Monday, December 15, 2014

In Case You Haven't Heard

So what kinds of displays are put into the display case in the foyer?  Here’s the current specimen. 
"Time to renew a warm spot for Christ who is born in us daily," it says.  So what's the tree about?  Well, it's an...
(the Latin identification for the Warm Spot tree belonging to the genus caring.(A little poetic liberty taken here.)
The tree limb has cards that demonstrate the actions that will provide a “warm spot” that the poster urges, to wit: “smiling at the unpleasant person,” “feeding the hungry person,” (the students have accomplished this recently with a 14,000 cans collected), “listening/talking to the lonely person,” and so on. 
The case also holds the traditional NDA Advent prayer which you may recognize
Have a blessed Advent, Reader, one filled with reminders of the Christ who is born in us daily.
                        And of course a very, very blessed Christmas!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Symbols Signal Substance

We all see so many symbols everyday: a large shell designating an oil station; an oval with a skyline on it; skull and crossbones; a big boy image holding a sandwich; and so on.  Here at NDA we are surrounded by symbols, some intended to elevate our thoughts, some to educate, some to entertain.  Below are some of the symbols we see around here.

As you enter the building, you see the lily (signifying the purity of Mary’s dedication to God) on the large stone marker, and when you walk through the foyer, you see the same symbol in the pillar behind Mary’s statue (notice it next time).

In Alumnae Hall is the shield of the Sisters of Notre Dame abounding in symbols: the surmounting cross; the dove (Holy Spirit); the star (Mary) above the waves of life’s ocean; the eagle (closeness to God, but also signifying German origins); the lion rampant (the influence of the French St. Julie Billiart ); and the lily.

Down to chapel to view a plethora (to use a suddenly popular word) of symbols, we dip our fingers into the holy water fonts, and behold the symbols.  On one side of the doors is the dove; on the other side we see the Chi-Rho linked to the anchor (Christ, our anchor of hope) and the fish (from the Greek word Icthus—the acronym for the Greek words “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior”).  

The altarpiece has three repeated symbols: the legendary pelican feeding her young with her own blood (Christ feeding us in the Eucharist); the birds (the faithful) feeding on the grapes and wheat (again the Eucharist); the peacocks feeding from the cup (the everlasting life—peacocks—given the faithful in the Eucharist).
Of course, your quick eye would spot other symbols, but these are perhaps most noticeable.  Keep looking!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Coiffure Collage

The old graduation photos are of constant fascination to blogger and the recent perusal of the same brought up the Graduates of Notre Dame Commercial, 1913 (all the “schools” in existence in 1913 at the 5th Street location were part of the “Academy”).  Immediately striking in the photo was the variation in hair styles.  While some of these young ladies may have had their long hair hanging out of sight down their backs, there are obviously some with short coifs as well.  (What do you think of the visible long hair!  Envious or thankful it’s not yours?)

Now compare to the class of 1927.  The only common denominator here seems to be short.  But after all, it was during the “roar” of the ‘20s and an interesting statement of liberation from long tresses that required so much care.  Bobby pins, a variation of hairpins, were required to keep these styles, as earlier ones, in place, though.  The 1913 coif, whether long or short, no doubt required quite a few.
(Just as a side note, Wikipedia tells us that the bobby pin or bobbing pin came into use in the late 1890s with the growing popularity of the bob cut.  The Smith Victory Corp. of Buffalo took a trademark on the name for a time.  The pin is known in the U.K. as a Kirby grip, in case you travel there and need to purchase some.)

 But what do you know!  The 2010 yearbook for the academy demonstrates that hairstyles rebound.  Well, why not?  Every other style, it seems, does the same thing, doesn’t it?  Now pass the hair spray.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tis the Season to Do Volley

Why, yes, volleyball!   Sing the title and add “Panda, panda, go, go, go, go, go!” Now you have the spirit.

So let’s look back at one of the great seasons: 1983.  An Enquirer article with only 1983 as a date (toward the end of the season) states that, “Notre Dame has had an excellent tradition in volleyball, winning the state title in 1979 and again in 1982.  The state volleyball tournament has been sanctioned in Kentucky for only four years, and the Northern Kentucky area has won them all (including Villa Madonna in 1980, and St. Henry in 1981).  Notre Dame might just make it three out of five state titles this year.” (They did, of course.)
Another interesting passage from the same article, after noting that NDA had already defeated McAuley and Seton: “The vicory over previously undefeated O.L.A. tops them all, though.  The Pandas’ top player, Sara Dickman, was out due to illness.”  A clue to the exact date of the article appears a few sentences later: “Thursday night, they became the first girls’ team to ever win an N.K.A.C. championship in any sport by defeating Scott.”
What happened to Sara Dickman?  Toward the end of the article we find out.  “Then Dickman came to the front row (in the state tournament game) for Notre Dame and began taking charge at the net.”   No holding her down.
Stacey Meiman’s name appears at the beginning of the same article with this observation, “Tears of sadness filled Stacey Meimannn’s eyes Saturday while her Notre Dame Academy volleyball teammates celebrated their victory in the state tournament finals at Northern Kentucky University.” Then three sentences later, “’That’s because the sophomore gets to stay and this senior has to leave,’ Meimann said as a tear rolled down her cheek.”
And who was at the helm of this victory ship?  None other than Joan Mazzaro of whom Dan Weber, an Enquirer athletic columnist, observed in his July 16th 1989 article,  “…(her) accomplishments border on legend.” In the same article Weber states that Joan Mazzaro had been at the helm of NDA athletics for 13 years.  At that point in ’89, Joan was moving on to South Carolina after leading NDA volleyball to five state championships.  Notre Dame, she claimed, had helped her through the very difficult months of her husband’s coma and subsequent death, but with deep gratitude and mixed emotions, she saw a new beginning in South Carolina.
That’s all 31 years ago!  Time does go fast when you’re on the court with the Pandas!  Panda, panda, go, go, go, go, go!!!!

P.S.  NDA had already won the state championship in 1977 and 1978 but recall that the sport was not yet acknowledged by KHSAA yet.  NDA was enjoying State Invitational status both years.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

You’re a Freshman, 1930

So you are from Cincinnati (not unusual in attendance at NDA) and your parents have seen the ad in the Catholic Telegraph Register for Notre Dame Academy, right across the river on Fifth Street.  The ad looks good, just what their daughter needs!  The selling points are expressed in the Notre Dame Academy Bulletin which, upon request, your parents received in the mail.  They read in the Foreward the following:

The object of Notre Dame Academy is to train its students to realize that the end of man (sic) is the “pursuit of perfection through communion with God, his (sic) fellow-creatures and nature, by means of knowledge and conduct, of faith, hope, admiration and love.”  Its curriculum is adapted to combine breadth and training with free development of individuality in order to make its students serious, purposeful, courageous, strong Catholic women.  Religious influences are brought to bear upon the students to aid in solving the educational problems of the day.

All the needs of the students—physical, intellectual, moral—receive the attention that circumstances require.

The Course of Instruction embraces the Primary, the Intermediate, the Grammar, the Junior High, the Commercial, and the Academic Departments.

Fast forward to 2014, just 84 years later.  Much of the Foreward still rings true—that’s still what we are all about.  The last paragraph really is the only thing that places this piece in the distant past .  The Commercial school discontinued in 1934 and all sections of the grade school in 1937.  By that time the high school, the “Academic Department,” needed much more space and the surrounding Catholic grade schools welcomed NDA’s former “pupils”.
As a sort of post script, note the elaborate ND on this cover of the bulletin—very typical of the identifications used in the period.  Lovely and elegant.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Statley Sentinels Depart

Trees.  Such magnificent things.  There’s the baobab in LITTLE PRINCE, the ”Giving  Tree”story,  Joice Kilmer ‘s poem beginning, ”I think that I shall never see/A poem lovely as a tree.”  Blogger saw some spectacular trees in California not long ago, notably eucalyptus—such grand creations.  Well, the trees we will consider here were once grand, although not in such a spectacular way.  Folks who have long been familiar with the campus as well as current students easily recall the strand of trees along the side of the building.  Planted about 50 years ago, they grew in stateliness as the years passed, providing shade to many cars parked near them and later to soccer fans.  Weather and progress have not been too kind to them, however.  Recall the ice storm that marred the beauty of so many trees a few years ago, and the draught of a few recent summers that took their toll on trees.  Even before that, the excavation for the soccer field with endless moving around of huge mounds of earth managed to expose the roots of some of the trees in the strand and generally disturbed the root systems of all of them.  Earlier still 

 c. 1975

was the extension of blacktop in their direction to provide for a second lane in the driveway.  And so, to make a long story mercifully short, they had reached the point of being about one fourth their fullness and health.  Last week the tree men moved in and took all of them down.  It seemed a sad end, but a necessary one that has made room now for a new strand to be planted in the fall. 
The photos show the side of the building (original front) as it looked in 1963, then the progress of the trees that were planted early on, and finally what the side of the building looks like now.  Promise lies in the future planting.  (Blogger apologizes for the blurred photos of photos.  At least the final photo taken the other day is  sharp.)

Monday, May 12, 2014


So is there really a tunnel to CCH or isn’t there?  That is the question.  Well, if reason prevails (hardly ever any fun), between us and them there is a great gulf (not as big as the original one of c. 40 ft. deep—a.k.a. the gully) and them some--the Heights property, the Dixie, CCH’s parking lot, and a new CCH--to repeat, if reason prevails, a tunnel is an impossibility.  So when/where did the rumor originate?  Ah, one of life’s oft repeated mysteries.  A question that comes to blogger’s mind is if there was such a rumor when both schools were “in town”?  It would actually been more possible there where the two buildings were much closer and measuring the same feet above sea level.  (For the younger reader not so acquainted with local history, NDA was on Fifth St. in Covington and CCH was on Sixth St.—actually very close to each other and the cause of many palpitations when NDA students would walk from school to Mother of God Church which was across the street from Mother of God School, site of CCH.  CCH teachers had to be very engaging or very muscular to keep their students from rushing to the windows as soon as the girls’ chatter was heard.)  Ah, the good old days!

So is there a tunnel.  Well, actually, yes, as the rather blurred photos below show.  It’s hard to navigate in a stooped position (clearance almost all the way through is about four and a half feet) with a flashlight, small dolly to kneel on, and a camera, and still take really good, sharp photos—at least that’s what blogger tells herself.  The tunnels, as any one in construction will tell you, are where one finds pipes and wiring, and maybe storage; so it’s the same in this building.  NDA’s tunnels extend in at least three directions and have a few doors connecting sections.  At one time in her earlier life, blogger went through the whole thing, but age has reduced endurance, so the adventure was a good deal shorter this time.  Is it creepy?  Not to the experienced spelunker.  Is it full of rodent life?  No, there’s nothing to eat down there.  Could one get lost?  Yes, if one is not familiar enough with where one is in relation to the first floor under which the tunnel passes.  How does one get into the tunnel, i.e., where are the entry points?  Ah, reader, that is classified information!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

We've Hit the Big Time!

Curious?  Since we’ve hit many big times over our 108 years (yes, 108.  Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday?!), but we have not had a soccer field until a modest six years ago.  So now what?  Our soccer field with track and field accommodations now has a PRESS BOX!  A real honest-to-goodness press box.  One can just see the fans pressing into it in cold rainy weather.  Just kidding.  Our games are, of course, covered by the press.  One of our own grads, Carrie Cochran of the Enquirer, has come several times to photograph games.  (She's an award winning photojournalist, by the way.)

  Our games are also on radio and television, and thus the press box.  The field is in use frequently even in April.  Our own lacrosse team is “in season” now as well as clubs playing soccer on most weekends.  Soon the track and field folks will be “in season” as one got a preview of shot putting just yesterday (before the snow came again).  So here are a few shots of our newest structure on campus.  It’s above the south side of the field, as one would guess, in line with the top row of bleachers.  Stay posted.  Who knows what may spring up next?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Cheer, Cheer, for Our Notre Dame

Blogger hopes the title of this blog does not cause any trouble.  The last time we used something that sort of looked like something from another institution by the same name (there’s a U. in front of our two significant initials) we were, shall we say, reminded that there could be a law suit.  Of course, we demurred.  Ahem.

Do you remember old cheers from your high school days?  Sr. M. Reina has one that she carries in her memory from her Regina High School days.  The cheer goes like this:
            Aka laka ching
            Aka laka chow
            Aka laka ching ching
            Chow, chow, chow.
(Are you out of your chair yet?)
            (Our school, our school) Rah, rah, rah!
(“Notre Dame, Notre Dame” fits better than “Regina, Regina”, don’t you think?)  This is probably a pretty well known cheer.

One that blogger remembers from somewhere; perhaps it’s familiar too.
            Boom chika boom,
            Boom chika boom;
            Boom chika licka chika,
            Boom chika boom.
            Zis-boom bah, zis-boom bah
            (Our school, our school) Rah, rah, rah!

The faculty has used this a few times at faculty v. students volley ball games.  And a good time was had by all!  (Students won the last such game, but it was not fair, really.  Miss Gunning, our athletic director, came into the game on the side of the students.)

It would be interesting to research these cheers.  Does anyone know when and where they were first used?  (Of course you could ask, does anyone really care?)
You are invited to let blogger know of any cheer you remember from your own days at NDA if there were such, or from CCH since our girls served as their cheer leaders for several years (perhaps you were one of them).  It would be fun to have a blog just on your recollections.  Misspellings are permitted and forgiven (who’s to know anyway?)

 Have a happy spring, yes, SPRING.  They say it will come!
Regarding the picture, yes, that is, no: blogger knows these are not cheer-leaders, but it's a fun photo, don't you think?  Sort of fits.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Regarding the Last Posting...

Oops!  The photo to which you were referred in the last blog was not there.  How is one to imagine the adventure of crossing the roof when one can’t see the reality?  (Blogger remembers crossing it a few times in the blazing sun of summer, and what an adventure that was!)  So here is the photo.

 Now imagine packing up the contents of a building this size and moving it about two miles away as the crow flies.  But, of course, crows the size of moving vans don’t fly anywhere, so now imagine moving all the packed items.  Sr. M. Reina gave a few insights: first, furniture items were sold as they were no longer vital to teaching/living.  Desks were sold for 50 cents.  In the cafeteria a buyer could find, grouped according to category, other memorabilia.

Packing went on along with the teaching, i.e., one taught one’s scheduled classes, then went to the assigned task of packing (everything well organized, of course).  The Sisters worked in partners facilitating the packing, moving, and later unpacking of the boxes.  Everything had to be clearly marked to avoid later mayhem. Boxes of packed items went to the gym (remember the room made from two classrooms and having the ceiling height of every other room in the building).  The library posed a particular challenge.  The packers used trough trays in packing the books shelf by shelf and marking them according to a designated system.  At the Hilton Dr. end the books were put on shelves as they arrived.

And how did the Sisters get all those boxes to the new site?  A huge debt of gratitude goes to the parents and other friends of Notre Dame Academy who generously went back and forth from 5th Street to Hilton Drive until the monumental task was complete.  The librarian was able to recruit about 20 van drivers for the library challenge.  Perhaps you have a “moving experience” to which you can compare this one.  Which would you choose to do again if it were demanded?

Questions still linger as do many, many stories of those days.  What happened to all the statues?  They went to the new home in Park Hills.  Many are still around; one valued statue got damaged over the years and deemed beyond repair—the Sacred Heart statue that stood in the 5th St. cafeteria (blogger thinks) and then in the H. Dr. cafeteria for several years.  A few of the statues are lovingly kept by the Sisters in their 4th floor residence.  Were all the desks sold?  No, a few are still in storage for old time’s sake. 

There’s more grist for the mill on the larger topic here, but this is sufficient for now.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Ups and Downs of Life

Let us now consider the elevator. The elevator at Fifth Street was off limits to the students unless they had a medical need. While that’s the rule here on Hilton Dr. today, it’s a bit easier, to say the least, for students to “bend the rule” since today’s “lift” does not necessitate a call/operate key as the Fifth St. one did. By the way, the old building didn’t get an elevator until the late 1940s. One of the installers asked what was done with the old elevator. We didn’t have one was the reply. Amazement! “You had to climb five floors?” Affirmative. This really applied only to the Sisters, some of whom slept in one of the two large but separate rooms on the roof. Yes, on the roof. Yes, separate. There was a walkway (referred to as “the bridge”) between them. Actually, you can see the walkway on the photo—it’s between the two skylights. One room was a dormitory and had about nine beds. The other was used for storage but visited regularly. Was the dorm cold in winter? Was the walk to the storage room a chilling experience? Does water freeze at 32 degrees F.? The Sherpas of Nepal had nothing on these Sisters.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The History of Houses

How many changes have you made in your house and/or yard since you’ve been living at your current address?  Certainly you haven’t occupied that piece of property for over 100 years, but maybe your family has.  Our NDA family has occupied two houses in the past 107 years: one on 5th St. in Covington for 57 years and the one on Hilton Dr. for 50.  If the changes in the 5th Street building alone were recorded here, you would be reading for quite a while. 
A few changes that come to mind could revolve around the transfer of Sisters’ quarters in 1927 to 1601 Dixie Highway, their new provincial center.  Before this time the school building was as much a convent as it was a school.  The move therefore freed a number of rooms for school use.  The 5th Street facility was still the home of a grade school, a high school and a commercial school with the “Music House” providing space for music lessons.  That building was purchased in 1922 for an infirmary for the Sisters as well as for music lessons (thus the “Music House”).  Since it was so close to the school building a bridge was built between the two buildings.  This bridge was later torn down (1931) to allow for more classroom space. 
These movings-about were many and with no elevator yet as can be read in the next blog spot!  The Music House became home also to the Art Department after 1948 when Sr. M. Reina, helped by her sister Mill, moved the department from the third floor of the main building.  The Fine Arts were always capital at Notre Dame Academy and now had their own building separate from the rest of the school but always a vital part of it.