News & Events News
Icons of all kinds have become part of our twenty-first century communication patterns. Whether emojis, signage, photographs, or recognizable graphics, all of these images aim to communicate some meaning -- sometimes in the absence of words and sometimes to summarize the words we might otherwise use. As we prepare for next week's Class of 2020 Baccalaureate Mass, we have been guided by the importance of icons to our Notre Dame spiritual life.
Be it on senior retreat, around the dinner tables of family homes, or even through the various celebrations of our graduates, we inevitably hear the refrains of a Notre Dame graduate through the words she speaks, the values she holds and the choices she makes. As educators, we are keenly aware that this growth happens through the integration of learning experiences that form the whole person within a vibrant community over the course of their Notre Dame education. Even though circumstances may be different in certain respects, students continue to explore new perspectives and broaden their world view.
The qualities that make an effective student leader, such as being a good listener and communicator, encouraging others, and being positive have long been understood. But in these times of distance learning and shelter-in-place, traditional student leadership has had to adapt and change.
In our human experience, we look at various life moments not only for what happened, but perhaps more powerfully, how that moment made us feel and what it meant to us. While the world laments the absence of what we expected, we have the ability to imagine new ways of celebrating the meaningful among us. This is what spiritual seekers do.
Best-selling author Khaled Hosseini joined the freshman class virtually last week to discuss his novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and the plight of women in Afghanistan today and in the past. The novel is part of their year-long interdisciplinary studies across humanities courses and helps them formulate answers to important questions. Who am I? What is my home? Who is my community? What is my universe of obligation?
Notre Dame has more than 326 leadership positions available on campus, allowing all students to find their individual opportunity to develop life-long skills in this important area. Students recently viewed promotional videos created by candidates and heard speeches before casting their ballots for next year's elected positions. This year 411 total applicaitons were received from freshmen, sophomores and juniors to fill the 281 selected and elected positions. This year 49% of students applied for a position. Many others will choose to develop their skills through additional co-curricular opportunities. Maddie '21 will serve as ASB Student Council President next year.
At Notre Dame, all sophomores study the Holocaust across English, history, and religious studies as part of an integrated curriculum. Students read several accounts of the Holocaust as part of their studies, but the key cornerstone of that learning experience is hearing the testimony of a survivor. This year’s sophomore class was able to share a virtual session with Leon, who provided a moving account of a childhood of struggle and loss.
Typically at this time of year Notre Dame is preparing for our annual ice cream social and college sweatshirt celebration in Pardini Park. In this time of shelter-in-place, things are different but we still celebrate the accomplishments of our amazing Class of 2020. On the college side of the admissions process, institutions are working hard to help students with financial aid packages, deadlines and virtual visits.
The importance of student involvement in co-curricular programs has long been understood as being an integral part of their development as teenagers. These programs offer opportunities for the development of leadership skills, provide important social interactions and allow students to learn more about themselves. This time of imposed isolation, however, provides unique challenges when it comes to co-curricular programs. How can you have a swim meet, a spring musical, a robotics competition, a speech and debate tournament or a spring mixer in the “new normal” of shelter-in-place and social distancing?After all, one of the main benefits of co-curricular programs is the wonderful community that is formed both on and off campus. In this time of social isolation, the importance of a community of people passionate about their activities is more important than ever.
Notre Dame recently welcomed author Carl Wilkens to our virtual campus to speak with freshman students. The class engaged in a meaningful conversation as he provided tangible examples of how we can practice personal responsibility in difficult situations and choose to be an upstander in times of conflict or crisis. Carl has been a frequent visitor to campus since 2012 when his book, I'm Not Leaving, was chosen as our ND Reads selection.
Anika Kumar '17 founded Forget Me Not in 2015 as a Notre Dame student as a way to help reduce instances of isolation, loneliness and depression among older adults. Since then, her non-profit has continued to grow, engaging current Notre Dame students and others across the country. Forget Me Not was recently recognized by YWCA's Project Cornerstone as an Asset Champion and also featured on CBS News.
Our world is dynamic and uncertain right now, changing day-by-day. We are called to be flexible and nimble as we respond to the daily needs of our students. Despite the challenge of these uncertain times, I find that our core values keep us grounded and united in our work as a community. As a society, we are grappling with how to deal with the current crisis effectively and also imagining what life will look like in its aftermath. Our young people have an opportunity and a challenge of stepping into adulthood at this inflection point in history. How will we equip them to be the engaged community members and thought leaders that our world desperately needs? This is the important work that Notre Dame embraces today and will impact the world beyond tomorrow.
Maddie Waldie '20 used this shelter-in-place time to learn about the process of designing, creating and submitting apps for review and approval with Apple. Using skills she learned in Mr. Johnson's Graphic Design course as well as some of the information she learned in Ms. Burgio's Economics course, she developed a sticker pack to help people with food allergies communicate in a fun, easy way. Her Sticker Pack is available on the App Store.
In the midst of the third week of Notre Dame’s Flexible Learning Environment, teachers and students are creating a learning community that exists virtually but is grounded in Notre Dame’s mission and delivers on the graduation outcomes. Today’s life-long learner is one who needs to develop what Tony Wagner, senior research fellow at the Learning Policy Institute and Harvard Graduate School of Education professor, calls the “Seven Survival Skills for Careers, College, and Citizenship.” These skills are at the core of 21st century education and schools preparing students for their future worlds. They are considered a set of core competencies essential to life-long learning.
Notre Dame students and alumnae are doing amazing things locally, globally and virtually! Read about a few that were featured in the news over the last week.
Notre Dame alumnae are scattered across the globe, working in myriad industries and volunteer capacities. In this COVID-19 crisis, many are serving on the front lines as first responders and as nurses, doctors and researchers. Current students, although sheltered in place, are also doing some amazing work to help their ND sisters and the greater community get through this crisis. We are highlighting just a few who have been in touch with us lately. If you are an alumna or the parent of an alumna, please contact us with updates.
Julie Billiart knew well what it was like to live in uneasy times. Indeed, the tumult of the French Revolution and her own poor health could easily have been cause for anxiety. And yet, Julie gave care and attention to her own spiritual wellness in order to draw strength from the good God. And it was this very spiritual practice that empowered her to respond to the signs of the times with confidence, courage and leadership. Though we live in a very different time, the invitation to care for our own spiritual wellness is just as important for us as it was for Julie.
Caring for our mental and physical wellness is of utmost priority during times like these and serves to strengthen us, as individuals, as well as our community as a whole. To complement the important learning happening for students in their virtual classrooms, we want to make sure we are also attending to the whole student. This includes providing opportunities for students to connect with each other in different ways.
For more than 20 years Notre Dame students have celebrated Spirit Week with games, cheers, crazy costumes and lots of laughter and hugs. This year the Jaguars, Raptors, Tigers and Griffins continued the tradition and celebrated sisterhood and silliness! Special thank you to Sarah '20 for creating a video to help capture the joy that is Spirit Week!
One of the values and traditions of Notre Dame is its engagement in the community. The school is committed to fostering active membership in society including participation in elections. In conjunction with Super Tuesday primaries, students organized a mock election. We also welcomed Mary Fierros, who is one of the oldest living "Rosie Riveters," to campus to encourage students to cast their vote.
The ND community of faculty/staff and students entered the Lenten season with a prayer service. Presided over by Father Victor Trinidad and featuring a theme of "Belonging & Brokenness" the liturgy was organized by the Peer Ministry Leadership Team and featured student liturgical and music ministers.
On Saturday, February 22nd, the Janksters hosted their annual Robot Reveal Night to showcase the robot the team had just six weeks to brainstorm, prototype, and build for this year’s challenge. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an innovative program that encourages kids to pursue knowledge and skills in STEM, released a new challenge (Infinite Recharge) to their FRC (First Robotics Competition) teams on January 4, kicking off the 2020 Build Season. Robot Reveal Night allowed team members to present their achievements in front of parents, mentors, sponsors and guests. All eyes were on the robot as it made its way down the aisle in JB Hall.
Today Secretary of State Alex Padilla visited Notre Dame High School and spoke to students about the importance of voting. Secretary of State Padilla has visited more than 80 high schools across "the four corners of the state" in recent weeks. Invited by Malyna Trujillo '23, a leader of Notre Dame's League of Young Women Voters club, his visit to Notre Dame was the first to an all-girls school.
February 12 marked the 15th anniversary of the death of Sr. Dorothy Stang. She dedicated her life & work to poor migrant farmers & the Amazon rainforests of Brazil. The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur have dedicated 2020 to honor her legacy. Let us pray, God of goodness, On the 15th anniversary of Sr. Dorothy Stang's martyrdom, we proudly join the global Notre Dame family to begin this year of remembrance and celebration. As we lift up Sr. Dot's legacy at various moments throughout the year, may we proclaim your goodness, embrace your people, and care for your creation. St. Julie, pray for us. Sister Dorothy, pray for us. Let us together say, Amen.
Notre Dame's Speech & Debate Team competed last weekend at the Stanford Invitational Speech & Debate Tournament, bringing home trophies and earning accolades. The week before seven students participated in the Santa Clara Valley MUN conference where students represented the Philippines.