Getting Schooled at NDB: Sunflowers, Birkenstocks and Sisterhood

Very rarely do people look back at their high school years and think.. mehh. You either love, or hate high school, there is no grey area, no in between. But personally, I have mixed feelings – I absolutely loved my four years in high school, they weren’t my best, but they absolutely were a great time. It also helps when you go to an all girls private high school too. At first thought, to most people that probably sounds like a nightmare. All girls. Private. Catholic. High school. And to maybe some, it is a complete nightmare. But I will be the first to tell you, I’ve learned some invaluable lessons during my four years at Notre Dame High School.

“Ora et labora”. The school motto is Latin for “work and pray”. But to be honest, it took me a while to realize that its not “work and PLAY”. I don’t know what I was thinking. We work and play every day? Sounds right? Either way, it’s taught me a good sense of balance in my life.

Clothes aside, everyone’s true self is a slob. We wore uniforms every day. When everyones wearing the same thing at a single sex environment, you find it hard to care what you look like. Mis matched socks, hooodies, tights, birkenstocks with socks… my high school was probably the birthplace to IDGAF. All that mattered was the name on the front of your sweatshirt…. no really… you HAD to wear a NDB sweatshirt or else. But seriously, tell me another place in America where Birkenstocks with socks, valor blue sweatpants, skorts, and moccasins are not only acceptable but happily embraced? Tell me! I’m waiting…

A bad hair day isn’t going to ruin your day. Every day of my four years at Notre Dame High school was a bad hair day. I sported like 5 different hair cuts, 3 different hair colors,  and rocked the messy ponytail like it was nobodys business. Nowadays, my day is over if the wind messes with my hair, or if the rain dampens my ‘do. But then I think about the days when running a brush through my hair was next to never, and my staple was a ponytail… and everything is all good… it could be worse.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. HAHA who am I kidding. The absence of males just made us all crazy fools. In college we all started our first classes, wide-eyed, drooling, in complete awe… THERES BOYS?! You’d think you were in a male anatomy class instead.

The bigger the fool, the cooler you are. We all embraced our inner nerd / dork / loser / freak / weirdo in these four years. Notre Dame girls – I’m sure you look back at your tagged photos and see pictures from MORP or Dingbat Day  or AQUACADES or various spirit week pictures and cringe. But here’s the thing: You cringe and part of you hates it (what you looked like, what a freak you were and WHAT IN ST. JULIE B’S NAME ARE YOU WEARING?!)but the other part – the part deep down inside and closest to you… loves it. Youre saying “Damn I was a badass. I rocked that sh**. I wore that neon leotard like it was no ones business.” You know it.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Carpeted walls were put there to thicken your skin… obviously. Look at you now. You’re going places.

Freshman year: Cringeworthy, absolutely. But nonetheless, my amazing sisters.

You will always have your sisters. One thing I realized while I was in high school, and have come to embrace even more so now, is the sisterhood that was built in my years at Notre Dame Belmont. Things change, people change, friends change, you’ve change, I’ve changed… but what remains is the bond that we’ve all created through our four years together. These girls have seen eachother at their highs, lows, best, worst, and have remained a tight knit group even after three years of going our separate ways. I’ve been blessed to see most of you turn into the most amazing, beautiful, lovely individuals that I am proud and happy to call my sisters. I’ve learned invaluable lessons about myself, each one of you, and others that I will always keep close to me.

This weekend we’ve lost a sister, who we will miss deeply. Our love for her will always exist through our love for each other and our community. The past few days have made me all realize how lucky I am to have all of my NDB sisters in my life. Some of you might be aborad, on different coasts of the country, in different places in your life… but we’ll always be uKNIGHTed.

RIP Sheetal & Nisha Tandel

Click here to donate to the Sheetal & Nisha Tandel Memorial Fund 

Feel free to share your favorite NDB memories in the comments below! (I KNOW YOU NDB READERS EXIST)

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  1. I freaking love you. This brings chills down my spine. Those years might not have been our best, like you said but my god were they fun!! I still embrace my inner freak I will have you know, but sadly my appearance does matter and I actually have to brush my hair every day…not cool. Our class is quite amazing and this tragedy has reminded me oh just how fabulous we are. You completely captured ND in a nutshell. Seriously, the first day of college was like uhh what the fuck? Boys?! In my class?!! And to all those haters…uniforms, private school, and all girls is like a dream come true haha we could let our freak flag fly and we would be joined by sisters doing the same! I love my Tigers and I love my Knights in shining armor 🙂

  2. Honestly I feel like Notre Dame helped to shape me into the person I am today. I embraced no makeup, unbrushed hair, endless sweatshirts and just being comfortable with myself exactly as I am. I love that NDB had girls that were crazy, shy, eclectic, traditional; yet we all had our love and respect for our school in common. It literally gave me goose pimples of joy to see how active everyone has been, and how quickly we all pulled together in such a tragic time.

    I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls, and I can truly say I love every one of my NDB sisters; especially the Knights, because let’s face it, we’re just that damn awesome.

  3. I randomly decided to read this since a friend shared it on FB. When I started reading this post I was fully nodding my head and agreeing with everything posted, then I see a picture, BLUE! It must be one of my fellow ’06 Broncos! How alike we all were! Then I realized I recognized no one in the pic…. It just shows how NDB really affects a lot of girls the same way no matter when in time. I gained so much confidence during my time there and while everyone hates high school at one time or another I always knew I was getting a different type of education which I am incredibly grateful for now.

    And let me mention I laughed out loud with your comment about boys in college. My first college class was an early 8am English/Comp Lit class which I was starting to fall asleep in even before it started and then a BOY answered a question from the Professor. WHAT?!?! Hahaha.

    Embrace your NDB past that let you be a freak/dork/weirdo around a bunch of girls and keep letting your freak flag fly! I have been and love every minute, everyone knows the most memorable people are the ones who are a little unique 🙂

    From a Blue Bronco to a Blue Knight, thanks for the read and letting me remember my own happy memories at NDB

    Madison
    NDB 2006 Bronco

  4. Michelle Poncia Breier November 27, 2012 — 14:37

    Thank you so much for putting into words and sharing with the world what so many of us think about NDB. I am class of 1989, and I transferred to NDB, CHOOSING an all-girls, Catholic high school over a giant public school. The NDB experience was amazing, and my NDB sisters are among my best friends today. I would love to be able to send my own daughter to NDB someday, and tell my husband we should move back to the Bay Area for just that reason. There is nothing like the NDB experience — the bonds, the education, the confidence, and yes, the ponytails! Many thanks to your friend for posting this on the NDB FB page. xoxo

  5. Thank you so much for putting into words and sharing with the world what so many of us think about NDB. I am class of 1989, and I transferred to NDB, CHOOSING an all-girls, Catholic high school over a giant public school. The NDB experience was amazing, and my NDB sisters are among my best friends today. I would love to be able to send my own daughter to NDB someday, and tell my husband we should move back to the Bay Area for just that reason. There is nothing like the NDB experience — the bonds, the education, the confidence, and yes, the ponytails! Many thanks to your friend for posting this on the NDB FB page. xoxo

    • Michelle, there really is no other experience out there like NDB, I’ve come to find. That’s exciting and great to hear that you remain best friends with your NDB sisters. Love that we all can relate!!!
      NDB Love! ❤

  6. Maddy, I absolutely love this blog post, well I love all your posts. Love the memories and agree with everything you wrote! I also love the comment from the girl from class of ’06. When walking through the halls after the memorial the other I saw a bit of blue and it made me completely nostalgic, as if I wasn’t already. Miss you dearly and would love to catch up over Christmas.

  7. FANTASTIC. Eeee makes me go all warm and fuzzy. Maddy, my mum just forwarded this article to me. Feels like Christmas. If I could smell this blog post- it would smell like a the Yankee candle “celebrate Christmas” (which smells of spice, children’s laughter, and apple cider).

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