Notre Dame Alumni E-Newsletter
April 2017
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Dear , 

What an amazing amount of love and support for our Irish Week Challenge! Over $11,500 was raised with more than 100 Champions recognized! We were thrilled at the level of participation and cannot thank you all enough for your continued support of Notre Dame! 

The Big Announcement event was a huge success with over 500 people in attendance. Notre Dame  launched the public phase of its philanthropic campaign to raise a total of $5.5 million toward a $7.5 million science, art and technology wing. To read more about The March on to Victory Campaign, click here.
Graduation is upon us and the Alumni Association will be hosting a BBQ for our graduating seniors as well as sponsoring refreshments at graduation. We are excited to welcome the class of 2017 into the association.

Join us on April 26, at 6 p.m., at the Fr. Colin House located at 1389 Giddings Road for our next alumni board meeting. Everyone is welcome!

Homecoming plans are already in the works. Mark your calendar for the Homecoming football game on October 6 and the 4th Annual Homecoming 5K the morning of October 7. It is going to be a wonderful weekend on campus.

Have a great spring!

Beth Campbell
Director of Alumni Relations

Upcoming Events

May 20 Big Band Dinner Dance- The first 16 alumni to email will receive a free ticket to the event! 

PUT ON YOUR DANCIN' SHOES!! The NDP Jazz Band Ensemble & Alumni present the 17th Annual Big Band Dinner Dance to be held on  Saturday, May 20, from 6:00-10:00pm at The Lafayette Grande in Pontiac.  Reservations are $40 per person, includes dinner (cash bar), dancing and live music by our very own NDP Jazz Band.  Reservation and payment deadline is May 10; tickets will NOT be sold at the door.  


Interested in coaching at NDP? We are looking for the following coaches. If you interested, please send your resume to Maureen Radulski at

Varsity Softball Pitching Coach

Freshman Volleyball Head Coach

Marist Academy Soccer Head Coach Grades 5-8
Marist Academy Volleyball Head Coach - Grades TBD
Marist Academy Girls Basketball Head Coach - Grades 5-6
Marist Academy Bowling Head Coach - Grades 5-8



The 3rd Annual Irish Week Challenge finished up on March 17 as another big success for NDPMA! The Challenge raised more than $11,500 in support of Notre Dame and its annual appeal, The Notre Dame Fund, which directly benefits students from junior kindergarten through 12th grade.

Similar to last year's Challenge, which honored four of the school's staffers, this year's fundraising effort was focused on everyone who's served at any of the Notre Dame schools as well as Pontiac Catholic or Oakland Catholic. As a result, more than 115 faculty and staff members were honored last week as part of the challenge. Among those called out during the week were Diana Atkins, Fr. Ron DesRosiers, Gretchen Glick, Fr. John Kiselica, Br. Louis Plourde and Conrad Vachon. 

"Based on the enthusiastic response to the previous two efforts, we decided to expand the challenge," said Gregory Simon, Notre Dame's director of advancement. "The 'Who's Your Champion' theme gave donors a chance to honor anyone who works (or worked) to make our Notre Dame schools special. We are thrilled, grateful, and humbled by the generous response. It goes to show how much our community of alumni, parents and friends appreciate the work being done on behalf of our students." 

To see the complete list of Champions, click here.

Kirby Smith "officially" retired from teaching nearly 10 years ago after finishing up a 14-year stint at Notre Dame Prep, his last full-time job. But his retirement has been nothing like what one would call taking it easy.

He's currently teaching ceramics at St. Clair Community College in St. Clair, Mich., and has been super busy of late putting together a retrospective exhibition of 50 years of his art that will open May 2 at Studio 1219, a gallery located in Port Huron.

"It's mostly ceramics," Smith, 71, said, "but I've also got a few paintings in the exhibition as well."

Kirby Smith has devoted a lifetime of hard work to making art and teaching art to students - more than 12,000 students by his estimation - at schools that include most notably Notre Dame High School, Notre Dame Prep and Cranbrook.

He is tickled by the fact that Notre Dame Prep is planning to build a bigger, more dedicated space for the visual arts as part of the recently announce  March on to Victory capital campaign.

"I've been hearing something about that for years," he said. "Now it looks like it's going to happen. With art, space is one of the most important things. Plus, it's another example of how this administration supports the arts. Actually, everywhere I've been, I've been lucky to work at schools that value art. Cranbrook is noted for the arts, and at both Notre Dames, I always had big budgets to do what I needed to do."

To read more of Smith's story, click here.

Elizabeth Crenshaw graduated from Notre Dame in 2001. Since then she's studied engineering, communications and journalism, and now is a TV reporter with WILX News 10, serving Lansing and Jackson.

She has a Bachelor of Science in engineering and honed her broadcast journalism skills at Specs Howard School of Media Arts. And, perhaps, it goes without saying that she's no stranger to media with experience in print, digital, radio, TV and health news.

Crenshaw considers being a journalist a privilege and she works to make a real difference in the community. Every story is important to her and she loves being the voice for the voiceless.

But when Crenshaw isn't digging for the next story, she loves teaching yoga, church, coaching track and basketball, spending time with family and friends, and watching sports - she is a sports fanatic!

In a recent interview with IRISH magazine, Crenshaw discussed her high school, college and her job, all of which have much in common, she said. "I love all of them!

IRISH: Tell us about your experience in college. How do you believe that your education at Notre Dame prepared you for success?

CRENSHAW: College is so much different than high school on so many levels. I attended Michigan State University "Go Green! Go White!" Once I arrived in East Lansing, I realized how incredible the education I received at Notre Dame really was.  When you attend college, you have to be self-motivated. In college, no one is going to make you go to class, study or do your homework. It's up to you to decide and make the commitment to your education. College is where I grew up. I went from a teenager to a young woman all in a matter of four years. It was not easy by any stretch of the imagination. I was knocked down, but I kept getting up. It was also one the best time of my life, but also the most challenging. I met many friends for life of all races and nationalities. 

To read more of Crenshaw's story, click here.

Notre Dame alum Kelsey (Ellsasser) Fox ('06) visited with a number of students in the lower division on March 6, to read from and discuss her book, "Just try it Wyatt."

The book, which was was released last year, is the first in a planned series of books by the author featuring Wyatt, the red fox, who is very set in his ways, but discovers that trying new things can be fun and exciting.  

According to Fox, the second book in the 
"Adventures of Wyatt" series is called "Please be quiet Wyatt," where the little fox learns when and where he needs to be quiet and that it's important to let others have a turn to speak, too.

To read more on Fox, click here.

Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy announced on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, that an endowed scholarship fund for tuition assistance has been established with the generous support of alums James Berch, Lawrence Berch and Robert Berch.
The fund, which is officially titled "The Notre Dame Tuition Assistance Endowed Fund," has been established with a charitable gift from the Berch family of $105,000 for ongoing tuition support of a student or students entering Notre Dame Preparatory School.  

In a ceremony held yesterday in Pontiac, members of Notre Dame's administration, including Corporate President Fr. Leon Olszamowski, s.m., '65 (NDHS); Director of Advancement Gregory Simon '89 (NDHS); ND Prep Principal Fr. Joe Hindelang, s.m., '68 (NDHS) and Fr. Jim Strasz, s.m., "70 (NDHS) said they were extremely grateful for the Berch family's generosity in establishing the fund. 

"Your gift will help generations of Notre Dame students receive the same excellent education that you and thousands of other alumni received, but who may not otherwise be able to receive," added Olszamowski on Friday. "A huge thank you to the Berch brothers! And we look forward to growing this fund even more in the coming years."
The gift from the Berch brothers will provide a permanent asset that will enable financial assistance for one or more students each school year. The scholarship is renewable by the recipient each school year until graduation, based on demonstrated need, good citizenship and academic success.

Jim Berch, a 1959 graduate of Harper Woods Notre Dame High School who also was a faculty member at the school in the 1960s and 70s, said he and his brothers definitely appreciated the dedication of their parents in being able to afford the Notre Dame education they received. "That's why we are here making this donation today, so that others who might be less fortunate are better able to afford such a great education," he said.

Jim's brother, Robert, a 1963 Notre Dame alum who was unable to attend the ceremony yesterday at the school, said that in deciding to contribute to the scholarship fund he was totally appreciative of his time at Notre Dame. "Like my brothers, I was very grateful for the academic training and the character formation I received at Notre Dame. That's why we decided to put this fund together," he said.  

To read more of Berch's story, click  here.

Pontiac Catholic alumna Colleen O'Brien ('74) is a judge on the Michigan Second District Court of Appeals. Governor Rick Snyder appointed her on September 29, 2015, to finish the unexpired term of Pat Donofrio, who retired the following day. She subsequently was elected to the seat in 2016 for a full six-year term, which expires on January 1, 2023.

Following a brief biography of her professional career, a recent interview of O'Brien by the editors of IRISH magazine is posted below.

Judge Colleen O'Brien was appointed to the Court of Appeals in October of 2015. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and from the Detroit College of Law with a Juris Doctor degree in 1981. O'Brien practiced law for 17 years prior to being elected to the Oakland County Circuit Court in 1998. As a circuit judge, she served as the presiding judge of the Female Adult Treatment Court for twelve years and as the presiding judge of the Civil/Criminal Division for several years. O'Brien is a long-time member of the Michigan Judges Association and served as its president in 2015. She also has served as president of the Oakland County Women's Bar Association and served on the Board of Directors of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan. An active member of the Oakland County Bar Association, O'Brien received the Distinguished Public Servant Award in 2011. Her civic activities include serving on the Advisory Board to Crossroads for Youth, serving as a member of the Indigent Defense Advisory Commission, and serving as a member of the Interagency Council on Homelessness.

IRISH: Judge O'Brien, can you go into a little more detail on your journey from high school to your current position?

O'BRIEN: After graduating from Pontiac Catholic in 1974, I attended Oakland University for two years and eventually transferred to the University of Michigan. I graduated from Michigan in 1978 where I majored in political science during college with the intent to continue onto law school.

I have to say that I believe the excellent education I received at Pontiac Catholic was instrumental in my success in college and later in law school. Specifically, a strong background in English and the development of excellent reading and writing skills were invaluable.
To read more of O'Brein's story, click  here.

In a ceremony held at the Detroit Film Theatre in the Detroit Institute of Arts, Notre Dame student-artists were honored alongside hundreds of fellow high school artists in the area who earned accolades in the Southeastern Michigan Region of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition.

Sandy LewAllen, Notre Dame's art chair, said she was super proud to watch the NDP artists accept the school-record 45 Scholastic Art Awards on stage at the DFT. 

LewAllen also noted that Notre Dame junior and American Vision award winner Sophia Shick had her artwork published on the cover of last night's program.

A public exhibit of all the artwork, which has been mounted at Detroit's College for Creative Studies, also opened last night. The exhibit is held annually at CCS and features approximately 1,100 works of art displayed throughout all four levels of the college's Walter B. Ford II Building. 

The 45 pieces of art by Notre Dame student artists that earned awards from the Southeastern Michigan Region of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition represents a new record for the school. 

To read more of the story, click here.

A state championship is usually the pinnacle in high school sports. But for the Pontiac Notre Dame competitive cheer team winning their fourth straight Division 3 title on Saturday was about something much more important, much more meaningful and much more substantial than a trophy and team photo.

Competitive cheer, especially at this level, is about strong will, dedication and emotion but the Fighting Irish came into this season fighting a different kind of emotion - one that adults, let alone teenagers, struggle dealing with.

"This is the best feeling I've ever had as a coach," explained ND Coach Beth Campbell. 
"This past summer one of our alumni passed away (due to an illness) so at that moment the girls decided to dedicate this whole season to her. And the girls came here determined to win this for her."

Just moments after hearing the news, the Fighting Irish made an emotional phone call back home.

"Being able to call her mom and dad and tell them that we won this was the best feeling I could have ever asked for as a coach," she said.

Kristy Malter, who was a cheerleader for the Irish for four years, passed away this summer at the age of 21.

To read more, click here.

PONTIAC, Mich. - Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy announced today that automotive executive and longtime education advocate William L. Kozyra has made a significant donation of $1 million to the school in support of its capital campaign for science, art and technology.
This gift to the recently announced campaign represents the single largest donation ever to the school in its 23 years of operation. It also brings the total contributions currently for the campaign to more than $4.1 million.
"Bill's generous gift will help accelerate the timeline for getting our plans in place for a groundbreaking in the very near future," said Andy Guest, Notre Dame's head of school. "Bill has been a generous supporter of our school for many years, and we are exceptionally grateful that he is providing such a momentum-builder in our exciting campaign to build for the future." 
On March 9, 2017, NDPMA launched the public phase of its philanthropic campaign to raise a total of $5.5 million toward a $7.5 million science, art and technology wing to be built on its campus in Pontiac.
Dubbed the "March on to Victory" campaign, the public phase of the fundraising effort was introduced at a special celebration on March 9 to a crowd of more than 650 who heard from school and campaign officials and watched a special video presentation.
The new facilities planned as part of the campaign, which total 26,000 square feet, will include a one-story science, technology and arts wing to be added to the shared middle division and upper division building. The new wing will house science laboratory facilities, collaborative learning classrooms, a robotics lab, a specially designed greenhouse, and a fine arts studio.

To read more on this story, click here.
For more Notre Dame news,  click here.
Notre Dame Prep Theatre Presents: The Man Who Came to Dinner 

By George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart

A sardonic theatre critic breaks his leg while on a lecture tour in the Midwest and is forced to stay a bit longer at the home of his host family, ultimately taking over the house with his demands and visiting Broadway luminary friends. This comedy will be sure to have you rolling in the aisles!

April 6th-8th 7:00 p.m.
Notre Dame Cafetorium

Tickets $10 for student/senior, $12 for adults
Available at-the-door
For a list of upcoming class reunions 

Check out pictures from the class of 1960 (NDHS) reunion on March 8 in sunny Florida, click here.


Considering planning a reunion for your class? The alumni office can help you get started. Call (248) 373-2171, ext. 3, or email for details. 

Email your prayers and petitions to
NDP = Notre Dame Prep; NDHS = Notre Dame High School; OC = Oakland Catholic; PC = Pontiac Catholic; SM = St. Michael; SF = St. Frederick.