Notre Dame High School (Chattanooga, Tennessee)

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For other schools of the same name, see Notre Dame High School (disambiguation).
Notre Dame High School
NDHS Logo(Chattanooga, TN).gif
Veritas vincit omnia
"Truth conquers all"
2701 Vermont Avenue
Chattanooga, Tennessee, (Hamilton County), 37404
United States
Coordinates 35°2′16″N 85°15′32″W / 35.03778°N 85.25889°W / 35.03778; -85.25889Coordinates: 35°2′16″N 85°15′32″W / 35.03778°N 85.25889°W / 35.03778; -85.25889
Type Private, Coeducational
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established 1876
School number 423.624.4618
Principal George D. Valadie
Chaplain Fr. Mike Cummings
Grades 912
Enrolment ~375
Campus size 20 acres (81,000 m2)
Color(s) Green and White         
Mascot Leprechaun
Team name Fighting Irish
Rival Signal Mountain High School
Accreditation Southern Association of Colleges and Schools[1]
Yearbook Irish Echoes
Tuition $9,800 (Catholic);
$12,900 (non-Catholic)
Alumni 6,000+ Alumni residing in all 50 states and 9 foreign countries
Dean of Academic Affairs Pat Landry
Dean of Student Affairs John Mullin
Director of Admissions Elizabeth Maounis
Athletic Director Howie Sompayrac
Director of Advancement and Alumni Affairs Veronica Seaman
Director of Communications Gayle Schoenborn

Notre Dame High School is a coeducational, Catholic college preparatory school in Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States, serving grades 9-12 and educating students of all faiths. Notre Dame High School is the oldest non-public school in Chattanooga celebrating 135 years in 2011. On October 15, 2010, Notre Dame was named to the top 50 Catholic secondary schools in the U.S. The recognition was bestowed upon them by the Catholic High School Honor Roll.[citation needed]


In January, 1876, the Dominican Sisters of the St. Cecilia Community in Nashville opened a parish school in Chattanooga at the request of the Reverend Patrick Ryan, the pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Church. A second school was then opened for non-Catholic girls. In 1878, both schools were closed temporarily because of the yellow fever epidemic. After reopening, a period of prosperity followed; the enrollment increased so rapidly that a new and larger building was erected in 1886. In 1898, Notre Dame Academy became a co-educational parochial school; the name was unofficially changed to Notre Dame School. In 1926, Monsignor Francis T. Sullivan, pastor of Saints Peter and Paul, readied another school for occupancy on 8th Street where Notre Dame remained until 1965.

In 1954, Notre Dame High School became inter-parochial under the direction of a priest-principal, Reverend James Driscoll. This change, in keeping with the policy of the Diocese of Nashville, was to establish combined high schools in cities where there were two or more parishes. In 1963, Notre Dame High School became the first school in the Chattanooga area to become racially integrated.

Increased enrollment again necessitated more spacious accommodations. In September, 1965, Notre Dame High School moved to a new campus at 2701 Vermont Avenue, where it stands today. The Reverend William Bevington, newly appointed principal, began the process of resettlement.

Dedicated in 1966, the campus consisted of a classroom wing, a library, science lab-lecture areas, a fine arts room, and typing and home economics classrooms.

In 1967, Reverend Lawrence A. Maxwell became principal. He served three years and was followed by Reverend J. Patrick Conner in 1970. Father Conner was principal for four years.

In the fall of 1974, Notre Dame High School came under the direction of James D. Phifer, the first layman to be named principal. Under his leadership Notre Dame maintained a vibrant student body as it faced the demands of the seventies and eighties. In addition, a stadium and auditorium were constructed during his tenure.

In 1993, Gilbert L. Saenz assumed the role as principal of Notre Dame High School where he served for three years. Under his leadership, the school refocused on the enhancement of institutional Catholicity, on improving curricular and academic standards, on emphasizing personal responsibility and on improving campus support structures.

In 1996, Perry L. Storey became principal of Notre Dame. The goals established by Mr. Storey were financial viability and enhanced communication among faculty, staff, students and parents, alumni, priests, parishes, feeder schools, and community partners. During his first five years as principal, the school successfully completed a five million dollar capital campaign, the largest in the school's history.

The capital campaign provided for major renovation to the existing facility and for the addition of a new wing with a state-of-the-art library/multimedia center, three new computer laboratories, and a multipurpose room. In addition to the facility changes, major curriculum innovations were implemented, including a dual enrollment program with Chattanooga State Technical Community College and an expanded Advanced Placement program. A modified block schedule was also introduced.

The John Varallo Athletic Center and Classroom Annex opened. The new facility occupies a prominent section of the NDHS campus and includes a 6,628 square-foot auxiliary gymnasium, a new weight room, new men’s and women’s locker rooms, a new art studio and dark room, four academic classrooms, new offices and training facilities and flexible use space for dance, cheerleading and yoga, an indoor wellness track, a 5,218 square-foot wrestling and training center and 4,636 square-feet of multi-use space for student, alumni and community programs.

The fourth Bishop of Knoxville, Richard F. Stika, arranged for the return of four Dominican Sisters from the St. Cecilia Congregation in Nashville, Tennessee. With the help of many benefactors, a house on Glenwood Avenue was completely renovated for use as a convent. The Notre Dame Convent was blessed and dedicated in January 2011. On October 15, 2010, Notre Dame High School was named one of the Top 50 Catholic High Schools in the Nation. The Acton Institute reviews over 2,000 secondary schools each year. To be recognized the school must excel in three categories: academic excellence, Catholic identity, and civic education.

Notre Dame High School welcomes the 2011-2012 school year celebrating the school’s 135th anniversary. In honor of this anniversary, the school implemented a new student program, the House System. This new program offers more leadership, social, and mentoring opportunities for students.

Spiritual Life[edit]

Personal and spiritual growth are encouraged and nourished through a four-year program of theology studies that allows students to examine social justice issues and the histories and beliefs of the world's major religions. Notre Dame's campus ministries are active throughout the year, and the school calendar includes weekly all-school Mass, daily Mass, Adoration, Reconciliation services, class retreats, and SEARCH weekends.[citation needed]

Student life[edit]

Just a few of the activities offered to students include:

  • Houses of Fortis Bellator, Fons Vitae, Lux Vera, and Rex Gloriae
  • Concert and Jazz Bands
  • Pep Band (plays at football games)
  • Liturgical Music Club (Plans and leads music at Mass)
  • BETA Club ( National Beta Club)
  • Mu Alpha Theta
  • National Honor Society
  • Table Tennis
  • Green and Gold Club (School Ambassadors/Public Relations)
  • Theatre (classes as well as a fall, winter, and spring production)
  • Dance (Classes in addition to two teams)
  • Gang Green (spirit team at football games)
  • Ultimate Frisbee Club
  • Cooking for College
  • Chess Club
  • Board Games and More
  • Choir Club
  • Jazz Band
  • Model United Nations
  • Science Fiction Book Club
  • Technology Student Association (TSA)
  • Walk and Talk
  • Yoga Club
  • Co-Ed Volleyball
  • Shamrock Players (Drama Team)


Notre Dame is the home of the Fighting Irish. The following sports are offered at Notre Dame High School.

Sports include:

In 2006, Notre Dame won the Class A/AA Volleyball State Championship 3-2 over Knoxville Catholic. The score of the final game was 16-14.[citation needed]

In 2008, Notre Dame won their third state wrestling tournament. The Irish boys soccer team won the state championship in 1996 and 1997.[citation needed]

Notable alumni[edit]


External links[edit]