Educating girls to be leaders for life

The first all-girls day school in Massachusetts, Notre Dame Academy educates and empowers the next generation of women leaders, preparing girls to use education, service and faith to change the world. Founded in 1853 by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, NDA focuses on developing girls’ extraordinary potential, educating their hearts, minds and souls, so they have the confidence, wisdom and will to lead throughout their lives.

 

 

 

 

 

Annemarie L Kenneally portrait

 

 

Welcome from our President 

"Notre Dame Academy is not a school you simply attend. Our students are part of a sisterhood of pioneering women who embrace education, service and faith to create meaningful change in the world." 

Annemarie's Signature

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Meet Our Leadership Team

We focus on developing girls’ extraordinary potential, educating their hearts, minds and souls, so they have the confidence, wisdom and will to lead throughout their lives. 

 

Student looking up at teacher with a smile. Signifying good leadership.

 

Our Mission

Notre Dame Academy, a Catholic school sponsored by Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, educates and empowers young women in grades 7-12.

We are a holistic learning community grounded in academic excellence that cultivates life-long learners, critical thinkers, and open-minded leaders.  We are inspired to service and dedicated to global peace, justice, and integrity of creation, as we honor the dignity of all people.

We welcome students of all religious traditions guiding them in their personal faith formation and inspire them to see the goodness of God.

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Patriot Ledger: Unbeaten (still): Notre Dame Academy lacrosse embracing target as two-time reigning champ
Alexis Nixon

Every challenger aims to dethrone the reigning state championship team at the start of a new season.

Imagine that state champion has won it all two years in a row, while riding an active 38-game win streak.

The Notre Dame Academy lacrosse team feels the target on its back.

Every challenger aims to dethrone the reigning state championship team at the start of a new season.

Imagine that state champion has won it all two years in a row, while riding an active 38-game win streak.

The Notre Dame Academy lacrosse team feels the target on its back.

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Belonging at NDA: Students Attend Conference in Rhode Island
Alexis Nixon

Belonging is at the heart of our NDA community. Our ongoing call to create a space where every girl feels welcomed as her authentic self is rooted in the Hallmarks of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. As a community of lifelong learners, we are always searching for new ideas and insights, including how to strengthen the sense of belonging for all students at our school.

Belonging is at the heart of our NDA community. Our ongoing call to create a space where every girl feels welcomed as her authentic self is rooted in the Hallmarks of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. As a community of lifelong learners, we are always searching for new ideas and insights, including how to strengthen the sense of belonging for all students at our school.

On Saturday, April 6, Gabriella Bethoney '24, Akaashi Shetty '25, Lyaa Ngo '26, and Karen Li '26 represented NDA at the Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE) High School Students of Color Conference. Also attending was Meaghan Roche '99, Vice Principal of Mission and Ministry and Mike McGonagle, NDA's Director of Belonging. The conference, held at the Wheeler School in Providence, RI, included schools like NDA which want to explore how to deepen the sense of welcome and belonging, so each student feels confident sharing her full promise and potential. Overall, the conference was a great learning experience. As Lyaa Ngo '26 noted, the day was fun and full of ideas with “everyone open to any sort of questions.”

Our students engaged in meaningful discussions with peers from other independent schools and participated in workshops with topics ranging from Closing the STEM Gap to Narrative Collage to Financial Literacy. The keynote address was given by Andre Bradford, a well-known slam poet, whose use of the Zulu greeting, sawubona, which means I see you, brought smiles of recognition to our students.  Fr. Oscar Pratt first introduced this beautiful word to NDA at our September liturgy and our girls were thrilled to hear the word spoken again. Karen Li ‘26 reflected on the emotional impact of the poet’s address, noting his words “touched my heart and made me feel heard even though we were different genders and race.”

The AISNE conference inspired students with thoughts and ideas they will share with our NDA community in the days ahead. Bringing community together happens one day and one relationship at a time. Karen Li ’26 agrees with Andrew Bradford’s simple but powerful reminder to students “to check in on each other.” A great community-building practice worth keeping.

NDA Hockey Plays in the Division 1 State Finals at the TD Garden on St. Patrick’s Day
Alexis Nixon

Notre Dame Academy varsity hockey had a phenomenal season, making it all the way to the Division 1 State finals at the TD Garden on St. Patrick’s Day. The team played one of the hardest-fought battles of the season against St. Mary’s of Lynn in a nailbiter, ultimately losing in triple overtime. They finished the season with a record of 18-5-2. The entire community rallied behind this exceptional team of student athletes who demonstrated unwavering commitment, dedication, and talent.  

Notre Dame Academy varsity hockey had a phenomenal season, making it all the way to the Division 1 State finals at the TD Garden on St. Patrick’s Day. The team played one of the hardest-fought battles of the season against St. Mary’s of Lynn in a nailbiter, ultimately losing in triple overtime. They finished the season with a record of 18-5-2. The entire community rallied behind this exceptional team of student athletes who demonstrated unwavering commitment, dedication, and talent.  

"These girls worked hard all season,” said head coach, John Findley. “There is a tremendous amount of talent on this team, but more importantly, they have grown together as a team and loved playing with one another,” Findley said. "I couldn’t be prouder of these girls.”

President of Notre Dame Academy, Annemarie Lynch Kenneally ’80 P’13 ’15, expressed her admiration stating, “We are immensely proud of this exceptional team of young women. Their approach to the championship game is how I hope all our students approach life; together as a community, prepared, respectful, full of perseverance, and ever mindful of God's grace."

Faculty Spotlight: Christina Shea, Writer in Residence
Alexis Nixon

A hallmark of an NDA education has always been exceptional writing skills, and this year NDA hired its first Writer in Residence, Christina Shea, to advance those skills across the curriculum through work with the entire community including students, faculty, and the College Counseling team. Shea has made her mark already and is changing the way NDA is approaching writing. She led the entire faculty in a professional development workshop on assignment development and grading norms, co-led the student-produced newspaper the Medallion, and introduced a Creative Writing program.

A hallmark of an NDA education has always been exceptional writing skills, and this year NDA hired its first Writer in Residence, Christina Shea, to advance those skills across the curriculum through work with the entire community including students, faculty, and the College Counseling team. Shea has made her mark already and is further elevating NDA's approach to writing. She recently led the entire faculty in professional development on student writing and grading norms. Shea serves as co-moderator of NDA's student newspaper The Medallion and will offer a Creative Writing course for students next year. 

Shea is a published novelist and author of "Moira’s Crossing", published by Simon & Schuster in 2000, and "Smuggled", published by Grove Atlantic in 2011. She is also a veteran educator and has worked to support schools and teachers in their goals for student writing. Before moving full-time into secondary education, she was a core member of the Master of Fine Arts faculty in Creative Writing at Lesley University. She has been the recipient of multiple grants and awards for her writing. 

We recently caught up with Christina to learn more about her important work at NDA.  

You are NDA’s first Writer in Residence, how has that been going for you? How do you feel it is influencing the girls?  

Well, it takes time to acclimate, so, even though we are three-quarters of the way through the academic year, I tend to feel that my work at NDA is just getting started. My goal is to assess and advise on the role of writing in the curriculum and to support teachers in developing instructional practices around writing. This year, we engaged the whole school in a writing assessment based on the Hallmarks. This initiative yielded valuable information for teachers and was an excellent starting point for conversations around student writing.  

What is the most rewarding part of your job? 

It’s rewarding to nurture young writers and to be working in a role that draws directly on my experience and expertise as a writer. I feel I have something unique to share. 

You are a published author, what was that experience like?   

I’ve written and published two novels and have completed a manuscript for a third. The experience of writing a novel is like that of any very big, long-term multi-faceted project that is, ultimately, a labor of love: challenging, at times daunting and overwhelming, uniquely engaging, and personally gratifying. 

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?  

Prioritize this aspiration; it requires skill, patience, and endurance. Study and steal from the authors you love. Expect rejection, accept it, learn from it, but don’t let it define you. The world needs writers. 

Who is your favorite author?  

I admire so many writers. As a child, I loved CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia and any story that combined realism and magic; as a student I was inspired by James Joyce, Toni Morrison, John Steinbeck, Edith Wharton; as an adult reader I gravitate towards novels that are historically set like Geraldine Brooks' "Year of Wonder" and "People of the Book"; Anne Michaels "Fugitive Pieces"; Michael Ondaatje's "The English Patient", Abraham Verghese’s "Cutting for Stone".  

 

Godspell: Inspiration On & Off Stage
Alexis Nixon

It may be hard to say how many times Godspell has been performed since it first opened in 1971. But everyone who saw NDA Theatre Company’s performance in April, knows that the talented cast and crew made this production their own. As the story of Jesus and his followers is told through a series of parables, the ensemble cast celebrates the talent of each performer. As Katie Clogston '24 notes, “As an ensemble you constantly act and react to the other performers. We really enjoyed all our time together.”

It may be hard to say how many times Godspell has been performed since it first opened in 1971. But everyone who saw NDA Theatre Company’s performance in April, knows that the talented cast and crew made this production their own. As the story of Jesus and his followers is told through a series of parables, the ensemble cast celebrates the talent of each performer. As Katie Clogston '24 notes, “As an ensemble you constantly act and react to the other performers. We really enjoyed all our time together.”

From the beginning, the cast and crew were determined to share the story of Godspell with their own voice. Long hours were put in well before opening night, so students could find their own connection to the play—and be better able to connect with the audience. Their collaboration shaped the script and helped friendships form early on. Katie Clogston '24 recalls with a smile an early-spring afternoon when they divided into two groups, “One group worked on the Beatitudes and the other group worked on the rich man parable … then we taught each other what we had put together.” The collaborative ideas were a hit. Audience members joining the cast on stage and well-timed flashes of humor were greeted with bursts of laughter and applause.

As an ensemble, Godspell keeps the entire cast on stage throughout the performance. This reflects the play’s message of love and community and echoes the connection that the cast and crew felt. The sense of community is deep, “This cast and crew is a second family to me now,” said Garianne Camy  '24. Strong friendships were made across all age groups. “I can’t wait to come back and support these girls after I graduate.” said Angela Connelly '24 of her younger friends and castmates.

While performers on every stage, from the art to athletics, readily admit to nerves at one time, the consensus from Godspell castmates on how to deal with this reality is clear: lean-in! Asked how she handles the stress of taking on something new, Garianne Camy '24 wisely says “Don’t worry about making mistakes. Step outside your comfort zone and pursue what you love.” With a steady nod, Angela Connelly '24 agrees whole-heartedly: “Don’t be afraid of what people think. Give it your all. We’ve had so much fun!”