Notre Dame Alumni E-Newsletter
October 2016
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Dear , 

It was wonderful to see so many alumni participate in this year's Homecoming weekend! We had a record-breaking crowd and the weather was perfect. We hope you enjoyed the many changes and improvements to the event.

Over 125 alumni joined us at the Fr. Colin House for a pre-game tailgate with appetizers and drinks. Alumni enjoyed painting the new ND "rock" with their class year.

The new alumni entrance right off of Giddings Road also proved to provide easy access in and out of the game. It was a heartbreaking loss for the Irish but I was thrilled to welcome more than 250 alumni back to campus. 

On Saturday morning, the 3rd annual Notre Dame 5K Fun Run turned out to be a huge success with more than 170 runners. 

To see a photo gallery of the weekend, click here.

Enjoy fall!

Beth Campbell
Director of Alumni Relations

Upcoming Events

November 3- Alumni Career Speakers Series
Focus on Entrepreneurship 

November 18-   Alumni Theatre Night

The Notre Dame Alumni Association (NDAA) is excited to host alumni night at this year's high school musical, Cole Porter's Anything Goes. We are offering complimentary tickets to the first 20 alumni interested in attending. Additional tickets for alumni will be offered at a discounted rate. Refreshments will be served after the show as we invite alumni to attend the opening night cast party backstage. If you are interested in reserving your seats, please email

November 22- Alumni Career Speakers Series
Focus on Business 

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


  • Interested in coaching at NDP? Our girl's basketball program is looking for a JV coach for the winter season. If you interested, please contact Maureen Radulski at
  • Join hundreds of interested parents and their children who will be attending Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy's 2016 Open House on Sunday, November 6, from 1 to 4 p.m. They will experience the school's junior-kindergarten through 12th grades and learn about what the school's lower, middle and upper divisions have to offer in terms of an overall excellent educational experience and the school's rigorous International Baccalaureate program.

To hear alum Marisa Sochacki ('06) tell it, her passion for helping others began at Notre Dame and manifested itself at college when she began traveling internationally to serve those desperately in need.  
"One thing I've learned as I've traveled the world is that who I am today is a result of my past experiences," said Sochacki, who earned a doctorate in pharmacy at the University of Toledo in 2012. "My values and passions for helping others are continually developing, but those seeds were first planted during my high school years at Notre Dame." 

She said though it's sometimes hard to appreciate initially, community service is something that cannot be ignored. 

"We Notre Damers have an obligation to ensure that others get many of the opportunities that we had - or better! Our alma mater is like our family. NDP supported us, so like good, Christian people, we must do the same, in whatever way we can."

Since high school, Sochacki's "family" has expanded in both scope and geography.
After graduating from NDP in 2006, Sochacki attended the University of Toledo to study in its pharmacy program, which consisted of two 'pre-professional' years followed by a very competitive application process into the 'professional division.' The last four years of pharmacy school, according to Sochacki, consisted of vigorous, year-round academic and onsite practice modules.

During college, she also was involved with intramurals, church groups, she worked as an intern, and also held leadership positions within a number of pharmacy organizations. She began traveling to Haiti for service work in 2008, and visited at least twice per year during college. It is during college, specifically in 2010, that she began to work very closely with a Haitian orphanage, Foyer des Enfants de la Providence, in the city of Les Cayes. By the way, Sochacki also managed at the same time to graduate with a doctor of pharmacy degree (Pharm.D) in 2012 as one of four valedictorians, the credit for which she gives partly to Notre Dame. 

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

Jake Matthews graduated from Notre Dame in 2013. Since then, this talented drummer has been extremely busy with a burgeoning career in music that seemingly knows few bounds.

"Actually, even during high school, but more so afterwards, I've had the good fortune of performing consistently in many types of music-related jobs," said Matthews, who is in his fourth year of studies at Wayne State University. "The five genres of music that I predominately find myself working in are jazz, musical theatre, classical, rock and 'miscellaneous.'"

He's also an intern at Detroit's own Mack Avenue Records and recently worked at the 2016 Detroit Jazz Festival as a VIP Artist Host. If all that isn't enough, for some time now, he's been a member of the Daniel Meinecke Trio that performs at Cliff Bell's Jazz Club in Detroit every Saturday night (6-8:30 p.m.). 

A music business major with a concentration in jazz percussion and a minor in business, Matthews said so far his college experience at WSU has been great. And he credits his high school for a good deal of that.

"I feel that my education at NDP helped prepare me for success by teaching me to stay determined in my studies," he said. "Notre Dame also taught me to always work hard and to act professional around the people with whom I associate myself."

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

Many Notre Dame alums say that their high school experience set them up for future success in college and career. Many also say they wish more had the same opportunity they had in receiving such a well-rounded and high-quality secondary education.

One alum in particular, Thomas "Mac" O'Brien '99 (NDP), said he fits squarely into both categories. But he also adds a third category: He actually is doing something about helping to make sure others get a Notre Dame education.

"You don't get through life by yourself," he said. "People and organizations have an impact on who you are and where you go in life. As far as a concrete example of this, I am certain that among other positive things I received from my NDP education, a recommendation letter a faculty member wrote for me had a large part in me getting into the University of Michigan.

"So when I donate to NDP, I request that my donation goes towards 'Mary's Way.' This program provides students access to a Notre Dame education through scholarships and financial aid."

For sure, O'Brien attributes his current career success in the finance industry to his high school education. And for sure, a lot of to came from his U-M education. But he doesn't put the cart before the horse. If it wasn't for NDP, he notes, U-M may not have gone so well for him.

To read more on O'Brien story, click  here. 

Winning face-offs in lacrosse is a big deal. So big, in fact, there are special training centers and camps across the country dedicated to creating experts in lacrosse face-offs. One such expert is 2004 Notre Dame alum Brekan Kohlitz, who after graduating from Notre Dame, went on to play and help win a national championship for the University of Michigan.

At face-offs, there were few better than Kohlitz, high school or college. At Notre Dame he won 90 percent of his face-offs and as a senior at U-M, won more than 70 percent, which later helped land him spots on a number of professional teams in the U.S.
"Playing lacrosse at U-M was one of the best times of my life," Kohlitz said. "During my time there, Michigan only had a varsity club lacrosse program, meaning we were recognized by the university, but not fully sanctioned. But we played in the very competitive MCLA league."

Michigan made the MCLA tournament and competed for a national title in each of Kohlitz's four years there and the team got better and better over time, according to Kohlitz. 

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

N otre Dame seniors Micaela Gleason and Brendan Fraser were named school winners for the nationally recognized Wendy's® High School Heisman Award. Gleason and Fraser were selected based on their outstanding academic and athletic achievements, and leadership within their communities. Based on his state finalist status (one of 20: 10 boys, 10 girls), Fraser now has a chance to be named a state winner, which could lead to national honors, typically announced during ESPN's broadcast of the college Heisman Memorial Trophy presentation in December. 

Eligibility for this honor begins with maintaining a GPA of 3.0 (B average) or better. Applicants also need to be proven leaders and role models within their school and community. And applicants must perform in at least one of the 43 school-sponsored sports recognized by the International Olympic Committee in the Summer and Winter Olympic Games or the National Federation of State High School Associations.
Fraser participates in cross country, track and field and wrestling. Gleason has competed on the Irish volleyball and softball teams.

For more than 20 years, the Wendy's High School Heisman Award has recognized the achievements of exceptionally well-rounded students. Like the collegiate Heisman Memorial Trophy, known as the highest award in college football, the Wendy's High School Heisman Program honors the all-star performances of high school seniors in the classroom, on the field and in the community.


Notre Dame held its annual St. Peter Chanel Dinner on October 12, which, for the third year in a row, was hosted by Andiamo Italia and its owner, Notre Dame alumnus Joe Vicari '(75). The food and ambience were exceptional as per usual and this year's program focused on the exceptional talent of the school's many student-artists for the more than 120 people in attendance. 

Notre Dame senior Mariel Manzor gave the student address and highlighted this year's featured program - visual arts. Manzor is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program candidate and presented several pieces of her portfolio, which explored her family's American story and their journey from Lebanon and Cuba to the United States.

"The Notre Dame Fund's St. Peter Chanel Society members are an inspiration," said Gregory Simon, director of the Notre Dame Fund. "With members ranging from one to 19 years of membership, it shows how committed our members are to the mission, vision, and especially to students at our school."

To read more about the St. Peter Chanel dinner, click here. 

To see a photo gallery from the event, click here.

At Notre Dame's 2016 Oktoberfest celebration held Saturday, October 1, on the school's Pontiac campus, the winning Super Raffle tickets were drawn, netting the lucky ticket holders big prizes. Raffle ticket purchasers had a chance of winning one of the seven main prizes: $50,000, $10,000, $5,000, $2,500, and three $1,000 payouts.

The net proceeds from the raffle will be used to help Notre Dame with financial aid, continuing technology upgrades for the students and other classroom enhancements.

More than 500 Notre Dame families and friends attended Saturday's celebration, which featured cocktails, dinner and music. 

The school also recognized its Volunteers of the Year for the 2015/2016 school year at the event. They are: Maria D'Agostini, Julie Chow-Wah, Sheila Dulapa and Steve Pangori. Congratulations!

Also, congratulations to the Super Raffle winners! The winning ticket numbers are: 
$50,000 - 32065
$10,000 - 37265
$5,000 - 30553
$2,500 - 161743
$1,000 - 66801
$1,000 - 02532
$1,000 - 27740


Construction began in September on a 7,200 square-foot expansion of Pontiac Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy's lower division, which has experienced a recent uptick in enrollment.

According to Andy Guest, interim president of NDPMA, initial site preparation for the addition will include sod removal, fencing relocation and some parking readjustment.
"We are very pleased to be able to start this project well ahead of winter, which will give us a real opportunity to meet our goal of completing the addition by the school's second semester," said Guest.

Notre Dame's lower division moved from Waterford to a new facility on the school's main campus in Pontiac in 2013. Since then, it has experienced substantial growth in enrollment and its 12 classrooms will grow to 18 when construction is completed in late 2016 or early 2017. The division educates students in junior-kindergarten through grade 5.

To read more, click here.

For more Notre Dame news,  click here.

Mary Watson became a part of Notre Dame's campus ministry department in 2012. Since then she's had enough time to reflect on how she came to the position and, most importantly, why.

"When the part-time opening came up in campus ministry, it fit so perfectly," said Watson, who grew up in Colorado. "After praying about the opportunity, I really felt that I was meant to be here. It's funny, looking back now, I can see how so many things over the years helped to prepare me for this job. But at the time, I had no idea where it was all leading."

Watson previously spent 10 years in the classroom at a Catholic school, where she also managed Bible studies and a prayer group, and was a team member for Awaken Ministry. Prior to that, she worked 10 years in the banking industry.
She said now it all makes sense as most of her experiences provided a personal spiritual direction that have helped her grow in her faith so that "hopefully I can help others grow in the same way."

Helping Notre Dame students in this faith journey consumes a big part of Watson's time on campus.

"The administration of NDPMA and its board are committed to strengthening our Catholic identity and helping our students grow in their faith," she said. "And for all of us in campus ministry, communicating the Marist Way has become a major focus. We constantly strive to help all the students and staff learn what it means to be Marist - to think, feel, judge and act as Mary. The Habits of the Heart, which are virtues that can be practiced in order to help one understand what it is to be Marist, hopefully are becoming part of the daily habits of everyone who walks on our beautiful campus."

To read more on Watson's story, 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:
Jim Nieman - '59 (NDHS) 8-18-16

Charles "Jaws" Jaworski- '64 (NDHS) 8-15-16

Darcy, Doris - Grandmother of Kathleen '05 (NDP), Shannon '08 (NDP) and Kelly '13 (NDP) 8-30-16

Thompson, Dr. William III- '59 (NDHS) 8-28-16

Urban, Robert- '84 (NDHS), Father of Spencer '16 (NDP), Brother of Jacob '77 (NDHS) and Richard '79 (NDHS). 9-10-16

Schram, William "Bill", Former faculty NDHS 9-11-16

Lisabeth, Joyce - Mother of Dave '74 (NDHS) 9-16-16

Valka, Gerald - Father of Brad NDHS '88 9-15-16

Smith, Martin - Father of Kevin '74 (NDHS) and Tim '79 (NDHS) 9-18-16

Hand, Gerald- '59 (NDHS) Father of Michele Loster '82 (PC) 9-23-16

Ertzbischoff, Fr. Edmund- Friend of Notre Dame 10-3-16

St. Louis, Trish- Mother of Anne St. Louis '01 (NDP) 10-5-16

Oliver, Brian- Father of Pat '72 (NDHS), Paul '82 (NDHS), grandfather of Jason NDHS '92 10-5-16

Polsinelli, Maria Domenica - Grandmother of Nino '06 (NDP), Joey '07 (NDP) and Mario '08 (NDP) Zambito 10-7-16

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.