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Toronto Catholic District School Board


School History and Tradition
 
In 1941 the Congregation of Notre Dame founded Notre Dame High School to provide excellence in education for young Catholic women in the east end of Toronto. The Sisters of the Congregation were teaching at the school throughout the first sixty years of our long history.
 
Notre Dame began in 1941 as a small church building, and grew to the Main Building, built in 1950. O’Connor Hall, a second building, was added in 1963 and is named in honour of Monsignor Denis O’Connor, pastor of St. John Parish, who provided the first site of Notre Dame. Further growth saw Notre Dame hold classes in the neighbouring St. John Catholic Elementary School.  
 
We have also recently celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of the canonization of Marguerite Bourgeoys, the founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame, and our school’s patron saint. Her feast day, January 12, is celebrated annually, with special events coordinated by the school’s chaplaincy team.  An educator herself, Marguerite’s legacy lives on in the staff and students for whom she is an important role model. Inspired by the charism of Marguerite Bourgeoys we continue to proclaim and celebrate our Catholic faith, identity and traditions. 
 
Traditions are an integral part of the Notre Dame Community. Starting from a very small group of adventurous young women who engendered a sense of connection and defined what we have come to call Notre Dame Spirit, we have created a “home away from home”, in which a sense of sisterhood is fostered and celebrated. Our monthly assemblies, our annual service initiatives, such as the Thanksgiving Food Drive and the Christmas Baskets, as well as our Graduation celebrations, are rooted in our deep sense of connection to our history. Our traditions reflect and respond to God’s call to become fully alive, to create a loving community and to build the kingdom of God by nurturing the potential in each of our students. The pioneers would recognize in our community today the gift that has always been ours-- to make a lot out of a little.
 
Notre Dame Spirit is an audible, tangible thing that we experience in our assemblies, liturgies, performances and athletics.

Each year we organize events in which the whole school participates.  Our Student Council coordinates traditional events such as Assemblies, Civvies Days, Semi Formals and the Welcome Barbeque.  The Athletic Council organizes events such as Spirit Week and the Walk-A-Thon. Other traditions carried on by our Chaplaincy team include liturgies, grade retreats and our Lenten project. We are also well known for our joyous celebration of Multicultural Day, Graduation, Christmas Baskets, and our generous response to social justice and humanitarian causes.  We are a school of leadership, excellence and service in a dynamic environment.
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