A Message from the Head of School: A View from My Home Office
Dear NDA Family,
Today is January 13th. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported 22,522,749 total cases and 375,124 total deaths resulting from COVID-19 in the US, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported 89,707,115 total cases and 1,940,352 total deaths around the world. According to the researchers at Our World in Data, more than 28.4 million doses worldwide have now been administered. The US alone has administered
8.99 million. The Mass.gov weekly report indicates that as of January 7th, there have been 141,108 total cumulative vaccine doses administered, most focused on healthcare workers and most recently fire responders. Even as those numbers move in a positive direction, we must remember that herd immunity will unlikely happen in 2021, and masking and social distancing will likely be required throughout this year.
As I sit at the desk in my home office, I am grateful for some sunshine even on cold days; I take a break to play a little tug of war with Mia and Bianca; I enjoy three new amaryllis bulbs getting ready to bloom (even without water as the bulbs are waxed!), and as I sip my cup of tea, I reflect on the first 13 days of 2021 which have brought me hopefulness that the new vaccines will begin to reduce COVID spread, fear and anxiety after watching the terrifying riots at the U.S Capitol, and sparkles from the beautiful engagement ring given to me on New Year’s Day.
One of the muscles that 2020 stretched for us is the ability to feel many emotions all at once. There are constant fears of getting sick, missing true connections with loved ones, and yearning for substantial social interactions. Yet there are still wonderful things happening, babies being born, and milestones to be celebrated. This emotional bipolarity, which is sometimes exhausting, also is what allows us to endure the tough days and allows us to look forward to the better days post pandemic.
Even during our extended virtual period, our days at NDA continue to be filled with exciting learning lessons and activities. Just a few examples are noted below:
- In my Business Class, over the holiday break, each student read a book about leadership, many about women and leadership. They each had to do a written paper and this week they are also sharing an oral presentation and slides with their classmates. It has been wonderful hearing them share what they enjoyed and what has resonated with them with each of the books they have read, including Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur by Cara Alwill Leyba, Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis, and Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg.
- After studying poems by Emily Dickinson, and in particular her poem, “I am Nobody, Who are You?” Mrs. Tsantinis asked students to reflect on the idea of a public vs. a private life by examining Dickinson's desire for anonymity as compared to Kim Kardashian’s self-proclaimed wish for “publicity and fame.” Students could use their own personal experiences on social media to support their thesis.
- Mrs. Connor’s 7th-grade math class watched "Hidden Figures" and just started a project on “Women in Mathematics.” Each pair of students will pick a woman who has made a significant contribution to mathematics and prepare a slideshow on that contribution, how we still use it today, and any struggle they faced along the way.
- In Religion class, Grade 8 students were asked "What does it mean to have someone who is always there for you?" The class participated in a Jamboard, and the majority of the students pointed to "unconditional love" and immediately mentioned that they know that their parents, hands down, are always there for them even if they don’t agree with them. It’s always a nice reminder for parents to know that their young adult children do appreciate and value what they do for them.
- Mr. Wilson’s World History II students have prepared an art, music, and poetry segment as a Google slide presentation. For example, when they recently covered the French Revolution, students presented on Neo-Classical and Romantic Art, ballet and opera, and French art as a form of political propaganda. Their next project will focus on the "cultural impact of World War I" and each student will have to memorize and present a poet and poem of WWI, a piece of political propaganda and a series of photographs depicting the horrors of the war, and lastly, a letter written by a soldier who sent the letter home to a loved one. The final project asks them to play, on-line, a musical piece from WWI and to explain the lyrics. The students are enjoying this format of presenting.
- Mrs. Isakson’s 7th-grade Geography class is doing a unit on Economics. She asked the students to write down what expenses they think are needed to run a household: mortgage/rent, utilities, car, etc. She then gave them a hypothetical gross income. Next, they needed to determine the correct percentages for federal and state taxes, social security, and health insurance to determine their net income. Lastly, they deducted what was needed to run a household. According to Mrs. I, they were a bit aghast after seeing what was "left" for extras such as recreation, etc. This was an eye-opening exercise for them to realize the importance of budgeting.
- Ms. Mason’s students in Grade 11 Scripture Studies each chose an important discovery in Biblical archaeology to research. They then presented to their classmates’ slideshows about the discoveries and how they enhance our understanding of the Bible.
- Students in Ms. Mason’s Grade 9 Latin Studies each chose a Latin Motto to research, created an illustration highlighting key aspects of it, and presented to their classmates their research on the origins and use of this motto, and how they can apply it to their own lives.
- Ms. Germain’s 7th and 8th-grade Physical Education students are experimenting with a Physical Activity Choice Board over the next two weeks. The Choice Board gives students the flexibility to choose a physical activity, nutritional habit, or mindfulness practice to complete every day over the next two weeks. Students will be reflecting on how they feel, both physically and mentally, prior to, during, and after completing each Choice Board task. Students are empowered by having this choice to complete a specific task but are also entrusted to utilize time management skills to identify different times of the day to prioritize their health.
In other Athletic news, both the NDA Ski Club and JV and Varsity Basketball seasons are underway. The NDA Ski Club enjoyed their second evening at Wachusett last night. And new this year, YouTube Live is being used to stream our basketball games. Our first home game is today vs. Hopedale at 4 pm for JV and 6 pm for Varsity. The link to the live stream will be tweeted out prior to the game by following @ndaworcathletic or by following the Athletics NDA YouTube Channel. I hope you will be able to cheer for both teams virtually!
Similarly, in lieu of the ability to perform on stage on campus, Mrs. Lian is directing two virtual plays. All auditions, rehearsals, and performances are being held remotely. Although we cannot present to an in- person audience, the students continue to have the experiences of rehearsing, collaborating, and performing. These events will be live-streamed, so the students have the opportunity to perform live for a virtual audience. The one-act play, Pets in Quarantine will be performed on January 21st and 22nd at 7:30 pm. A full-length play, The Importance of Being Earnest in a Pandemic will be performed on January 28th and 29th at 7:30 pm. I am looking forward to both performances! For more information and tickets please visit the Winter Production page of the NDA Website.
I am also so excited about the upcoming fundraising event, “A Rebel With A Cause” on February 6, 2021. The Pre-show will begin at 5:30 PM EST and the Event will start at 6:00 PM EST. Tickets will be on sale soon and will be $20/$50/$100. Students will be asked to help sell tickets and we will be announcing great incentives for those who do so - stay tuned!
From the comfort of your own homes, I hope you will join Emmy-Award Winning Emcee Dani Davis '84 and the Notre Dame Academy community for the online virtual event of the year! I am pleased to announce this year's event honorees for their contributions to our school and our community.
Knollwood Award Honorees
Moira Moynihan-Manoog '86
Tammy Ragsdale Pozerycki '88
Society of the Arts Inductees
Timmary Leary '89
Julia Noone '07
Tara Reddy Young '92
Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees
Katherine Mulford Phillips '01
Elizabeth Andreoli Smiley '82
Honoring the NDA Legacy of
Patricia Provost, Co-Athletic Director
Anyone wishing to donate auction items (gift certificates, experiences, vacation home weeks, autographed items, etc.) should contact Colleen Sullivan directly at email@example.com. In addition, Sponsorship opportunities are still available. February 6th will be a very special evening as we honor these incredible women, celebrate Notre Dame Academy's traditions and aspirations for the future, and raise funds to support the financial aid needs of our student population.
I hope all of the NDA community stays safe and healthy over the next few weeks. I look forward to being back on campus with our faculty and students soon!
Lisa Mancini ‘88 P‘18
Head of School
Notre Dame Academy