Notre Dame Academy selected as new regional school’s name

| January 17, 2013 | 0 Comments

Notre Dame Academy will be the name of the new regional Catholic school opening this fall in the west metro area. The name was chosen by Archbishop John Nienstedt following input from the local Catholic community.

St. John’s Catholic School in Hopkins and Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School in Minnetonka will form the new pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade school, which will be housed in the current IHM school building.

“The name reflects our strong Catholic roots, and it is also synonymous with academic excellence,” said Mark Pihart, the father of three children currently attending St. John’s School and co-chair of Notre Dame Academy’s advancement committee.

“‘Notre Dame’ (which mean ‘Our Lady’) emphasizes our Catholic faith and asks for the intercession of our Blessed Mother to guide us,” said a school announcement about the new name. “Academy,” it added “emphasizes our high academic standards and commitment to helping our students fall in love with seeking and finding the truth throughout their educational experiences and life.”

Naming process

The Notre Dame Academy name was chosen through a process that included students, parents and school and parish staff members.

Families from the parishes of St. John the Evangelist and St. Joseph in Hopkins (St. Joseph merged into St. John’s Jan. 1 to form St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church) and Immaculate Heart of Mary in Minnetonka submitted names, which were then reviewed by the regional School Advisory Council to make sure they met criteria established by the archdiocese, Pihart said. One requirement was that the proposed names could not already be in use by another school in the archdiocese.

The advisory council narrowed the list to five names, he said, and on Nov. 6 students from St. John’s and IHM voted for their favorite. After further review and discussion, the council submitted the top names for review to the regional school’s board of directors, which in turn submitted two to Archbishop Nienstedt.

“The archbishop wrote back saying Notre Dame Academy would be a great name, that putting our school under the protection of Our Lady was very fitting,” said Father James Liekhus, pastor of St. Gabriel the Archangel who will serve as the moderator of the new school.

In addition to choosing the name, Notre Dame Academy recently announced that it hired Terry Factor, an educator and former school administrator from Rockford, Ill., as its principal.

Notre Dame Academy will host an information night at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 31 and an open house from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 3; both events will be at the IHM school building.

The Notre Dame Academy website will launch later this month.

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