Notre Dame Alumni E-Newsletter
December 2016
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Dear , 

On behalf of the administration, faculty and staff at Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, and together with the Notre Dame Alumni Association Board of Directors, I wish you a merry and blessed Christmas and a healthy and joyous new year!
This was an extremely successful year for the alumni office. The newly structured board started the career speaker series, updated homecoming weekend with many improvements, hosted an alumni theatre night and so much more. More alumni participated in events this year than last and we hosted over 25 reunions this year! 
We hope that in this new year, you will connect at an even greater level with the alumni association and continue to be a part of the mission of this great institution. 

Merry Christmas!

Beth Campbell
Director of Alumni Relations

December 26- Notre Dame High School Alumni Hockey Game 
For more information contact Joe Petrolere ar PetrolereJ22@gmail.comat or by clicking here.

February 2- Alumni Career Speakers Series
Focus on Law

If you are interested in sharing your business  career with our students, please contact Beth Campbell,


Nearly 40 students from Notre Dame's upper division gathered in the school's media center on December 7 for the most recent edition of the Alumni Career Speaker Series, which is sponsored by the Notre Dame Alumni Association. 

The focus of this event was business and centered around the marketing, accounting and finance industries. It featured three Notre Dame graduates: Eleni (Nicholaou) Johnson '04 (NDP), U.S. sales-incentives manager for Fiat Chrysler; Jack Ventimiglia '70 (NDHS), a franchise owner with Papa John's Pizza; and Stephen Skok '02 (NDP), a CPA at Doeren Mayhew CPAs and Advisors. Last month, a number of alums spoke to Notre Dame students about small business and entrepreneurship

Notre Dame Prep graduate ('98) and ND Alumni Association chair Scott Lockhart, who organized the event with Beth Campbell, director of alumni relations, said the association was more than happy to continue matching current student interest with   alumni professionals across a range of disciplines.   

"We're very happy that the association can continue to host these events," he said. "It's always rewarding when our very busy alums can find time to talk to our kids about their own successful careers."

To read more of the story, click here.

Connor Verheyen, a 2013 graduate of Notre Dame Preparatory School and current student at the University of Miami in Florida, has been invited into the university's Iron Arrow Honor Society, which recognizes students who "exemplify five qualities based on the Seminole Indian tradition: love of alma mater, character, leadership, scholarship and humility." 

Established in 1926, the society is considered the "highest honor attained at the University of Miami."

Selections for Iron Arrow typically are made from undergrad students, grad students, law-school students, med-school students, faculty, and staff. Once "tapped" for the honor, they are charged with keeping a fire going, and keeping a constant drum beat for 24 hours. They also wear colorful jackets for a week, followed by an elaborate initiation ceremony.

Verheyen majored in biomedical engineering at Miami and is pursuing a PhD in biomedical engineering. 

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

When 1977 Pontiac Catholic High School grad Bradley Hensen got into college he thought he had a pretty good handle on where his education and career would take him. 
But things "changed."

"The word 'change' best describes my experience in college," said Hensen.

 "My major changed three times while I attended four different schools in three different states over a seven-year period. I started out thinking I wanted a career in graphic arts. But, on the very first day in my first graphics class, the professor told us the average salary a graphic artist could expect to make. That number was so disheartening I dropped the class as soon as it ended that day and changed my major immediately." 
Hansen said that throughout his very eclectic college career, he continually re-assessed his goals and adjusted his field of study to not only help maximize his future potential, but to better fit his evolving interests. 

"I think I did this because my mom and a couple of influential teachers at Pontiac Catholic taught me to think for myself and keep my mind open to new things," he said. "Another important lesson I learned in high school came from my 10th-grade geometry teacher, Sr. Mercia McGee. She often told us, 'The man who knows how will always have a job. But the man who knows why will be his boss.' That wisdom has stayed with me my entire life."

Hensen's life after college - he ended up with a bachelor's degree in film from Syracuse University - also had a few twists, not the least of which was a planned moviemaking career in LA.

"My goal at the time, of course, like everyone else in film school, was to get to Hollywood and make movies," he said. "Right out of the gate after college, I started my Hollywood journey in Michigan, working as a production assistant on film shoots for TV commercials. In my personal time, I also wrote unsolicited scripts for network television shows and submitted them through the Writer's Guild. I even sold one, but it was never produced because the show was canceled."

To read more on Hensen's story, click   here

Winning A new children's book by Notre Dame alum Kelsey (Ellsasser) Fox ('06) that teaches young readers about the importance of trying new things has recently been published and is available online and in local bookstores. 
Called "Just try it Wyatt," the book 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 will be 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.

Fox has been busy since graduating from Notre Dame in 2006. She received a BS in elementary education from Oakland University and worked as a kindergarten teacher initially and now is a part-time 4/5 ELA (English language arts) teacher in Royal Oak. She married Steven Fox and they have a baby boy, Cody, who was born in March.
She's also doing a book-signing tour to help boost book sales.

"I am making author appearances at various schools throughout the week  to promote my book and on the weekends, too," she said. "I want to make sure store sales continue to do well."

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

A metro Detroit institution in the flower business, Mancuso's Florist, currently is thriving in St. Clair Shores after more than 90 years in business. In fact, the shop on Harper Ave. between 9 and 10 Mile Roads, recently was awarded the Detroit Heritage Recognition award for being a successful part of the Southeast Michigan retail business community for more than 85 years.

"Mancuso's was started in 1923 in Detroit on Harper and Whittier, across from St. Matthew Catholic Church," said owner Frank Mancuso Jr., a 1974 alumnus of Notre Dame. "We moved to St. Clair Shores in 2007."

Mancuso's Detroit location was opened by Frank Mancuso Sr. Upon the passing of Mancuso Sr. in 1980, Frank Jr. and his sister, Bette Hang, took over the family business and in 1999, Frank Mancuso III joined his dad as co-owner. 

Mancuso Jr. said bringing his son into the business really helped the company, especially in terms of technology. 

"Frank III brought us into the computer era," he said. "He developed our website,, our point-of-sale order input, and even a floral app for mobile devices. He also developed many successful marketing programs, including our very popular Petal Rewards Program, customer reminder postcards, and preferred customer cards."

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

Notre Dame alum Matt Servitto ('83) has had a busy and successful acting career in front of the camera, mostly on television. 

He is probably best recognized for his seven seasons on "The Sopranos" as FBI agent Dwight Harris and for his six years on daytime TV on both 
"All My Children" and "One Life to Live." More recently, Servitto spent three seasons on the Showtime series "Brotherhood" as well as in a four-year run on Cinemax's "Banshee" as the Brock Lotus character. 

His work also includes playing Satan in "Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell" on the Adult Swim network (now in its third season) and he's had recurring roles more recently as Dr. Sebastian Reifler on "The Blacklist" (NBC) and as the character Bob Sweeney in "Billions" (Showtime).

But while Servitto took theater on a scholarship at Wayne State University and studied at the famed Juilliard School in New York City, his significant acting chops were initially honed at Notre Dame High School.
"One of the reasons I think Notre Dame was instrumental in me pursuing a career in the arts was the amazing teachers, mentors, students and directors who I encountered during my four years there," Servitto said. "Dedicated men and women who opened my mind and heart to music, theater, poetry, literature and the visual arts. 

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

The joy of the season received a special boost for students and teachers on Monday as Notre Dame enjoyed its first "snow day" of the academic year. But most seasoned entertainers know that "the show must go on," so with the Avondale High School theater already booked and very little time before Christmas break to reschedule, the  Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy choirs went ahead despite the weather and presented their Christmas concert on Monday, December 12.

"All in all, the weather and roads were far more cooperative for the evening concert than they had been earlier in the day and the nearly 600 guests who braved the cold to be at Avondale on Monday were rewarded for their effort with superb performances," noted Tom Convery, one of the choir parent volunteers.  

The choirs presented a number of arrangements of secular classics as well as Christian pieces to help draw audience members into the Christmas season. Notre Dame's director of choirs David Fazzini presented his high school choirs, which included the Freshman Mixed Choir, Women's Advanced Choir, The Irishmen, Honors Chamber Choir and The Ninth Hour choir while his accompanist and assistant director of choirs Ellie Frazier featured the Sixth Grade Choir


As you gather with friends and family this Christmas, we hope you also remember your impact on the students here at Notre Dame. By giving just once each school year, you are giving the gift of Notre Dame to more than 1100 young people. 

To make a gift to The Notre Dame Fund, click here.


Even though Oakland County is known as one of the wealthiest areas in the country, many people are surprised to learn that there are families in need. In fact, the need not only exists, but is growing at an alarming rate, according to Oxford/Orion FISH, which provides groceries for neighbors in need who live in  Oxford, Lake Orion, Addison and Oakland Townships.

Notre Dame students Nick Durham, a senior, and junior Alex Kocheril were aware of this great need and took matters into their own hands when they recently organized a "Great Give" food drive with local nonprofit Oxford/Orion FISH that collected more than 1,100 items from students and families in the Notre Dame community. 
"FISH helps families to get food and other basic supplies," said Durham, "and allows them to enjoy the holiday seasons like everyone else. The food also will help the Oxford/Orion FISH pantry to restock after the busy season of Thanksgiving, and help support the next busy time of Christmas."
Durham worked with middle-division students on the drive and Kocheril coordinated the effort in the upper division.

To read more, click here.
For more Notre Dame news,  click here.
For a list of upcoming class reunions    


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. 

We pray for those who have died:
David Adams- Father of Peter '96 (NDHS) and Daniel '04 (NDHS) 12-4-16

Deborah Kraniak - Mother of Alexis Kraniak '16 (NDP) and Madison '14 (NDP) 11-28-16
Michael Reece- '79 (NDHS) Former principal at Notre Dame High School 11-16-16.
Edward Bornoty - Father of Edward '82 (NDHS) and John '88 (NDHS) 11-14-16
Sam Curcuru - Father of Dave '66 (NDHS) and grandfather of Mark '98 (NDHS) 11-11-16
Helen Skrzynski - Mother of Michael '68 (NDHS), John '69 (NDHS), Carl '71 (NDHS), Martin '73 (NDHS), and Mark '76 (NDHS) 11-10-16
Raymond Kraemer- '63 (NDHS) 11-7-16
Mary Colleen Mooney- Mother of Shannon '12 (NDP) and Erin '15 (NDP) 11-3-16
Jacqueline DeKimpe - Mother of Michael '70 (NDHS) and Jim '79 (NDHS) 11-1-16
Walter Burgam - Father of Patrick '74 (NDHS) and Kevin '76 (NDHS) 11-1-16.
Patrick Lawrey- Class of '84 (NDHS) 10-31-16 10-31-16
Madera Scarchilli - Mother of Lorian '86 (NDHS) and Sylvan '88 (NDHS) 10-30-16
Kenneth Pallach - Father of Ken Pallach '82 (NDHS) 10-28-16
Gregory Tripp- Father of Jennifer Diop "99 (NDP) 10-18-16
James Fabian- '66 (NDHS) Father of Patrick '01 (NDHS) 10-15-16
Fr. Clifton Moors, s.m- Former teacher and rector at Notre Dame High School 9-21-16

Prayer List:  click here
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.