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It’s not a list
Not a List

It is a difficult task to put into words what Notre Dame is and what sets it apart from other schools.  What makes this task difficult is not what to list, but that it is not a list. It is an ever evolving story book made up of people, actions, and events.  It is the stories of a student losing a $50 dollar bill and it being returned to the office, holding a graduation ceremony early for a student’s mother that will not live to see the actual graduation ceremony, the school coming together to support the family of a student lost in a car accident, or to support a partner school principal after losing her husband in the San Bernardino terrorist attacks that makes Notre Dame who it is. Every school has a list of AP classes, sports and awards, but deep down what matters is how will the leadership, faculty, staff, students, parents, and alumni support each other. In short, it is a feeling of community and a strong sense belonging.


The definition of community is a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. If I had to use just one word to explain what sets Notre Dame apart from other schools, I would use the word “Community”.   Within the Riverside area, there are many good schools. These schools all offer AP classes, successful sports programs and a long list of co-curricular activities. The one thing that those schools cannot offer, but Notre Dame can, is a caring Catholic school culture with the support of a large community of alumni, parents, teachers, staff and students.


I attended Catholic school grades K-8 and then a public high school. I had thought in my younger years that every high school is the same. As I grew older, I began to notice the differences that Notre Dame offered students. Now that I am a part of the Notre Dame family, I see even more of how I missed out. I see the guidance students receive for classes and college, the openness of the administration and teachers to assist students and their families, and the sense of belonging long after graduation has passed.  


Alumni speak of how without the guidance of teachers and administrators they do not know where they may be now. Many have remained close with their respective classes and have regular gatherings.  Notre Dame alumni range from business owners, doctors, assembly men, deputy district attorneys, and the list goes on.  It is clear that Notre Dame alumni go on to serve their community.


Notre Dame High School is a school where students are not only educated, but belong to a community that will support the student to graduation and beyond. Notre Dame is a school where students learn to be successful in the classroom and in life.  There is a difference and it’s worth it.


Ashley Vallin
Director of Admission