Notre Dame Alumni E-Newsletter
June 2017
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Dear , 

What an amazing amount of love and support for our 2nd annual #BevsDay!  Beverly Williams taught at Notre Dame from 1999 until her untimely passing in 2009. She was loved by faculty and staff, parents and students for her energy, compassion, generosity and infectious sense of humor. Bev taught Sociology, Psychology and AP Psychology.

Keep your eye out for an email with the total raised and breakdown of participation by class later this week. Thank you to everyone who not only gave but those who shared memories, posted on social media and helped to make this day so special. It was absolutely fantastic to see how many people Bev touched! 
Last month, we welcomed over 175 graduates into the association! The alumni board hosted a BBQ for the senior class and provided a backdrop at graduation for pictures. We are so proud of the many accomplishments of the class of 2017!

Don't forget to keep your current contact information updated in our database. So many things are happening on campus. Be sure you don't miss out.  Update here.

Have a wonderful summer!

Beth Campbell
Director of Alumni Relations


Michelle Lo is a year into her first year of economics in New York at Cornell University's College of Arts and Sciences. She graduated from Notre Dame Prep last year and while she has adapted well to a university environment and being so far from home, she's noticed one big difference between Cornell and Notre Dame Prep.

"I miss the close-knit relationships I formed with all my teachers over the years at NDP," Lo said. "Walking to class and joking around with Mr. Devine or stopping in to say hi to my teachers is what makes me miss the halls of NDP the most."

Lo said it's different being close with teachers you see everyday and who you turn to for guidance versus the limited support that university professors can offer. 
"My teachers at NDP took a genuine interest in me and the track I was on in life," she said. 
Still, Lo is thriving at Cornell. 

"Although classes are extremely rigorous and my coursework requires me to really apply myself, I owe my success so far here to the study habits I developed at NDP," Lo said. "The workload I was given at NDP, especially in my AP classes, is what I believe gave me the ability to manage my time well and it's what prepared me for the level of rigor I've experienced during my first year at Cornell."

She said the in-class essays and demanding prep work for AP exams at Notre Dame are very similar to the assignments she's completed so far in her college classes.

"If it hadn't been for the discipline that NDP instilled in me during my time in high school, I wouldn't have had such a big advantage going into my classes at Cornell last fall." 

Currently, Lo is majoring in economics and minoring in business, and she hopes to become an analyst for a consulting company or maybe follow in her dad's footsteps and work as an auto analyst in Detroit. 

To read more on Lo's story, click here.  

The DiPonio sisters are blazing their own special trails in the healthcare field. All three of them graduated from Notre Dame Prep and University of Detroit Mercy. And while all three of them have jobs that involve helping people stay or get healthy, their paths to becoming a nurse, a dentist and a physician assistant, while seemingly nearly identical, did have some important nuances.

However, all three of them cited the rigorous and challenging academics at Notre Dame Prep as critical to their college and career success, And they also all said that they had a lot of fun in high school, especially during one special week in March.

The Notre Dame Alumni Association recently interviewed Marisa, Michelle and Vanessa in an effort to get their comments on the journey each of them took through NDP and college on and on what they're up to today. Enjoy!

Notre Dame Alumni Association: What was your college experience like, and do you believe your education at Notre Dame prepared you well for college and beyond?

Marisa DiPonio '12 (NDP): My college experience was very memorable. It was a time where I was able to grow academically and individually. Having attended NDP, I was able to have a solid foundation before attending college. I believe NDP provided me with the tools to not only succeed in college but to succeed throughout life in general.

Michelle (DiPonio) Maltese '08 (NDP): My college experience was greatly influenced by my time at Notre Dame Prep. I learned valuable lessons such as strong study habits, time-management skills, and the desire for success. When I began college, I was already accustomed to difficult course work, having been prepared by both the teachers and curriculum at Notre Dame. While college was a time for personal growth, I can confidently say that this growth began with the foundation I built during my high school years. 

Vanessa (DiPonio) Ruffino '06 (NDP): My college experience was one of the most influential times of my life so far. I learned a lot about myself while simultaneously carving a successful career path. And I believe NDP helped me to accomplish this by giving me a solid foundation to start my college education. I was already acclimated to large course loads and challenging material that I encountered at NDP, which consequently helped me to excel in my college courses. 

To read more on the DiPonio sisters, click  here.  

For as long as she can remember, 2013 Notre Dame graduate Sarah Hampel wanted to be a nurse. But it wasn't until she spent some special clinical hours as a nursing student at the University of Michigan that pediatric nursing was where she would specialize.

"Starting as early as freshman year at Michigan, I was fortunate enough to spend many of my 'nursing classes' outside the lecture hall, completing hands-on clinical hours in a variety of in-patient settings," said Hampel, who graduated in April from U-M with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. "Instantaneously, I fell in love with pediatric nursing and knew it was what I wanted to pursue. And after my externship last summer in a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), I was certain that such a place with the highest stakes, intensity, teamwork and constant learning was definitely where I wanted to begin my practice." 

Hampel's focus on a career in medicine was not by happenstance, however, by any measure. Science came naturally to her, even at Notre Dame Prep, and it's an area she truly enjoyed. Plus, she was (and still is) a talkative, outgoing, people person. Still another reason pediatrics seemed like the ideal fit for her.

Attending college was no walk in the park, she said, despite a thorough and completely successful academic experience at NDP.

"The University of Michigan has been an eye-opening, thrilling and downright challenging experience," Hampel said. "But I strongly tie many of my successes there to the robust formation and education I received at Notre Dame Prep. Also, at a close-knit school like NDP, I was offered tremendous opportunity - in both leadership and academia - and was provided a myriad of resources."
She said during her time at NDP, she was able to take seven Advanced Placement courses, which made the transition to rigorous college course work much easier. 

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

Two-thousand nine Notre Dame alum Josh Romeo earned many accolades as a student and wrestler at Notre Dame. His high school resume included a Catholic League wrestling championship, an All-Catholic listing, a top-12 state wrestler listing and All-County accolades. During his senior year, he set records for the Fighting Irish in most takedowns, most two-point near falls and most total points scored in a season.

But a career in athletics wasn't at all on his list of possible future jobs when he got to the University of Miami in Florida. In fact, Romeo finished up at Miami with a bachelor's degree in criminology and psychology.

"Yes, I ended up getting a job in the psychology field," he said. "But I wasn't enjoying it like I had hoped and needed a change of pace, so I ended up doing a few entertainment auditions."

He noticed at the time that Cirque du Soleil was holding auditions, so he flew out to Las Vegas to give it a try, knowing that it was a long shot. 

"Somehow, I ended up making it through and it was one of the proudest days of my life," he said. "After that, I knew that working in stunts and circuses was something that I could actually pursue. I put all of my efforts into training and making a living out of doing something that I love."

What Romeo 'loves' currently is his work on a number of film and TV projects, including the movies "Transformers," "I First Kill," and "The Run" as well as 'The Russian Bride," where he is lead actor Corbin Bernsen's stunt double.

Most recently, he had a speaking role in the hit TV series on WGN, "Outsiders."

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

Notre Dame alums Jeff ('04) and Joe ('00) Powers recently were putting the finishing
touches on HomeGrown Brewing Company, a new family-owned microbrewery that opened April 12 in downtown Oxford. They've been working day and night since early fall of last year when it was first announced that the brothers along with their mom and dad and sister, Katie, were planning to transform the former Veterans Memorial Civic Center in downtown Oxford into the HomeGrown Brewing Company.

Joe's road. . .
After graduating from Notre Dame in 2000, Joe Powers headed north to the Upper Peninsula to study engineering. 

"After ND, I went to Michigan Tech and loved every minute of it, including exploring the U.P.," he said. "Keeping up with the engineering program there was a bit intense, so I was glad I had paid attention in math and physics class at Notre Dame, for sure. I also think ND gave me the confidence to step out of my comfort zone and to apply my skills to a range of career paths."

After graduating from MTU, Joe worked as an environmental engineer for more than 10 years in Florida as well as in the U.P., then it was to New Zealand and Australia for more engineering work. 

"I loved the work, but I was also always really passionate about home-brewing and beer craft," he said. "When my family decided that the time was right to open a brewery in Oxford, coming back to Michigan and branching into brewery management was a very easy choice to make."

Jeff's road. . .
Jeff Powers, on the other hand, in a prime left-brain/right brain example of how two members of the same family can take completely different career paths, went south after graduating from Notre Dame and enrolled at Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, Georgia. 
Jeff Powers is putting his artistic talent to work at the family-owned brewery.

"Yes, I went in the other direction, figuratively and literally, and went south to college," said Jeff, who studied illustration at SCAD. "Georgia has a completely different culture to Michigan. But like, Joe, Notre Dame gave me the confidence to branch out, follow a different career choice than the rest of my family, and make the most of living in a very different part of the States."

After school, Jeff went into digital/graphic design work. 

"The work I did was pretty fast-paced and kept me on my toes," Jeff said. "I also spent some time in L.A. focusing on the advertising/film side of things before I moved back to Michigan to go into a project management position in the automotive industry. But I've always kept up some casual work in the music and hospitality industry. I never really loved 9-5 desk jobs, so stepping in to manage the front of house at the brewery made perfect sense to me."

To read more of the story, click here.

PONTIAC, Mich. - Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy held a blessing and groundbreaking ceremony for the new science, art and technology wing to be built on its campus in Pontiac. The event, which included school administration officials, donors, board members, teachers, parents and students, took place Tuesday, June 6, at 11:30 a.m., outside the school's media center.

In early March, school officials launched the public phase of the "March on to Victory" capital campaign with a goal of raising a total of $5.5 million toward the $7.5 million science, art and technology facility.

According to Andy Guest, Notre Dame's head of school, to date nearly $5 million has been raised toward the initial goal of $5.5 million. "We didn't plan on holding this groundbreaking so soon, but the campaign has been doing very well. In fact, we have raised more than $700,000 since we went public on March 9," Guest said at today's groundbreaking ceremony. "And what is very heartening to all of us at Notre Dame is the fact that as of today, a total of nearly $120,000 has been donated to the campaign by members of our faculty and staff."

Fr. Leon Olszamowski, s.m., corporate president for NDPMA, is excited about both the groundbreaking and the forthcoming new facility.

"When we look at our school, we've always tried to be on the cutting edge," he said. 

"The academic program we want to have here now is not to make an education for people living in today's world, but we want one that is designed for generations to come. This groundbreaking and what will follow are yet more positive steps toward ensuring that we have the educational programs necessary for those future students."

To read more of the story, click here.


One hundred seventy six seniors walked across the stage on Sunday, May 21, and received their diplomas after four years at Notre Dame's upper division. Not only does the Class of 2017 leave behind a beautiful campus and a very proud faculty and staff, they leave behind a number of impressive statistics as a group.

Photos from the Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement ceremony are available  here.

According to figures released yesterday by Notre Dame Prep's counseling department, this year's class of graduating seniors earned an astounding total of $21,842,307 to date in academic scholarships from colleges and universities. That total amount of dollars works out to more than a $124,000 average for each member of the class, surpassing the average of the last two Notre Dame Prep graduating classes.

In addition, the Class of 2017 averaged 27.2 on the ACT, matching the Class of 2016 and several classes before that. (Note: Last year, the average composite ACT score for all Michigan students was 20.3, out of a possible 36.) The counseling department also said that this year's graduates include 56 who scored a 30 or above on the ACT, which was the same number of last year's class, and averaged a 1226 on the 1600 SAT. Notre Dame's 2017 grads finished the year with an overall grade-point-average (GPA) of 3.81, an improvement over last year's 3.76.

Twenty-eight graduates fill out this year's valedictory court for the class, which also features 42 candidates for the prestigious International Baccalaureate diploma. In addition, many of the finest colleges and universities across the country will welcome all of these graduates in the fall, including the University of Michigan, the University of Notre Dame and Columbia University.

And finally, perhaps most important, this year's graduating class logged more than 14,000 hours in community service-once again proving that besides turning out "academic scholars," Notre Dame continues to graduate "Christian people and upright citizens."


Notre Dame's Killer Bees, the school's award-winning robotics team, just finished another highly successful season of competition. Jim Zondag, an engineer at FCA Chrysler and team leader for the Bees, checked in to define and explain how the team ended up with its third state championship along with a host of other wins and accolades during the 2017 season.

His first word was "wow," which is a pretty good summation of the season and of the Bees. "It was another great season for our team," he said. "And it was our 22nd year of competitive robotics."

According to Zondag, the game challenge prescribed by FIRST Robotics at the beginning of the season was called "SteamWorks." It's a highly interactive three vs. three robot game involving gathering and scoring large plastic gears, shooting plastic whiffle balls into a goal, and climbing a rope with the robot, which was how teams could gain bonus points at the end of the each game. 
"Our team of 41 students worked very hard to design and build another great robot," he said. "The mentors and students worked together every day in January and February to create CAD models, fabricate parts, write software, install electronics, assemble systems, perform testing, and train for competition."

Zondag said his team typically builds two robots each year, and this year both of the Killer Bees' machines were completed on time well before the Feb. 21 project deadline. 
"These robots were very fast and very capable, and we had high hopes for the new season," he said. 

Key members of the team were also chosen before competition began, and the Bees tabbed as its "competition team" Notre Dame seniors Adam Calvaneso (driver), Cory Ness (operator), Mary Riss (pilot) and Laura Lund (human player). So it was all systems go for the Bees, who were very anxious to get the robot rolling in real competition.

To read more on the Bees, click here.


The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) announced this week that Notre Dame senior Luke Adams has been named a 2017 All-American Athlete of the Year Award recipient. This award recognizes the athletic accomplishments of Adams as well as his dedication to strength and conditioning.  "Nominated by Notre Dame strength and conditioning coach  Jake Siebert , Adams's determination to improve in athletics while maintaining academic prominence is a great model for all student-athletes at Notre Dame," said a press release issued by the NSCA.
"Also, we are glad that Siebert joined the NSCA to ensure athlete safety and improve athletic performance," said Scott Caulfield, the NSCA's head strength and conditioning coach. "Supporting NSCA-certified coaches and student-athletes like Luke is the foundation the NSCA is built upon."

Siebert said that Adams has been one of the hardest working student-athletes he's ever worked with. "His work ethic is second to none and it shows in his athletic and academic success," Siebert said. "I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to nominate him for this award." 

Adams has been a four-year starter for the Fighting Irish football team where he's earned spots on Michigan's All-State, All-Catholic and Academic All State teams among many others. He will be attending and playing football at Columbia University in the fall. 

To read more on Adams, click here.
For more Notre Dame news,  click here.
  • The athletic office is looking for the following coaches: 
    Freshman Volleyball, Middle School Football, Middle School Soccer, Varsity Baseball, interested candidates should email 
  • SAVE THE DATE! Homecoming is October 6
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Don't forget to utilize the alumni business directory


Be sure to check out our alumni business directory. If you would like to add your business to our list, please contact Beth Campbell at

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:
Doreen Putnam- Mother of John '03 (NDP) 3-24-17

Michael Bielec - Father of Miles '77 (NDHS) 4-11-17

William Martin - Father of W. Daniel '79 (NDHS) 4-9-17

Kathleen Peitz - Mother of David '79 (NDHS) and James '89 (NDHS) 5-13-17

Eugene McAtamney - Father of William '75 (NDHS), Chris '85 (NDHS) and the late Eugene '83 (NDHS) 5-8-17

Helen O'Brien - Mother of Mike '63 (NDHS), Tom '67 (NDHS), Pat '71 (NDHS), 
Chuck '74 (NDHS) , Bill '78 (NDHS) and Joe '81 (NDHS) 5-7-17

David Olewin '67 (NDHS) 5-4-17

Lenore Burlingame - Mother of Jeff '88 (NDHS) 5-13-17

William Pullen - Father of Greg '71 (NDHS) and Rick'72 (NDHS) 5-23-17

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.