December 14, 2018

During the 2018-19 school year we will observe two Hallmarks: 
Hallmark 4 - We commit ourselves to community service.
Hallmark 6 - We create community among those with whom we work and with those we serve.

Contents below include:



All School

Dear Academy Community,

I would like to take a moment to wish all the members of the NDA community a blessed and joyful Christmas and a very happy and healthy New Year. I hope everyone will be able to take some time over the break to enjoy family and friends, and to relax and recharge for the New Year!

I also want to remind everyone who received a copy of the recent survey from the school to please take a few minutes to complete it. Your feedback is very important to us, and we use it to further strengthen all aspects of NDA. Thank you in advance for your help.

Merry Christmas and God Bless,

Welcome Lauren Marquis as IA Director

Welcome to Lauren Marquis who has accepted the position of Director of Institutional Advancement. Lauren comes to us with 14 years of fundraising and program management experience. She is skilled at designing and implementing strategic solicitations, coordinating meaningful events, and building strong relationships with donors, volunteers, and colleagues. Lauren spent 11 years working at Wheelock College in Boston working up through the ranks from Assistant Director of Annual Giving and Special Events, to Director of Development and Alumni Relations and finally serving as Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations. While at Wheelock, Lauren earned her Master of Science in Organizational Leadership in 2011. She is originally from Methuen and lives in Haverhill with her husband and two young children.

Help Us Continue our Excellence; Your Participation Matters!

From Lauren Marquis, Director of Institutional Advancement:
Cherishing our Mission, Continuing our Excellence is the name of our Annual Fund campaign this year. Thank you to all those who have already supported the Academy’s Annual Fund. We cannot thank you enough for your generosity.  Like most schools, we rely on annual gifts to narrow the gap between tuition and operating expenses. Your contribution is a beautiful demonstration of the commitment of our school community, and will enable us to preserve our rich traditions and enhance our educational standards.

This year, we are focused on highlighting the importance of the Annual Fund and increasing participation from community members. If you have not already made a gift, please consider joining fellow parents, alumnae/i, faculty, staff, and friends with a donation of any size. (Gifts made on or before December 31, 2018 will receive a receipt for 2018 tax purposes.) Collectively, we can make an immediate and powerful impact on the student experience.

Make a Gift

Student Artwork Graces Academy Christmas Card

From Marketing Student Danielle Wuerdeman:
As in years past, Upper School students had the opportunity to submit their own original artwork to be considered for the Academy's official Christmas card.  Beautiful artwork submitted by Sophomore Kate Conrad and Senior Annika Hanson were chosen for the cover and back of the card, respectively. Kate’s cover art is a watercolor and pen piece shaped as a snowglobe and featuring the front of the Academy cast in holiday colors. Snowglobes traditionally symbolize childhood innocence, so this scene represents the happy memories of all students NDA has educated throughout the years. “I am honored that my drawing has been chosen for this year's card," says Kate who wishes everyone a Merry Christmas. Annika’s watercolor piece on the back of the card depicts her classmates skating on Upton Pond.

Merry Christmas from Fonda

From Kim Curran, FoNDA:
Friends of NDA (FoNDA) would like to thank those who contributed to making this year's wreath sale a huge success. On behalf of everyone at FoNDA, we thank you for your support and wish you a Merry Christmas!

Please mark you calendars for our annual Trivia Night to be held at the American Legion Hall, 90 Groton Road, N. Chelmsford at 7 p.m., Saturday, January 19, 2019. Tickets are $20 per person or $120 for a table of eight. For more information, contact Click the button below to register online.

Register Online

From the Editor:

The Bi-Weekly Newsletter is produced by the Communications and Marketing Department. Submissions should be emailed to Cindy Boynton at no later than noon on the Wednesday prior to the Friday publication date. All articles should include vital information, be kept brief and include photos whenever possible. Here is the schedule for the year:

Newsletter Dates and Deadlines 2018-2019

Article Deadlines

Noon, Wednesday, January 2
Noon, Wednesday, January 16
Noon, Wednesday, January 30
Noon, Wednesday, February 13
Noon, Wednesday, March 6
Noon, Wednesday, March 20
Noon, Wednesday, April 3
Noon, Wednesday, April 24
Noon, Wednesday, May 8
Noon, Wednesday, May 22
Noon, Wednesday, June 5

Newsletter Publish Date

Friday, January 4
Friday, January 18
Friday, February 1
Friday, February 15
Friday, March 8
Friday, March 22
Friday, April 5
Friday, April 26
Friday, May 10
Friday, May 24
Friday, June 7

Upper School

The "True Meaning" Conveyed at Christmas Service

From Marketing Student Carrie Sun:
"The True Meaning of Christmas" was the theme of this year's nativity prayer service hosted by Mission and Ministry students. Featuring the talents of the Glee Club and Dance team, the nativity story was told through song, dance, and reenactment. Reflections were given by Mrs. Fish and Kat Aste and touched on theme of the true meaning of Christmas. Both spoke about the importance of family this time of year and that while we should all enjoy the excitement of Christmas gifts and decorating for the holiday, its important to balance that with meaningful contemplation of the miracle that occurred in the most squalid of conditions that Christmas Eve night. The birth of Jesus was God's gift to humanity and in that spirit we should all remember the true meaning of Christmas.

View Photo Gallery

Glee Performance at Ipswich Heartwarming for All

From Marketing Student Cherry Jin:
The NDA Glee Club and piano students, led by Mrs. Amy Marrello, visited the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in Ipswich on December 11th for their annual Christmas performance. Lessons, carols and music of the season made up the program. All members of the the club practiced earnestly for the performance and the Sisters greatly appreciated it. Students also passed out chocolates provided by the National Honor Society. Senior Chloe Liu was moved by the experience, “I found this activity so meaningful for many reasons, but the most important was that it warmed my heart to talk with Sisters.” In agreement with Chloe, all the Glee Club members claimed that they would definitely do it again and make the Christmas performance for Sisters of Notre Dame a lasting tradition. Student performers were Katherine Aste, Rachel Deshaies, Anoutsa Latsapanya, Selena Li, Kathleen Lin, Chloe Liu, Julianna Muiruri, Titiana Tambi, Evangeline Rockwell, Aurelia Yan, Annie Zhang, Rebecca Morgheim, Carrie Sun, Meghan Pefine, Kennedy McCarthy, Carrie Song, and Maria Jia.

Student Councils Puts Students in Spirit of the Season

From Marketing Student Sam Gouveia:
Student Council hosted "12 Days of Christmas" to bring students together and help everyone get into the holiday spirit. They planned a special activity or treat for each of the days beginning on December 4th with the distribution of candycanes. Other activities included Christmas card making, an elf hunt, cookie grams and homemade pretzel sales and several themed dress down days. Saving the best for last, a game of “NDA Family Feud” is scheduled for December 17th-19th.  The sophomores will be pitted against the freshmen on Monday, then the juniors against seniors on Tuesday, and the winners of that match will face the faculty on Wednesday. The annual "Deck the Halls" is also taking place with judging slated for Monday, December 17th. The winning class will be rewarded a lunch party. A huge thank you is extended to each member of the Student Council and their advisors for hosting a thrilling week that undoubtedly relieved the stress of the final push before break.

Mission in Action During Holidays

From Hope Griffin, Director of Campus Ministry:
The members of Mission and Ministry warmed the hearts of residents at Atrium at Drum Hill on December 5th. The annual Christmas service project had students visiting the assisted living facility to make crafts and sing carols with the residents.  The interactions and connections made during the visit was truly heartwarming.

"Green Gables" Receives High Praise

From Marketing Student Chloe Liu:
The play Anne of Green Gables was presented by the Drama Guild and Honor World Literature class on November 30th and December 1st. The play, directed by Mrs. Amy Marrello,  was in rehearsal for almost two months in preparation for their opening night. Zoe Zhao, one of the members in Drama Guild, played the role of Jane in the play. She said that the show was a wonderful experience and remarked that while on stage she overheard an audience remarking about her performance. She said, “This is fun, I like this character!” Another person who attended the performance said it was a nice complement to reading the book.  “I like this play so much. It is insteresting to watch it on stage instead of only reading the textbook," said Annie. "The audience, especially the students who read this novel, it is easier to understand the characters after watching the play because the emotions are being played out for you." The time and effort put into a great performance by cast and crew was evident by all who witnessed their work. Congratulations to the following students:


Anne: Katherine Aste
Marilla: Bec Morgheim
Matthew: Maddie Breault
Mrs. Lynde: Ysenia Collins
Diana: Lucera Story
Mrs. Barry/Mrs. Spencer/Ruby: Jenna Ebeed
Jane: Zoe Zhao
Gilbert: Anoutsa Latsapanya
Moody: Olivia Gavlak
Josie: Charlotte Lokere
Miss Stacy: Helen Stamas


Stage manager: Bri Lavelle
Costumes: Laurie Renke
Lights: Evangeline Rockwell/Liya Mooradian
Sound: Julie Getchell
Set Design: Amy Marrello, Maddie Wallent
Assistants: Joy Tu, Catie Johnson, Kendall Fromont

Photo Gallery

Students Honored for October and November

Students of the Month 
Danielle Wuerdeman was named Student of the Month for October and Mai Detzel was honored for the month of November. Both students make their mark on NDA quietly behind the scenes. Danielle (left) is an efficient organizer who lets others take the limelight. She played a significant role in the success of Ring Day starting preparations months in advance. Thanks to her efforts, and that of her committee, all the event details were tied up nicely ahead of schedule. In fact, the programs were printed three weeks before the event, which is a first in faculty memory.

Mai (left) was the originator of the anonymous affirmations found around campus earlier this year. Her sense of creativity and kindness were highlighted by her quiet campaign to post colorful index cards with positive messages on mirrors in the ladies' bathrooms right where students were most likely to need them!

Distinguished Seniors
The Distinguished Senior honors for October went to Bridget Ryan while recognition for November was directed to both Jillian Wright and Sam Gouveia. Bridget spent much of her summer working on behalf of NDA. In July she attended the SNDdeN Student Leadership Conference and when she returned she painted the school store and started planning all-school activities for Student Council and Mission and Ministry. She also did preparation work for National Honor Society and pre-season training for soccer. It is said that when she commits, she commits 100%.

Jillian and Sam not only demonstrated their leadership skills to the NDA community but also to the local community. Together they planned and executed one of the most successful Red Cross blood drives our school has ever seen, filling a need in our local community during a severe blood shortage. The Red Cross said it was the most successful blood drive that happened that day! They recruited 43 donors, 25 of whom were first-time donors, and 33 total units of blood were collected. That collection went to help almost 100 people in need.

Bridget Ryan

Jillian Wright

Sam Gouveia

Catholic School Foundation Awards Scholarship

From Pam Bernazani, Principal:
A Mass was held on October 24th at Our Lady of Help of Christian Church in Newton. This Mass was officiated by Cardinal O'Malley and honored all Catholic School Foundation scholarship winners. Pictured is Jeannelle Gonzales, a freshman scholarship awardee. 

Two NDA Students Win at Model UN Simulation

From Kevin Comtois, Model UN Advisor:
The Model United Nations Club participated in St. John's 13th Annual Model UN Simulation on December 8th. Student delegates presented their assigned nations' position on a variety of topics that ranged from child marriages, plastic in the ocean, Iran's nuclear program and the fallout from Brexit. There even was a simulation of the US Senate in a debate on gun control and the 2nd Amendment.  A special commendation is extended to two students who came home with awards: Elena Murguia, representing Vermont, won best delegate in the US Senate simulation and Christina Tsillas, representing Ethiopia, won best resolution writer in a very competitive simulation of the UN Security Council. Congratulations to the following Model UN team members: Erin Kunz, Lindsey Hanrahan, Ailis Peterson, Megan Perrault, Meghan Pefine, Anoutsa Latsapanya, Jacqueline DiNisco, Joy Tu, Christina Tsillas, Martina Maximovich, Lana Sukkar, Samantha Gouveia, Angela Tarantino, Rachel Deshaies, Elena Murguia, Bri Lavelle, Kyra Pugsley, and Maggie Paglierani.

Lancer's Hi-Five

From Lisa Zappala, Athletic Director:


The Basketball teams opened the season last week with games against Essex. The varsity team had a record low scoring game, with just 15 points needed to post a win over their opponents who only scored 8. Senior Meghan Pefine sunk 10 of the 15 points. The team also posted a 38-16 win over Lynn Tech on December 11th. The JV team also picked up a win that night. Both teams host Kipp Academy tonight.

Indoor Track:
The Indoor Track team opened up their season this on December 12th. Despite being down four key athletes, the team had some solid performances. Two freshmen had first place finishes, Katie Vieira in the 300 meter and Catie Johnson in the mile. Two juniors also placed.  Rachel Deshaies took 2nd in the 50 meter hurdles and Aleah DuBois placed 2nd in Shot Put.

The Indoor Track team also welcomed alumna Paige DePasqulae '14 to the coaching staff this week. Paige was an outstanding Shot Put thrower while here at NDA and is coaching that event for both Indoor and Spring Track.

NDA Golf? Maybe...
The Upper School is looking into the possibility of starting a Golf team in the spring. If there is enough interest we would start this spring as a non-competitive program with the hope that by the spring of 2020 we would be able to sponsor a varsity level team. Students who are interested should contact Upper School Athletic Director Lisa Zappala at

Middle School

Concert Captures "​The Sweetest Sounds of Christmas"

From Stephen Flynn, English Teacher:
Boasting a cast of more than 130 sixth, seventh and eighth grade students, the Academy Playmakers presented their annual Christmas Celebration Concert on Wednesday, December 12th in two performances.  With direction by Mr. Stephen Flynn and musical direction by Mr. Peter Cangiano the program included both religious songs and popular secular Christmas music, in addition to jazz and tap dance routines, a reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, an appearance by Alvin and the Chipmunks and a surprise visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. The performance represented true community spirit and the “sweetest sounds we’ll ever hear.”

This production is a prelude of what's to come later this year with the formation of a Lower School drama club which will culminate in a spring musical at the direction of Mr. Flynn.  More information will be available soon.

View Photo Gallery

Students Attend Production of Dickens' Holiday Classic

From Katie Fratus, Social Studies and English Teacher:
Students in grades 6-8 traveled to the North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, MA on Friday, December 14th to attend a production of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Dressed in their finest clothes, the students watched local performers bring the story to life. The tale follows the life and work of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly old man who, on one night, is visited by the spirits of Christmas past, present, and yet to come. Through these visits, he is transformed into a kinder, gentler man. This story tells of an important lesson and instantly puts you in the Christmas spirit after having watched it. The students and teachers thoroughly enjoyed their time at the North Shore Music Theatre!

Lancer's Round-Up

From Nate Froment, Lower School Athletic Director:

Boys Varsity Basketball:
The Boys Varsity Basketball Team has played their first three games of the season and have a current record of 1-2. The team picked up their first win of the season December 9th over St. Michael School, and will be looking to get their second win in a row when they play against Chelmsford Catholic on December 16th at 11:15 a.m. at the Rogers School in Lowell. Ishan Suman, Connor Hughes, Michael Kelleher and Joe Farina have been standout performers thus far.

Girls Varsity Basketball:
The Girls Varsity Basketball Team has dropped their first two games of the season to Lowell Community Charter and St. Michael School. The team will be looking to get their first win of the season when they play Collegiate Charter School on December 16th at 12:15 p.m. at the Rogers School in Lowell. Molly Shanahan, Heather Harrington and Riley Doyle have been standout performers thus far.

Boys JV Basketball:
The Boys JV Basketball Team is off to a great start having won their first two games of the season. The team will be looking to get their third straight win this Saturday when they play against Lowell Community Charter at 4:45 p.m. at the Rogers School in Lowell. Ricky Walent, Finn Ramseyer, Luke Faletra and Matt Chau have been standout performers this far.

Girls JV Basketball:
The Girls JV Basketball Team is off to a 2-0 start as they have defeated Innovation Academy and Collegiate Charter School. The team will be looking to go 3-0 on the season when they play against St. Michael School on December 15th at 3:45 p.m. at the Rogers School in Lowell. Sophia Leary, Jaqui Martineau and Natalia Conceicao have been standout performers thus far.

Lower School

Pageant Delivers "Stand in Awe" Moments

On Tuesday, December 11th, parents and loved ones were invited to Stop, Listen, Open their Hearts and Stand in Awe as the Pre-K through grade 5 students  illumined the stage with signs of Christmas. Processing into Our Lady's Chapel, each child was cast in light from the glow of their hand-made stars, a theme that was also carried through with the song, Presents, in which the children sang the line, "The greatest present of them all was found beneath a star." After being joined by Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, the 3 Kings, shepards along with their flock of sheep, and angels, the Lower School Choir gave an enchanting performance which depicted the night when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Sister Jeanne, led the choir in a number of beautiful Christmas songs, but the most captivating performance came as students sang “Silent Night” in both English and Spanish while angels graced the alter with an ethereal dance. Following the performance students enjoyed a Cookies and Cocoa reception provided by the Parents' Club. 

View Photo Gallery

Toys for Tots Donations a Christmas Tradition at NDA

From Marie McNamara, Parents’ Club Member:
In the spirit of the Holiday season, the Academy once again took part in the Toys for Tots campaign. This year we partnered with Sergeant Christopher Harjo, Toys for Tots Coordinator of Detachment 5 Maintenance Company, 4th Marines Logistics Group. Collectively, a total of 12 boxes full of new, unwrapped toys were donated for the program which is an increase from last year! The donated toys will be distributed to local families in Essex and Middlesex counties who are in need. On behalf of the Toys for Tots program, thank you for your generosity! 

Students Sharpen their Pencils for Handwriting Contest

From Elizabeth O'Connell, Principal:
Following with tradition, Academy students will once again participate in the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest. In past years, the Academy has had three state winners and we hope to add to that total again this year! Students submit their best handwriting sample and are judged within their respective grade level. Once all entry forms have been submitted and judged, one student from each grade level will be chosen to represent NDA at the state and possibly national levels, for a chance to be named one of nine Grand National Grade-Level Champions!

More information including entry forms are available on the parent portal under the title "Handwriting Contest Forms." There are three forms: Grades K-2, Grades 3-4, and Grades 5-8. Grades K2-2 should practice their printing and grades 3-8 should practice their cursive. Please note that a hard copy of the form will be sent home on December 14th.

Spelling Bee Coming to NDA!

From Elizabeth O'Connell, Principal:
The Academy is excited to announce that students in grades 3-8 will be participating this year in the Scripps Spelling Bee! One of the nation's oldest and most iconic spelling competitions, Scripps has students all across the United States practicing their spelling this time of year to prepare for the competition. The purpose of the Bee is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage.

Grade level word lists and information will be sent home Friday, December 14th. Students should study and practice their spelling words in the weeks that follow. Each homeroom will host a class spelling bee during the week of January 7th and one winner from each homeroom will move on to the school-wide spelling bee on February 13th.  

Bridge Building is Full STEAM Ahead

From Jennifer Holder, STEAM teacher:
Want to learn how to build a bridge? Just ask an Academy 4th grader! The students are learning concepts of civil engineering at different levels in each of the STEAM classes as they build bridges with pipe cleaners. Tension and compression are the main forces studied in this project. Ms. Holder uses the Golden Gate Bridge as an example explaining how it suspends the roadway with a system of cables, ropes and chains each performing a specific function such as support, compression, or tension. 

Students have conducted research on models to recreate a suspension, truss, cantilever, tied arch or beam bridge. They are limited to pipe cleaners for the construction of their bridges. "That way we can test the strength of each bridge by the design only, not the materials," explained Ms. Holder. The 4th graders will observe which design holds the most amount of weight by testing them by putting a small cup in the center of the bridge that is sitting across two sets of books, and adding pennies to the cup. Last year Claire Lokere's bridge held more than 200 pennies! 

Early Years

It's a STEAM Christmas for Early Years

From Melissa Janes, Director of Early Childhood Education:
Choosing topics of interest and providing opportunities for creativity and exploration is the goal of the STEAM classes for the Early Years students. Of course during the past few weeks, everyone’s minds have been on Christmas! So students in Pre-K, K1, and K2 have all been exploring creative opportunities with a Christmas twist in our Mini Makerspace. All students have worked on engineering and building challenges such as building Christmas trees from plastic cups and pom poms and using transparent magnet tiles and bells on the light table. Each grade also participated in experiences specifically designed for their age level. Pre-K students read How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss and made Grinch slime (chemical reaction). K1 students made predictions about the reaction of candy canes placed in different solutions and used Christmas gift bows to explore static electricity. Students in K2 designed safety parachutes for Santa to bring on his sleigh using recycled and consumable materials which they then tested out. K2 also explored chemical reactions and the concepts of dissolving and evaporation by creating two different types of crystals.

K2 at NDA Measures Up!

From Melissa Janes, Director of Early Childhood Education:
Part of the K2 math curriculum involves both standard and non-standard measurement. After reading about animals that hibernate in their reading curriculum, K2 students used paper bear feet to practice non-standard measurement and recorded results. What did they measure? Each other! There were lots of predictions, comparisons, and giggles in the K2 classroom, demonstrating once again that learning in the Early Years is active, engaging, and fun!

Extended Day Program/Enrichments

From Jocelyn Saltzman, Director of EDP and Enrichments:

Due to an increase in minimum wage set to take place on the first of the year, the Academy will need to adjust the rate of pay for our adult staff members serving the Extended Day Program (EDP). This wage adjustment will result in a price increase for the EDP program. Effective January 1, 2019, the EDP rate will increase to $7.50 per hour. The Academy strives to keep our programs affordable as evidenced by the fact that this is the first increase in several years. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at

Are you a master of adventure? Do you like to create, play, and explore? We are gearing up for a fantastic (and warm!) summer here at Camp NDA. We are currently hiring for a variety of staff positions, including counselors, lifeguards, and week-long camp directors. If you are interested in joining our summer camp team, use the button below to apply today. Have more questions? Stop by and speak with Jocelyn Saltzman, Camp Director, in the EDP Office on the ground floor.

Apply for Summer Camp Position


Sign Up for the Alumnae Basketball Game

Alumnae Basketball Game
Saturday, January 5, 2018 | 2 p.m.
Blanche M. Walsh Sports Center | NDA Campus

RSVP for Alumnae Game

NDA Spotlight: Parents' Club

Gratitude to Parents' Club for Performance Receptions

The Academy is blessed to have such caring and hardworking members of the Lower School Parents' Club. This year the Parents' Club hosted three Cookies and Cocoa receptions following outstanding performances on Tuesday, December 11th and Wednesday, December 12th. It was a joy for students and their loved ones to mix and mingle in the parlors with faculty and staff after their performances. It is with the assistance and dedication of our parents and families, that we are able to offer special programming and events that benefit our students, families, and staff. In particular, we would like to recognize Julie Clark, Alanna Flood, Patricia Ramseyer and Marie McNamara of the Parents' Club who volunteered their time and efforts toward making all of the holiday receptions a success! A special thanks to Marie for spearheading the toy collection efforts for Toys for Tots and for welcoming Marine Sergeant Christopher Harjo

Academy of Notre Dame
180 Middlesex Road, Tyngsboro, MA 01879


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