Notre Dame Alumni E-Newsletter
October 2017
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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 even though the weather was touch and go. 

More than 125 alumni and their families joined us at the Fr. Colin House for a pre-game tailgate with appetizers and drinks. The kids especially enjoyed the green and gold candy bar and the bounce house! It was so great to see so many families enjoying the night!

Saturday morning, the 4th annual Notre Dame 5K Fun Run turned out to be a huge success with more than 135 runners. Click here to see the runners times and pictures from the event.

It was an amazing weekend packed with so much fun. We hope you will make a special effort to join us next year!

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

Enjoy fall!

Beth Campbell
Director of Alumni Relations

Upcoming Events

November 1- Alumni Career Speakers Series
Focus on the automotive industry 
We are still looking for speakers. If you are interested in sharing your career with our students please contact, Mike Kastler '75 (NDHS), Alumni board member, at  

November 5- Notre Dame Open House
Please mark your calendar for Sunday, 11/5, when Notre Dame will be holding its fall Open House from 1 to 4 p.m. No matter if your child is looking to enter Junior Kindergarten (age 3 and 4) or 9th grade, you'll meet teachers, coaches, administrators and parents while taking a tour with one of our student representatives. You'll discover the benefits of the world-renowned International Baccalaureate program we provide. You'll see award-winning artistry, and see performers in action. You'll learn about opportunities in sports, clubs, and competitions. Most importantly, you'll learn about how students put faith into action as they become Christians, citizens and scholars.

November 17-   Alumni Theatre Night

The Notre Dame Alumni Association (NDAA) is excited to host alumni night at this year's high school musical, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. 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

"Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella is the new Broadway adaptation of the classic musical. This contemporary take on the classic tale features Rodgers & Hammerstein's most beloved songs, including "In My Own Little Corner," "Impossible/It's Possible" and "Ten Minutes Ago," alongside a hilarious and romantic libretto by Tony Award nominee Douglas Carter Beane as well as some new characters, and surprising twists.

"Originally presented on television in 1957 starring Julie Andrews, Rodgers & Hammerstein's CINDERELLA was twice re-made, first in 1965 for Lesley Ann Warren and then again in 1997 featuring Brandy and Whitney Houston. The original Broadway production opened in 2013 and starred Laura Osnes, Santino Fontana, Victoria Clark and Harriet Harris."


  • The athletic department is looking for a middle division boys basketball coach. If you are interested please contact, Maureen Radulski, 


There currently are about 600,000 certified aircraft pilots in the U.S. One of those pilots now flying in and out of the U.S. is Notre Dame alum Nick Bonello, who says he's had a desire to fly airplanes since he was quite young. He also admits that he had zero flight knowledge or experience when he enrolled in Western Michigan University's flight program after graduating from Notre Dame Prep in 2012. 

"Training to fly an airplane could take a wide range of avenues for prospective pilots," said Bonello, who currently flies for a private company at the Oakland County International Airport in Waterford. "You can learn in the military, college or by taking lessons at personal expense. I chose to go the college route and attended the WMU College of Aviation's flight science undergraduate program."

He said the first step for him after college was to receive his basic pilot license. Next, he trained for instrument-rating certification and for a commercial pilot license, which is divided into single-engine and multi-engine licenses. 

"Basically, a commercial pilot license allows a pilot to be compensated for his flight duties," he said. 

However, after graduating in the spring of 2016 from WMU, Bonello chose to pursue a certified flight instructor (CFI) track that allowed him to teach others about flight where they too would eventually receive their own private pilot and commercial pilot licenses, he said.

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

Check out many of the Notre Dame alumni who were at the homecoming celebration this past weekend and wanted to say two words: "Go Irish!" We're so happy they did! 

We tried to get as many on videos as possible, but with such a large group of alums, we likely missed more than a few. Enjoy!


Beloved teacher and coach was one of the first faculty members on staff at Harper Woods Notre Dame High School.

Teacher, coach and athletic director Tom Kelly was a fixture on the Harper Woods Notre Dame High School campus nearly from the moment it opened until his untimely death in 1976 at age 50 after a year-long battle with brain cancer. 

Last month, a plaque that was presented to his family at a dedication of the school's gymnasium shortly after Kelly's passing was donated to Pontiac Notre Dame following the recent death of Kelly's wife, Virginia, at the age of 90.

Fr. Normand Martin, s.m., who served at the Harper Woods Notre Dame campus with Kelly, delivered the following eulogy at that 1976 dedication.

A beautiful man

(A eulogy for Thomas W. Kelly delivered in 1976 by his good friend, Fr. Normand Martin, s.m., who was at the time rector of Notre Dame High School.)

"What a beautiful man." This is a description of Tom given by one who knew him best, Gini, his wife. Often she reiterated that phrase while visiting him at the hospital. Each one of us certainly share her sentiments. 

Tom was a beautiful man - an ideal husband and on ideal father, a man devoted to his wife and family and completely dedicated to Notre Dame and his work. 

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

When Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston, Texas, area a few weeks back, a number of businesses, including those in the restaurant industry not affected as much by the storm, stepped up and offered assistance to those most affected.

Among those was The Big Salad LLC, a "fresh restaurant" concept for those seeking a healthier diet and lifestyle at fast food prices, founded by Notre Dame alum John Bornoty, Class of 1988. One of his franchisees, located in Richmond, Texas, a few miles southwest of downtown Houston, began to serve free meals after Harvey hit the Texas 
Gulf coast in late August.

"Mauro and Celma [Forastieiri] are exactly the kind of owners we want in our franchise family and this is exactly the type of event we want our owners orchestrating," said Bornoty, who also flew to Texas to help out. "Richmond was our first restaurant outside the state of Michigan. We love being here. We love the people and we are grateful for the chance to show that love."

A winding road

For Bornoty, loving your customers and loving what you do for a living seems to be a fairly consistent theme for him even before he started The Big Salad. You can also add diversity in entrepreneurship to his M.O.

"Some people have a career path of the straight-and-narrow kind, where my path has been more like a winding road," Bornoty said during a recent interview with the Notre Dame Alumni Association. "Always having been driven by the entrepreneurial spirit, my career has taken me from concert promoting, to automotive marketing to technology to the restaurant industry. 

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

It's often said that Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy feels like a family, albeit one with more than 15,000 members if you include students, parents, alumni, alum parents and faculty and staff. But if there is one "actual" family that represents what Notre Dame is all about, it might be the Yanik family.

Mary Yanik is a senior at the school's upper division and Tyler, who is the school's head wrestling coach, graduated from Notre Dame Prep in 2012. Their brother Ryan, who currently works for Apple, graduated in 2010. Mom Sheri is on staff at NDPMA's advancement office and has been a strong supporter and volunteer with the athletic booster club for many years. And then there's dad, Ron Yanik, also a graduate of Notre Dame (Class of 1978) and also a very familiar presence on campus as a volunteer. 

"I'm actually the manager as well as the head chef at Duckett's and I help my dad with most of the day-to-day work," said Tyler, who attended Grand Valley State University and is finishing up a degree in integrative studies at Oakland University. He said he and his dad oftentimes compare notes from their high school experiences: Ron at Harper Woods Notre Dame, and Tyler at Pontiac NDP. 

"Most of my dad's stories are about when he would help the school's sports teams as a student trainer," he said. "He says he loved his time at ND and often brings up helping the various sports teams with taping ankles, etc., and the fact that they used to call him 'Doc Yanik.'"

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

Ben Derico finds that he's doing what he loves for a living and credits his time at Notre Dame for giving him the head start necessary for not only a successful working career, but for getting him through college with flying colors.

This 2007 ND Prep alum, who is making waves in Chicago with his video production business, also said his classes at Notre Dame fostered both a real love for learning and the ability to be a storyteller for those whose stories need to be told.

Read below a recent interview the Notre Dame Alumni Association conducted with Derico from his studio in Chicago. It has been edited for clarity and space.

You've been working for a while for yourself in Chicago in video production. How did you get to that point? Was it part of a plan you hatched at Notre Dame Prep?

As my time at Notre Dame Prep wound down, I wasn't really sure where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do next. I had applied to schools in Michigan, Ohio and Chicago, and liked them all for different reasons. But I didn't have a very particular pull to any one school over the others. My initial idea was to attend the linguists program at the University of Michigan where I'd continue studying with some of my friends from NDP. I had always enjoyed my Spanish and French classes at NDP, so it felt like a good move - especially so after traveling with the NDP AP Spanish class on a two-week-long trip to Spain, I realized I wanted to learn more than just the language. I wanted to learn about different people and new places. In Spain during my NDP trip, I was able to try new food and see a culture and landscape very different from the one I knew in the Detroit area. I knew then that I had to find a way to get back someday and experience that country
 even more.

So as soon as I got home, I looked at which schools offered a study-abroad program in Madrid. Loyola University in Chicago was offering a full-year exchange program at the Complutense University of Madrid, a public research university located in Madrid and one of the oldest universities in the world. It actually was through a partner program with a fellow Jesuit school, Marquette University in Milwaukee. So that was it! I made my decision and packed up for Chicago. I would attend LU in Chicago and then spend one year in Spain to learn everything I could.

So what was it like attending your first year of college in Chicago?

Arriving at LUC, I felt much more prepared for the academic challenges of a university class load than for the new life I was living in the nation's third largest city. I spent my (late) mornings in class and my afternoons exploring the city. I got involved with a bike club and soon began traversing the dozens of neighborhoods throughout the city on on two wheels.
Meanwhile, at school, I was searching through a wide variety of classes to try and figure out what major I wanted to pursue. Jumping from philosophy classes to political science, English literature, and even classical guitar, I tried my best to use the full offering of liberal arts classes available to me help me find my "true calling." 


Barbara (Croteau) Thomas turns 90 this November, a milestone worthy of celebration and praise. One would think this alum of St. Michael, Class of 1945, would be looking forward to a quiet and relaxing little party with family and friends. 
But for Thomas, nothing about her past 89 birthdays would suggest quiet and relaxing are part of her M.O. at all. That's because in addition to being a willing participant in a life "well-lived," Thomas has been an advocate of - and participant in - extreme sports for most of her golden years.

"Life is good and I live it everyday," she said recently during an interview with the Notre Dame Alumni Association. "Every morning I thank God and say, 'Good morning, Abba, take my hand and like a child let me walk or fly with you for all of my days.'"

And boy, has He taken her hand! In the past few decades, while her peers have been shuffleboarding and watching daily episodes of Jeopardy, Thomas has been paragliding, parasailing, white-water rafting down the Colorado River, zip-lining through a rainforest, riding on hot air balloons and sky diving.

She brought up another youthful 'indiscretion,' but this time her brothers had an accomplice. 
"When we were younger, probably not yet in high school, I remember the nuns used to put their milk jugs outside every week for the milkman," she said. "One time my brothers and I switched all the milk jugs with beer bottles from our dad's store across the street."

Thomas concedes, though, that her brothers weren't all that bad now that she has the benefit of hindsight.

"Our parents owned a grocery store right across the street from the school so they couldn't have gotten away with too much because the nuns would just walk over to the store and tell on them," she recalled.

She also recalled a couple of the priests at the school.

"I remember Father Wenz, who taught religion at St. Mike's, would teach and smoke out one of the windows during the whole class period," she said. "And Father Elmer-Mahoney! He was a young, good-looking priest who would skate on the pond outside of school and all the girls had a crush on him and would just stare out the window and not pay attention in class."


PONTIAC, Mich. - Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy announced today that it has secured a $1 million gift from an anonymous donor to support an extensive renovation of the school's softball and baseball fields. The donation represents the largest designated gift to the school in its 23-year history.

"This unbelievably generous gift to Notre Dame and its athletic department ensures that our softball and baseball complex will provide the best possible environment for our student-athlete ballplayers," said Betty Wroubel, Notre Dame's athletic director, assistant principal and head softball coach. "Coupled with the recent upgrades to our stadium, we believe we will have one of the finest high school athletic facilities in southeast Michigan."

According to Wroubel, the gift will make possible the installation of field turf on both the infield and outfield of the softball and baseball fields, which are located on the northeast section of the Notre Dame campus in Pontiac. In addition, both backstops and the softball dugouts will be completely replaced and a permanent press box will be built at the baseball field.

Other projects in the renovation plan include completely new bullpens and batting cages for both softball and baseball, baseball dugout upgrades and an improved drainage system throughout the complex.

Jason Gendreau, who recently was hired as the head baseball coach at Notre Dame, is beyond excited about the news.

"We are so grateful for this unselfish and thoughtful gift," he said. "I already was looking very much forward to my first season leading the Irish baseball program. This takes my excitement quotient to a completely different level." 
Gendreau said the renovations are expected to be completed before baseball and softball seasons begin in the spring of 2018.

"We are humbled and grateful for the tremendous generosity of the donor funding the renovation of our baseball and softball diamonds," said Notre Dame's Director of Advancement Gregory Simon. "The completion of this project is a testament to the impact of the Notre Dame experience. We have an extraordinary donor who's passion and generosity lined up with a need on campus. But more than that, the gift is a clear sign of the donor's confidence, dedication and belief in our mission."

Notre Dame Head of School Andy Guest said that benefactors like the one behind this latest gift are truly representative of what Notre Dame is all about.

"We are very fortunate to have such a generous friend who believes so deeply in the value of the mission of our school," he said. "On top of that, our donor's wish to remain anonymous speaks to our Marist charism, which calls on people to do good for others but remain 'hidden and unknown' leaders within the school community." 

Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy announced that Elizabeth Brisley and Fabian Fregoli have been named school trustees. According to school officials, the new trustees were approved by the board on August 16, 2017.

Daron Gifford, chair of the school's Board of Trustees, said Brisley and Fregoli are great complements to an already robust group.

"Liz and Fabian represent so well the future of our great school," Gifford said. "They are strong advocates of Notre Dame's central mission and their impressive resumes will bring wonderfully diverse viewpoints to our board."

Fr. Paul Frechette, s.m., who is provincial superior of the Society of Mary, U.S.A. Province, which sponsors Notre Dame's Catholic identity and mission, also approved the two new trustees.

To read more about Brisley and Fregoli, click here.

For the second time in three years, Notre Dame Preparatory School was named the top Catholic high school in the state of Michigan, according to Niche, a national organization that annually ranks colleges and K-12 schools across the country. Niche also rated Notre Dame Prep the 6th best private high school, religious or non-religious, in the state and 65th best Catholic high school in the entire country.

In 2016, NDP also was named the #1 Catholic high school in Michigan by Niche.
For this latest round of rankings, Niche named Notre Dame Prep #5 of the best college prep high schools in Michigan (public or private).

For K-12 private schools in Michigan, Niche rated NDPMA 3rd best, with Cranbrook and Country Day ranked one and two, respectively, on the list.

According to Niche, the 2018 Best Catholic High Schools ranking provides a comprehensive assessment of the overall experience at a Catholic high school. This grade takes into account key factors such as the strength of academics, school culture and diversity, as well as student and parent reviews, in an attempt to measure the overall excellence of the school.

"Not only is Notre Dame the #1 best Catholic high school in Michigan, but it's within the top 100 in America (out of over 1,100)," said Jessica Hair, Niche's marketing outreach coordinator. "Our rankings really strive to capture the entire experience of attending a school, so Notre Dame's great ranking represents excellence among all aspects of the student experience - from great test scores and high college enrollment rates to student and parent satisfaction with the quality of education."


At Notre Dame's 2017 Oktoberfest celebration - its 10th annual - which was held September 30 on the school's Pontiac campus, the winning Super Raffle tickets were drawn from tens of thousands of tickets that were sold, netting the lucky winners big prizes. Raffle ticket holders 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 proceeds from the raffle will help Notre Dame with financial aid, continuing technology upgrades for the students and other classroom enhancements.
Hundreds of Notre Dame families, alumni, faculty, staff and friends attended the celebration, which featured cocktails, a special barbecue dinner and music. See photos below from last night's event.

Also, at Oktoberfest, the following members of the Notre Dame school community were named 2017 Volunteers of the Year: Rumia Burbank, Donald Ridge, Kathleen Conroy, Teresa Famularo and Elizabeth Brisley. Congratulations!

Congratulations to the 2017 NDPMA Super Raffle winners! The winning ticket numbers are: 

$50,000:   30928
$10,000:   25477
$5,000:     05561
$2,500:     02051
$1,000:     20036
$1,000:     33980
$1,000:     31203 

To see pictures from Oktoberfest, click here.


Notre Dame held its annual St. Peter Chanel Dinner last night, which, for the fourth year in a row, was hosted by Andiamo Italia and its owner, Notre Dame alumnus Joe Vicari '(75). The food and ambiance  were exceptional as per usual and this year's program focused on the exceptional talent of the school's many students involved with robotics.

St. Peter Chanel Society members are recognized every year for their generous support of NDPMA and for exceptional enthusiasm for the school's role in private, Catholic education.

In addition, Andy Guest, Notre Dame's head of school, presented a State of the School address to attendees last night, the entire transcript of which is reproduced below.

Good evening! I have addressed this audience every year for the past 13 years, but this is the first time I have addressed you, officially, as the head of school. So I thought I would take this opportunity to provide both an update on the school and to share my vision of the school with you.

But first, I must tip my hat to the Marist Fathers and Brother Louis, who have managed the school since its inception in 1994. Fr. Joe Hindelang, s.m., who was the Marist provincial at the time, accepted the invitation from Cardinal Maida to resurrect what was then Pontiac/Oakland Catholic, and appointed Fr. Leon Olszamowski, s.m., the task to reconfigure, rebrand and relaunch the school.

When the Marists first took charge of the school in 1994 there were only 83 returning students. Since that time, the school has grown in acreage, building capacity, number of students and financial sustainability. Today, we have 1083 students from JK - 12th grade located on 88 acres of property and occupying 187,000 square feet of building space.

To read more of Andy Guest's speech, click here.

For more Notre Dame news,  click here.

When Lauren Zajdel was in college, she had her mind set on becoming an illustrator. But when she neared her BFA degree from the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio, the Great Recession was hitting the U.S. economy and she thought she needed a fallback plan since jobs for illustrators were becoming scarce. Turns out her plan B was what led her to NDPMA this fall to teach art in the school's middle division.

"When I was at CCAD, the school began offering the opportunity to receive a teaching license through another nearby school, Notre Dame College in South Euclid," said Zajdel, who grew up in Shelby Township, Mich. "We were the guinea pigs for the program, and the biggest incentive for those of us who attended was the free tuition."

Zajdel said the program itself did not last and she was one of only three who actually completed it with a teaching degree. 

"My major at CCAD was illustration with a minor in art history," she said. "But I figured that adding a teaching license couldn't hurt my chances of landing a job once I graduated. I wanted to have as many possibilities for myself as possible when looking for a job."

To read more on Zajdel's story, click here.
For the seventh year in a row, Special Olympics Michigan athletes battled it out at Fiat Chrysler's Chelsea Proving Grounds in the coveted state cycling finals on Saturday, September 30. What turned out to be a crisp, clear fall day set the scene for more than 150 athletes and a solid support system of coaches, family, friends and volunteers, which included Notre Dame upper division teachers Mark McCaskey and Brian Perry.

The events in Chelsea were part of Special Olympics Michigan's State Fall Games, which offered a high profile, exciting event for approximately 1,600 Special Olympics Michigan athletes to showcase their skills in flag football, soccer, cycling, softball, golf and kayaking.

McCaskey, an NDP math teacher, and Perry, who teaches social studies, along with numerous other cycling volunteers, rode with the athletes and encouraged them to ride fast, helped them keep track of laps in longer races, gave them someone to chase, and praised them afterwards. Events varied but most were shorter than 1K. Some, however, went up to 10K. 

For more than four decades, the Special Olympics has provided children and adults with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to train and compete in a wide range of year-round sport competitions totaling more than 440 local and regional activities annually. Cycling is one of a nearly dozen state-level competitions held annually for its athletes with 15 individual and team events using bicycles and tricycles.

The two Notre Dame teachers rode more than 40 miles in helping out on Saturday.
The Special Olympics Michigan organizes more than 440 annual local and regional competitions.
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:

Norman Yurkie- Father of Matt '79 (NDHS) 10-13-17

Theodore Zech - Father of Gary '68 (NDHS), Tom '69 (NDHS), Bob '74 (NDHS); grandfather of Rebecca Racz NDP '09 (NDP) and Jonathan Racz '12 (NDP) 10-11-17

Dottie Carroll- Faculty, worked in school cafeteria 10-10-17

Peter Marvin - Father of Brian '92 (NDHS) and Kevin '95 (NDHS)10-5-17

John Sienkiewicz- '62 (NDHS) 10-1-17

Shirley LaRocca - Mother of Bill '78 (NDHS) and secretary at NDHS. 9-1-17

Joanne M. (Marge) Locricchio- Mother of Matt '69 (NDHS) and Mike ' 70 (NDHS) 8-28-17

Fr. Joe Chasse- Teacher, dean of discipline, and then rector at Notre Dame from 1956-1971 8-20-17

Harvey G. Rouleau, Jr- Father of Mary '74 (PC), Colette '75 (PC), Christine '76 (PC), Joe '78 (PC), Anne '79 (PC) and Julie '81 (PC). Grandfather of Erin Caton '14 (NDP) and Daniel Caton Jr. '17 (NDP)

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.