Mr. Valadie's December Letter

December, 2018


To all our ND Families –

     Advent and Christmas Season greetings from Notre Dame!

     Hard to believe it’s that insane time of year already. Nancy used to love hitting the Black Friday sales with one of our daughters. They left early, came home late, poorer and worn to a frazzle. That was before Amazon, her new favorite store. She’s still poorer but now it’s just her texting fingers that are exhausted. However you face the challenge ahead, we wish you luck in finding whatever it is you need to track down.

     Here at Notre Dame, we actually encourage some of that seasonal insanity what with the kids decorating their lockers and classroom doors not to mention our annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. Teenagers in the Spirit is a sight to behold!

     But together I know we’re also trying to guide their minds and hearts to what’s important about this particular season. We thank all of you who were able to support our No-Shave November charitable effort. Teachers and staff, students and parents all combined to donate almost $5,000.00 to those in need. With the buying power of the Food Bank, we’re talking thousands and thousands of meals.

     There’s a heavenly reward for that sort of kindness!

     Our staff also just ‘cooked up’ our 5th Annual Fantastic Faculty Bake Sale in which we actually make all the goodies ourselves (no store-bought stuff for us!) and then sell them at the lunches with all the proceeds helping to grow the number of people we can help.

     We stole a little time away from classes for our Advent Prayer Service. We had an on-campus blood drive today and lastly, our students have the chance to serve those who served if they choose to help lay wreaths during the National Cemetery’s annual effort to get to every grave.

     In addition to all of that, I know families who shop for an angel off some tree, others who ring the bell, and still others who gather as family to serve a hot meal to the down-and-out. Many, many thanks to all of you for being as generous as you are! We’re all planting seeds … God will water them when He’s ready.

     On our academic front, we recently inducted the newest honorees to our ACT 30+ Club. Thus far, we already have 23 members, 19 of them seniors. Congratulations to all of them! And as the second quarter wraps up, we look back and pay tribute to the 65 students who made ‘straight As’ in the 1st quarter and the 100+ who earned all As and Bs. Congratulations to all of them as well!


     As we did last year, we are selling raffle tickets to win CA$H. Your ticket costs but 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 365 winners with a winner every single day of 2019. Prizes will total $50,000!

     The calenders are already available in our office so you can walk out with them ready to stuff in a stocking or wrap for the mailman.

     And the best news? 100% of your ticket price goes directly to benefit students in the Chattanooga area Catholic Schools – nowhere else.


     Here are a few notes/policies that apply to our upcoming exam week:

  1. Exams are scheduled for Monday (17th) thru Thursday (20th), two per day, starting with 8th period and working backward (see calender below).

2. Students need only be here for their actual exams.

3. Should students need to be on campus anyway, they are required to be in the Cafeteria or Library where they may study if they have need.

  4. Exams are 90 minutes in length. The first exam each day is 8:15 – 9:45; the second is 10:00 – 11:30.

5. Regardless of when a student actually completes the work of his/her exam, students are required to stay in that classroom until the 90 minutes have passed.

     Naturally, some will want to leave when they’re finished and they may badger you about that, asking you to call, but we ask you to please be respectful of the rest of the students still working. We don’t interrupt exams. The fewer interruptions for everyone the better. (And we always recommend they bring materials to study for the next exam – or a book to read.)

  6. Students may come out of uniform (for Spring Exams too) if they or their family have sold/purchased two “Scholars, Leaders and Saints” raffle calenders.

  7. Our Library will open each day at 7:30 and will close for the day at 12:00 noon. The building will remain open for any whose ride will be delayed.

  8. Our cafeteria staff will have breakfast biscuits and such available before school and during the Break between exams.

  Any questions? Please call.


     Don’t forget that you can track student absence and tardiness on RenWeb. Our semester policy allows for five absences in a class before points are deducted or seven tardies to school before consequences come about. We inform families about student absences on a daily basis … but not tardies. If you have a student that drives, may I suggest that’s worth checking on every so often.

     And finally, in this season of giving thanks, we want to publicly thank the St. Mary’s Legacy Foundation of East Tennessee for their recent grant of $20,000.00 that will help us with some facility repairs that have been hanging out there.

     Some refrigerator post-it notes:

< > Sat, Dec. 8 … NDHS will host a Morning Advent Reflection sponsored by the University of Notre Dame Alumni Club / Notre Dame Women Connect and our NDHS Spiritual Life Committee. This year’s Retreat (9:30-noon) is being led by our Dominican Sisters. To RSVP, contact Mary Anne Poinsatte at  Everyone is welcome – men, women, all ages!

< > Sat, Dec 15 … Final Student Service opportunity of the semester (or get a head start on next semester) laying wreaths at the National Cemetery, noon (advance sign-up in Room 1)

< > Mon, Dec. 17 … Exams for 8th then 7th period classes

< > Tue, Dec. 18 … Exams for 6th then 5th period classes

< > Wed, Dec. 19 … Exams for 4th then 3rd period classes

< > Thu, Dec. 20 … Exams for 2nd then 1st period classes

< > Fri, Dec. 21 … Christmas Vacation begins

< > Mon, Jan. 7 … Classes resume

< > Mon, Jan. 21 … Martin Luther King, Jr. Day observed – no classes


     Wednesday night I had the opportunity to attend our annual Christmas Concert performance by our Concert Band and Jazz Band as well as the Band students at OLPH and St. Jude.

     There’s nothing better to put you in the Christmas season mood. If you’re a parent of one of those performers, please accept our congratulations. As great as our kids sounded, we can all imagine the endless hours of rehearsal coming from the back bedroom when maybe it didn’t quite sound like any music you’d ever heard – at least not yet.

     Like most things that happen involving students – Honor Roll, athletics or just getting up in front of the class - some are blessed from birth with a gift while others have to work extremely hard. And some … well, they keep searching for their ‘thing.’ We can forget at times that God does remarkable things with all of them, on his time.

     I can recall that sort of time when our youngest, now 32, was in 4th or 5th grade, trying out for some school choir that would get to perform at some Christmasy something somewhere that has long since been forgotten.

     Sarah was deemed an alternate by our Music Director, upsetting my wife to no end, who decided it was indeed an issue of unfairness that had to be addressed. And so she did.

     We laugh about it now. The girl couldn’t sing then, still can’t sing now. Sometimes we moms and dads are the last to figure out those sorts of things. But with the benefit of a few years, we’ve also come to appreciate the gifts she really does possess – good heart, great work ethic, talented writer, hysterically funny – just not a singer!

     The New Year will be here before we know it. Truthfully, we can’t even imagine all the new things our kids might try, all the new things we hope they try. I began this year by saying I hoped our students would encounter many ‘failures’ this year as they kept experimenting, kept reaching, kept searching for the possibilities that match the person God wants them to be.

     They will get there. If it happens in 2019, what a remarkable year that will be. If not, but keep the hunt alive, it will be every bit as successful.

     Wishing all of you a wonderful and most blessed Christmas!  

     George Valadie