Mr. Valadie's September Letter

To all our Families –


Water-logged greetings from ND! That was quite a week, wasn’t it?!

I begin with an apology. We learned that there was a collection of parents who failed to receive one or both of our September 27th SchoolCast messages (the first one announced we were closing at 1:00 p.m.; the second announced a late start on Thursday.) Some didn’t get them at all; others got them in a delayed fashion. Either way, it’s unacceptable if your emergency notification system doesn’t notify.

We’ve discovered most of the issues that cropped up. Some were easily fixable but some were unfortunately tied to one of the phone carriers.

None of that matters if it happened to you. We regret what happened and will do our best to ensure things function more smoothly.

I want to follow that with a hearty thank you to all who were able to assist us with the recent Parent Survey. As we have come to expect, our parents were most supportive of the effort completing many more than the norm.

(Ironically, we got good marks for “Communication with Parents.” Guessing that score will go down next time.)

            Our traditional 8th Grade Visit Day is scheduled for Tuesday, October 16th from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. If you know a family for whom Notre Dame would be a great fit, please encourage them to reach out to Laura Goodhard, our Director of Admissions ( ) to register to be a part of that day. The day is a blast, it’s educational, and it’s a super introduction to life at Notre Dame!


Similarly, our Fall Admissions Open House will be Sunday, October 21st at 2:00 p.m. We can brag on so many things – awesome kids, great scores, scholarship dollars, college acceptances, retreat experiences and on and on – but nothing we could ever say outweighs the impact our parents have whenever you suggest Notre Dame to another family.  Thank you for doing just that! Sunday, October 21st, 2:00 p.m.


We’re inviting and encouraging all our families to support our PB&J Blitz! On Friday, October 5th, our football team hosts Silverdale for the CW Network’s Friday Night Rivals Television Game of the Week.

As they did last year, CW has joined efforts with Synovus Bank and are challenging its weekly competitor schools to extend their on-field competition to off-the-field as well by collecting Peanut Butter and Jelly (plastic containers) to benefit the great work done by the Food Bank!

They’ll come pick everything up on October 3rd so this amounts to a pretty quick Food Drive. We hate to lose in any competition, but especially when it benefits so many.


As we did last year, our ten Catholic Schools will be selling raffle tickets to win CA$H. Your ticket costs 10 cents a day … just 10 cents a day!!! And it provides you 365 chances to win a cash prize ranging from $100 - $500. There will be a winner every single day of 2019 with prizes totaling $50,000!

Last year, there were 30 different winners from among the families who purchased a raffle ticket here at NDHS. And the best news? 100% of your ticket price goes directly to benefit students in the Chattanooga area – nowhere else.


Here’s a public service announcement: “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 contains a provision that allows use of Section 529 savings to pay for private K-12 education up to $10,000 per year, per child starting in 2018. Establishing and funding a Section 529 plan can provide significant tax benefits. See your investment advisor and accountant for more information.”


Some refrigerator post-it notes:

< > Mon-Fri, Oct 1-5 … Homecoming Week … Dress-up themes for the week – Mon is “Pun / Meme Day” … Tue is “Tunes Day” … Wed is “When I Grow Up Day” … Thu is “Derby Day” … Fri is “House Shirt Day”

< > Mon, Fri, Oct 8-12 … FALL BREAK – NO CLASSES

< > Tue, Oct 16 … 8th Grade Visit Day

< > Thu, Oct 18 … 9th/10th Parent Meetings with Guidance, 5:15 – 6:45 p.m.

< > Thu, Oct 18 … 9th Grade Retreat at St. Stephen’s Church (details to follow from Religion teacher)

< > Fri, Oct 19 … 10th Grade Retreat at St. Stephen’s Church (details to follow from Religion teacher)

< > Sun, Oct 21 … ADMISSIONS OPEN HOUSE, 2:00 p.m.

< > Wed, Oct 24 … 11th grade will take PSAT Test on campus and dismiss afterward (11:30 a.m.);  9th/10th/12th will have regular school

< > Thu, Nov 1 … Feast of All Saints – Parents are invited to join us for this Holy Day Mass at 8:20 a.m.

< > Fri, Nov 2 … Kickoff of our 3rd annual “No-Shave November” effort to benefit the Chattanooga Food Bank’s holiday efforts.



I was teaching an Honors Class of seniors just a couple of years ago when I posed the question: “If you’re doing something like Math homework and you encounter a problem in which the answer does not come to you right away, tell me how long you will fight with that problem before you give up and move on?”

Moms and Dads - What would your answer have been when you were in high school?

It’s not about the Math. Swap that out for let’s say “balancing Chemistry equations” or what about “sketching a self-portrait” or even “memorizing Spanish vocabulary.” How long would you fight with the challenges before you gave up and moved on?

Regardless of your answer, I’m willing to bet a sizeable chunk that it was longer than most of the students of today.

I’m not giving them a pass – in fact just the opposite – but I’m not really sure it’s their fault either. We now live in an instantaneous world and they’ve never known anything but that.

They’ll readily admit that if their internet connection takes too long on their phone, they think they need a new one. They can drive up to a speaker, order an entire meal for the car and pick it up 150 feet later with virtually no waiting. If a friend doesn’t text them back quickly, they’ll assume the friendship has gone wrong.

Their favorite social media platforms emphasize pictures and limit text. They often prefer to express themselves with emojis as opposed to real words.

Quicker, faster, shorter … now!

There’s a wealth of educational articles being written about … well, take your choice of words – grit, stick-to-it-iveness, persistence, endurance, conscientiousness, resilience. Or more accurately, they’re writing about and lamenting the fact that we have less of it.

Angela Duckworth has a much-watched (15,000,000 views) six-minute TEDTALK video on the subject you might enjoy.

 Like her, I’ve got no super great ideas. Nothing foolproof for making it happen. I wish I did. Believe me, I would have gladly whipped it out in the Valadie household when our three were growing up. I just know that the more we can help kids battle through the frustrations, the more they stick with the things that challenge them … maybe even especially if they fail along the way … the more their brains will grow.

And who’s not in favor of more gray matter?!?!  

But when the day’s been long and everybody in the house is just flat tired, it’s not easy to encourage the fight. I know that too. So thank you for encouraging the fight. It will indeed pay off.


George Valadie