leader, a challenger, an ideator, an innovator, a change agent, a hard worker, a risk-taker, and a collaborator. She is strong, respectful, colorful, open-minded, generous, comfortable with who she is, purposeful, inspirational, authentic, results-oriented, and fierce. Last year, we re-branded NDA Athletics with new logos and marks that can be used on uniforms, athletic gear, and other athletic items. The primary athletic logo is a green shield with gold “NDA” within, and images representing our beloved entry gates on the top. This year, as we continue to build and strengthen our brand identity, we are not only embracing the “Rebel” in all of us, but we are bringing her to life. Rose, named in honor of Marie-Rose Julie Billiart, later Saint Julie, the foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur - our first Rebel, will be making her first appearance at NDA late Fall. Keep your eye out for both Rose the Rebel on campus and our 21-22 marketing campaign, Rebel Rising, in print and online mediums.

We have spirit: To express our NDA Rebel Spirit, we wear green and gold! NDA has shifted from a physical store to a virtual Spirit Shop. And, though you may not have time to order NDA merchandise this week, students are encouraged to go crazy with green and gold attire for our first Pep Rally of the year on Thursday, September 16th during our Mandatory Athletic Block. Our student-athletes will show their pride in their Athletic uniforms. GO REBELS!

We are adventurous: One of the highlights of our Parent Back to School Meeting was the announcement of Rebel Adventure 2023! During April school vacation week in 2023, NDA Rebels have an opportunity to partake in a STEM-focused international trip to Iceland. The trip has limited space but undoubtedly will be an adventure of a lifetime! Interested families can register here to hear more details at Rebel Adventure Spring 2023 Information Night on September 23rd. Though not confirmed, we are also planning Rebel Adventure Spring 2024, a 10-day Athens and the Islands trip (including a 4-day cruise), and Rebel Adventure Spring 2025, a 10 day trip to Dublin, London, and Paris.

We are continuing to explore other travel opportunities, including service trips, trips within the United States, and Alum Trips (Class of 1988 - who’s coming with me?!) I will certainly provide more information as details are available.

We are spiritual: Notre Dame will also be offering two small group weekend retreats, one in the Fall and one in the Spring. We are currently confirming details for the Fall 2021 Rebel Retreat but it is being planned to begin after school Friday, October 29 through late afternoon Sunday, October 31. Retreats are limited to a maximum of 20 students and will be open to all students, with priority given to upperclassmen. The Fall Retreat is being held at Berea Monadnock, Jaffrey, NH. The cost of the retreat will be $250 including bus to/from, dorm-style housing for 2 nights, 5 meals (dinner on Friday; breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Saturday; breakfast on Sunday. Registration is now open but will close on September 17. Payment to be made immediately after confirmation and due by September 24th.

We are service-oriented: The Notre Dame Academy Religion Department has had a long-standing service-focused program, Love In Action. For this program, Juniors and Seniors must provide community service, document their experience, and complete a capstone project, in order to receive an NDA diploma. For many students, including me, this program not only highlights the importance of giving back to the community and those often less fortunate but sparks a fire that leads to a passion for a career in the field in which the student volunteers. Almost every NDA alum you meet can tell you an impactful story about her Love In Action.

This year we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Love In Action program! As part of our 50th Anniversary celebration, after the 2021 Love In Action Commissioning ceremony on November 12th, NDA will be hosting a school-wide Service Day. Every student, faculty, and staff member will be traveling to a service site to help with various projects and much-needed help. Once we return to campus, we will continue our celebration with a school-wide cook-out.

Also, for those not aware, Sr. Evelyn McKenna, collects cans and bottles and sends the proceeds to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur community in the Congo. Students should place their (empty) bottles and cans in the bins provided on campus and parents, alums, friends are welcome to bring household bags of recyclable cans and bottles to the NDA campus where we will ensure that they are given to Sr. Evelyn.

We are part of the community: NDA Back to School Night at the Woo Sox is September 22, 2021! Those that purchased tickets can pick them up the night of the game at will call at Polar Park.

Our parents are important: At the Back to School Night, NDA Parent Association, Tara Leahy, encouraged parents to get involved. This year the Association, led by Tara as well as Vice President, Kim Davenport; Treasurer, Gina Dugan; and Secretary, Katelyn Wojnarowicz, has developed four Committees.


Admissions Ambassadors

Volunteers work with the Enrollment Office to assist with the recruitment process.

Hospitality Committee

Volunteers help with set-up/clean-up, decorating, and host student, alum, and community events at NDA (Sub-Committees for grade-level events)

Boost-Her Club

Volunteers help with fundraising and events specific to Athletics

Fundraising Committee

Volunteers organize and run events in conjunction with the Development Office


All Parents interested in participating in the Parent Association and helping to enhance the NDA community can register here. The Parent Association Meeting schedule is below. All meetings will begin at 6:00 pm and will be held in-person at NDA. Any changes of location, time, or in-person will be shared in advance.

❏     October 5, 2021

❏     November 2, 2021

❏     December 16, 2021 (Parent Holiday Cocktail Party)

❏     January 4, 2021

❏     February 1, 2021

❏     March 1, 202

❏     April 5, 2021

❏     May 3, 2021


Parents and all other NDA golfer friends are welcome to join our 4th Annual Swing into Action Golf Classic. This years’ event is at Heritage Country Club in Charlton, MA on Monday, September 20th. The Shotgun Start begins at 10:00 am and we expect dinner to begin at 4:30 pm. The event pricing is $150 per golfer (includes dinner), $600 per foursome (includes dinner). But even if you are not a golfer, we would love to have you join us for Heritage’s famous steak dinner. Tickets for dinner only are $50 each. We hope you can join us as we raise money for our Athletic Department and maybe even win great prizes in our auction!

Together we are staying safe: Ms. Meaghan Roach, Director of Student Services, and Mrs. Rosanna Burke, School Nurse, reviewed the current NDA protocols. These protocols have been designed with the intent of protecting all members of the NDA community while allowing our faculty, students, and staff to collaborate and participate in learning and community activities as normally as possible. We have reviewed current CDC guidelines, DESE recommendations, and our own NDA vaccination rates (as provided by our vaccination survey) and have established the following protocols:

❏     Masks will be worn by all students and adults while inside NDA buildings.

❏     Outdoor masks breaks will be incorporated into the daily schedule.

❏     In order to foster collaborative learning, strict distancing protocols will be relaxed.

❏     A designated area will be provided for those students who wish to ensure they are able to space 6 feet apart while unmasked and eating. Outdoor spaces will also be available while the weather allows.

❏     If you have been vaccinated, this should be indicated on your current physical, which must be submitted to NDA via FamilyID. A copy of your vaccination card is also acceptable (emailed to

❏     Students are expected to attend classes in person. Remote learning access will be provided only to students who will be out seven days or more due to NDA mandated quarantine.

❏     Parents should continue to monitor their students’ health daily. If it is necessary for a student to miss school, the absentee form must be submitted. Possible COVID symptoms should be noted on this form.

❏     Contact tracing will be measured through interviews conducted by the school nurse. Quarantine recommendations will be determined on a case-by-case basis and are dependent on vaccination status.

The above protocols will be reviewed regularly in consideration of changing guidelines and infection rates and adjusted when necessary. We are confident that all members of our school community will respect these protocols in order to provide our students with a supportive learning environment.

Lastly, in addition to providing answers to many parents’ frequently asked questions, I also reviewed the new parking and traffic flow for this year. At morning drop-off, students should only be dropped off at the corner before taking a right into the Main Parking Lot or right in front of the Main Academic Building door (3-4 cars.) At afternoon pick-up, cars may not be parked anywhere on the driveway so please follow the traffic through the driveway to the Main Entrance and pull all the way forward to the front door to help eliminate traffic delays. Students and visitors can park in any row of the Main Parking Lot. Students must register their vehicles with the Main Office as noted in the Family and Student Handbook. Please do not pick up students on Salisbury Lane and do remember that Salisbury Lane is a two-way street. When exiting, please remain on the right side of the road (even when turning left) so that residents can enter.

Most importantly, new this year, we are asking that all traffic exiting from the primary lane (adjacent to the Main Building), travel through the third lane of the parking lot (parallel to the outer edge of the lot and adjacent to Salisbury Lane) in order to reduce congestion.

 I look forward to continuing to provide updates on a monthly basis via this newsletter. Remember that you can also stay connected in numerous other ways. Daily announcements are published each day on the NDA website and you can subscribe to a daily notification to get them directly to your inbox late morning. And lots of information is always posted on our social media. You can find us on Facebook, @NotreDameAcademyWorcester and @ndaworcathletics, on Instagram @ndaworcester and @ndaworcesterstudents, on Twitter @ndaworcester and @ndaworcathletic and on Snapchat @ndaworcester.

Last year we welcomed back students with bubbles at the front door reminding them to “mind their bubble.” This year, we again stood amidst the bubbles instead representing, “Rebels Rising.” With the support of our faculty and staff, “teaching them what they need to know for life,” and our many transformational experiences, I am confident that this year each of our students will rise to her calling to be an NDA Rebel. In this academic year, I commit to you, that our Rebels will continue to be inspired to achieve their personal best in order to become forward thinkers and future leaders whose unique gifts will impact the world.

If you know any of those Rebels, nominations are still open for our 10 Under 10 Award. This year, we will be honoring alums who graduated between 2011 and 2020 and are emerging leaders in their fields, making significant contributions to their communities by living out their calling. Our awardees serve as outstanding young role models for our current and future students by showcasing the attributes of an NDA graduate. The event will take place virtually on Sunday, November 14th. The criteria for the award and the nomination form are available here.

Please join me in asking our Good God to ensure His protective wings cover our school and all of us in it as we embark on the 21-22 school year.

With excitement,

Lisa Mancini ‘88 P‘18
Head of School
Notre Dame Academy