By Michael Alexander, Staff Photographer | Published August 21, 2015
On the morning of August 20 Notre Dame Academy’s Kavanaugh Hall welcomed 31 students, representing the inaugural freshman class of its new high school in Duluth.
They showed up in crisp uniform blouses, shirts, khaki pants and skirts. They walked to their first class of three classes – Design, Human Geography (Social Studies) and Symphonic Band.
Sometimes the first day of school can be a combination of trepidation and uncertainty, but the first day of school in a brand new building has its own set of challenges. For example, like trying that combination on your locker, 3 right, 15 left, 45 right, and it still doesn’t work after four tries.
Will my peers accept me? Who will I sit with during lunch? Who will be the new friends I can trust and count on during the school year? Who am I likely to hang out with socially? Who will pray for me or offer the best advice when I’m overwhelmed and burdened? These are just a few of the many questions going through one’s mind on the first day.
As you sit in your first class among new classmates, you wonder what the teacher talking before you is going to be like. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” As members of the Notre Academy High School class of 2019, one can only hope that in four years from now they will be able to look back and appreciate how the teachers challenged, inspired and motivated them to become better students and people of faith.
I could tell the students who stayed up too late, trying to squeeze out those final precious moments of summer vacation. Or perhaps they were unable to sleep because they were anxious about that all impending first day. They were the ones yawning, but trying to stay attentive. I only saw a couple. Most of the students appeared alert, excited and ready to make a bit of history at Notre Dame Academy High School, along with its new faculty and principal, Brian Marks. Each day, like the first one, will provide a new chapter in the annals of this new Gwinnett County Catholic school.
The first block of classes, which lasted 90 minutes, concluded with a prayer for Notre Dame Academy and announcements read over the loud speaker by Principal Marks. The prayer marked the beginning of a novena for the school, which ends on August 28.
Novena Prayer for Notre Dame Academy
Father, we thank you for the opportunity to begin this new school year, and we ask that you bless the students, faculty, and our students’ families that make Notre Dame Academy a great place. We pray that you will guide us in all ways, so that we will seek your will in everything that we do. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Read about the new Notre Dame Academy High School in Andrew Nelson’s August 20 story, “New Catholic high school in Duluth welcomes class of 2019.”