Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Capturing the Spirit on 5th Street

Memories, like birds, fleeting.  One must grasp with heart hands.

Of course, Christmas was celebrated on 5th  Street, and celebrated in a big way.  But, alas, times have changed and the way of celebrating has changed dramatically, literally.  Blogger was there for only two Christmas assemblies, but recalls that they were really big, held in the old auditorium (3rd floor, or 2nd?)   Weren’t there little gifts or favors for everyone?  Was there a prayer service also?  Who remembers? The archives would be blessed to include some accounts of what is remembered from “the good old days,” and from Hilton Dr. celebrations (once much bigger than the current ones).  Today we are down to the nitty-gritty of the feast, focusing on THE FEAST with a prayer service at the end of semester exams.  Otherwise the observance is in making other people’s needs the focus through collections of necessities for the less privileged and candy for local jails.

So what is preserved in the archives?  Lots of photos, if one had the time to fish for Christmas photos.  But what was retrieved of the 5th Street celebrations is shown below.  If anyone is recognized, let us know.

This last photo was taken in the Music House.

Have a very blessed Christmas and New Year.  May your memories of Christmases past at NDA be happy ones.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Some Things Old, Some Things New

Memories like birds, fleeting.  One must grasp and hold with heart's hands.

It says somewhere in scripture that there is nothing new under the sun, and to some extent that is true here at NDA as we look forward to our renovations in 2017 .  Some examples:
Moving inner walls,  Expanding outer walls,  Carpeting,  Moving classrooms, Changing use of other rooms,  Installing an elevator,  Adding computers,  Surprises!
All of these are part of the building’s ongoing history and transformation.
So you can see we’re at it again.  It’s always interesting to know why changes are made, so we look at the usual suspects: new demographics, educational trends, technological advances, cultural shifts (not always negative), all implying new ways of looking at the current reality.  Change can also bring new invigoration and avoidance of the rut.  So, considering the needs and with people’s generosity and creative and imaginative thinking, why not go for it?  So we move from the former to the present to the future.  In this blog we will take a look at the chapel, the heart of the school.  We can show you the distant past (think 5th Street) and the present (Hilton Dr.), but, sorry, you will have to wait for a look at the future.

In case the symbols on either side of the altar piece in the current chapel have ever made you wonder their significance, here it is.  The top roundel shows two peacocks,  symbols of eternal life, drinking from the chalice—a reference to the reception of the Eucharist as a means to eternal life.  The next roundel shows two birds (doves of peace?) feeding on grapes (think Precious Blood) with the wheat stalk (think Sacred Host).  The third roundel shows the mother pelican feeding her young with her own blood, a mythological reference and a symbol of Jesus feeding us with his own blood.  These three symbols of the Eucharist are repeated three times over and adding up to twelve  six on either side of the tabernacle.  The other symbol of the Eucharist is in the diagonals that hold the roundels.  Perhaps more abstract than most people would relate to is the symbol of wheat stalks that these represent.  So we have twelve complete wheat stalks with the roundels as the ears of wheat.  Twelve is, of course, the number of Apostles.
The altar piece has other symbols, notably the three Persons of the Trinity—the “eye of God” above the altar piece represents God the Father.  The dove is, of course, the symbol of the Holy Spirit coming down upon the crucifix, God the Son.  Other symbols are the triangle (the Trinity) and the M for Mary.  Altogether we see lots of images that were intended to bring our thoughts to the Eucharist and to Mary.

Now, will all of this be lost in the renovation?  Perhaps the ideas the symbols carry will be recognized in a more contemporary form.  If all of the above on the symbolism is new to you, you are not alone, and maybe this in itself suggests that we need to re-image the sacred truths of our faith.  We shall see what the architects and the committee of students/faculty/staff behind them come up with.  Maybe some prayers are in order that the finished product will not only please the eye, but inspire the heart.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Expecting New Horizons, 1927

Memories, like birds, fleeting--they must be grasped and held in heart's hands.

In this 91st year of publication of the Gavel, it’s been fun going back to the first year to see what interested, moved, inspired, and excited the students of Notre Dame Academy in 1926-27.  In that first year, one such on-going event is given a glimpse in this blog.  
Since the Sisters who taught at the academy (grade school, high school, and commercial) along with the Sisters who taught at Mother of God’s School and several retired or infirm Sisters, the students could hardly ignore the excitement and buzz the new provincial center for the Sisters generated as it rose from the grounds overlooking Lexington Pike, a.k.a. Dixie Highway.  The photo below with the short article does give a sense of expectation, if not much else.  After all, when this new building is completed the only Sisters who will remain at 35 West Fifth Street will be the ones teaching in town, i.e., at the academy and Mother of God’s.  This meant the expansion of the school in terms of space and, therefore, the ability to accept more students at each level. 

As NDA looks to the future and the changes that 2017 will bring to the physical plant on Hilton Drive, the outlook in 1927 becomes a bit more relevant.  We’ve been there in several “befores” as hundreds of photos testify.  In the not-too-distant future, we will be able to view many more photos of exciting new things.
But in 1927...

Memo: to enlarge the photo, click on it.

Friday, September 23, 2016

What Is in a Name?

Memories like birds, fleeting--one must grasp and hold in heart-hands.

The article in last month’s posting was from October 15, 1926, 90 years minus 11 months ago.  This month’s posting is from the same issue of Vol. I, #1 of the Gavel.  On p. 3 of this issue is an interesting article about the name of this new publication, raising all sorts of questions as to why the names that were originally suggested were suggested.  Some are obvious plays on the name of the school while others are quite mysterious (at least to blogger).  One may wonder why the still-current name was chosen since the author of the article seemed to think it was just right.  See what you think.    Would you have chosen another name listed or come up with your own?
By the way, just the other day, the journalism teacher, Mr. Glynn, pointed out to his class and to blogger that the name on the masthead of the current editions of Gavel is still done in the same type set.  Since the publication is now in its 91st. year, that's quite impressive--another tradition carried on.          

An added bonus this month is the Athletics article.  Yes, we had them (or at least were trying) in 1926.  Both articles are cropped a bit so as to fit here.    

P.S. Blogger apologizes for a late posting.  Computer glitches derailed the planned posting date.

Friday, August 19, 2016

1924 Nose for News

Memories like birds, fleeting--one must grasp and hold in heart's hand.

Having been begun in 1924, The Gavel, the school newspaper of NDA, reveals some interesting items of news.  In this blog will be featured a few of the articles that appeared in the first edition of the newspaper.

Below are the articles.  You may recognize the names of the authors.

We are fortunate to have bound volumes of the first 30+ years and a loose collection of the publication until it went on-line in 2012.  So our story could go on and on!