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Nearly 150 Years of Continued Progress


In January, 1876, the Dominican Sisters of the St. Cecilia Community in Nashville opened a parish school in Chattanooga. In addition to the parish school, the Dominican Sisters opened a second school for non-Catholic girls.

Notre Dame High School Circa 1926

In 1878, following the temporary closure of both schools due to the yellow fever epidemic, enrollment increased so rapidly that a new and larger building was erected in 1886. In 1898, Notre Dame Academy became a co-educational parochial school; the name was unofficially changed to Notre Dame School. In 1926, Monsignor Francis T. Sullivan, pastor of Saints Peter and Paul, readied another school for occupancy on 8th Street where Notre Dame remained until 1965.

In 1954, Notre Dame High School became inter-parochial. This change was to establish combined high schools in cities where there were two or more parishes. In 1963, Notre Dame High School became the first school in the Chattanooga area to become racially integrated.

Increased enrollment again necessitated more spacious accommodations. In September, 1965, Notre Dame High School moved to a new campus at 2701 Vermont Avenue, where it stands today. Dedicated in 1966, the campus consisted of a classroom wing, a library, science lab-lecture area, a fine arts room, and typing and home economics classrooms.

In the fall of 1974, Notre Dame High School came under the direction of James D. Phifer, the first layman to be named principal. Under his leadership Notre Dame maintained a vibrant student body and a stadium and auditorium were constructed.

In 2001 a new wing was added to the facility along with a state-of-the-art library/multimedia center, three new computer laboratories, and a multi-purpose room. In addition to the facility changes, major curriculum innovations were implemented, including a dual enrollment program and an expanded Advanced Placement program.

Notre Dame High School 1926 Girls Basketball Team

In 2009, the John Varallo Athletic Center and Classroom Annex opened. The new facility occupies a prominent section of the NDHS campus and includes a 6,628 square-foot auxiliary gymnasium, a new weight room, new men's and women's locker rooms, a new art studio and dark room, four academic classrooms, new offices and training facilities and flexible use space for dance, cheerleading and yoga, an indoor wellness track, a 5,218 square-foot wrestling and training center and 4,636 square-feet of multi-use space for student, alumni and community programs. At the same time the Hunter Baseball Field was added.

In 2013, Bishop Stika named George Valadie as the school's first President in a transition to a President-Principal model of leadership.

Today, Notre Dame High School continues to provide demanding, yet rewarding academics, best-in-class fine arts programs, regional-and-state-championship-caliber athletic teams, and a world-class Student Development and Learning Center. Nearly 75% of faculty and staff hold advanced degrees. In 2023, 100% of seniors graduated and were accepted to 133 different universities and colleges. 95% of graduates received scholarships. 85% of participants passed AP classes.

At Notre Dame High School, we develop students to be their personal best. Every student is prepared to make a positive difference in the world.

We Develop High School Students to Be Their Personal Best.