Notre Dame High School (San Jose, California)

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Notre Dame High School
596 South 2nd Street
San Jose, California, (Santa Clara County) 95112
United States
Coordinates 37°19′42″N 121°52′57″W / 37.32833°N 121.88250°W / 37.32833; -121.88250Coordinates: 37°19′42″N 121°52′57″W / 37.32833°N 121.88250°W / 37.32833; -121.88250
Type Private, All-Female
Motto "Teach them what they need to know for life."
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established 1851
Founder Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur
Dean Michelle McGovern
Principal Mary Beth Riley
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 634 (2012–2013)
Color(s) Navy Blue and Maroon         
Song Ora et Labora
Mascot Regent[1]
Accreditation Western Association of Schools and Colleges[2]
Newspaper Crown and Sheild
Tuition $16,470
Director of Admissions Maya Courtright
Director of Development Elizabeth Fox
Dean of Students Michelle McGovern
Director of Enrollment Susana Garcia
Athletic Director Denise Krogen
Activities Director Catherine Pandori

Notre Dame High School is a private, Catholic, college preparatory high school for girls founded in 1851 by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and operates within the Diocese of San Jose, California, USA. The school is located in San Jose, California. The school's mission is driven by the teachings of Saint Julie Billiart, the foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur: "Teach them what they need to know for life."

School history[edit]

Notre Dame, San Jose est. 1851

Notre Dame is an all-girls Catholic high school situated in downtown San Jose. The school was founded as the College of Notre Dame by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and opened on August 4, 1851 on Santa Clara Street. In 1868, it became California’s first chartered women’s college.[3] Since the founding, the College of Notre Dame, high school and elementary school moved: to the Ralston estate,[4] located in Belmont on the San Francisco Peninsula while part of the high school (Santa Clara Street Academy)[5] moved to the O’Connor Mansion at Second and Reed Street in San Jose. The O’Connor Mansion, was donated in 1898 to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur by Judge Myles P. O'Connor and his wife, Amanda.[6]

In 1903 US President McKinley visited the school and was presented rosebuds by the students.

Since the moving of the school, many additional buildings were built in order to accommodate the growing number of students. In 1958, the construction of two buildings began. Julie Billiart Hall served the purpose of a gathering place for school functions, a gym, and a cafeteria. Madonna Hall, later renamed Donnelly Hall in honor of Sister Mary Emmanuel Donnelly, is a two-story building that contains classrooms, teacher offices, and now a fully functional computer lab.

Later, the O’Connor Mansion had to be torn down due to its deterioration and Manley Hall was built in its stead. Manley Hall was opened and made available for students’ use on September 9, 2002. Manley Hall is a three-story building, designed by Anderson-Brulé Architects. The building, though modern in design and use, still conveys an air of age and history, as was the intent of the architects. To add to this feeling was the inclusion of the fireplaces and artifacts saved from the O’Connor Mansion, the more noticeable being the fireplace located in the library and the glass doors (though one is a replica) of the Alumnae Room. All of the floors of this building are decorated with the class photos from the school, the earliest dating before the 1890s. As of 2012, it is 161 years old.

Information paraphrased from

Class mascots and colors[edit]

Each grade has their own mascots and colors, which were voted on at the beginning of their freshman year. No two classes may have any overlaps in colors and no class may have black or white as a class color. Currently, they are:

Class of 2020 - The Royal Blue and Bubblegum Pink Griffins

Class of 2019 - The Green and Gold Vipers

Class of 2018 - The Purple and Yellow Dragons

Class of 2017 - The Teal and Orange Ravens

In the past, they have been:

Class of 2016 - The Blue and Green Wolves

Class of 2015 - The Maroon and Gold Goddesses

Class of 2014 - The Red and Purple Phoenixes

Class of 2013 - The Teal and Yellow Super Heroes

Class of 2012 - The Pink and Green Cobras

Class of 2011 - The Royal Blue and Orange Warriors

Class of 2010 - The Purple and Gold Bandits

Class of 2009 - The Lime Green and Turquoise Ninjas

Class of 2008 - The Pink and Silver Tigers

Class of 2007 - The Red and Gray Pirates

Class of 2006 - The Sapphire Blue and Gold Phoenixes

Class of 2005 - The Light Blue and Purple Comets

Class of 2004 - The Green and Silver Dragons

Class of 2003 - The Orange and Yellow Flames

Class of 2002 - The Maroon and Gold Wizards

Class of 2001 - The Red and Brown Bulldogs

Class of 2000 - The Teal and Silver Dragons

Class of 1999 - The Purple and Gray Party Bombs

Class of 1998- The Maroon and Gold Jesters

Class of 1997 - The Green and Black Marvin the Martians

Class of 1996- The Teal and Silver Penguins

Class of 1995- The Purple and White Dizzy Devils

Class of 1994- The Red and Gold Dragons

Class of 1993- The Magenta and ? Panthers

Class of 1992- The Turquoise and Silver Dolphins

Class of 1991- The Purple and White Dinosaurs

Class of 1990- The Gold and Brown Chipmunks

Class of 1989 - The Black and White Penguins

Class of 1988 - The Red and White Teddy Bears

Class of 1984 - The Black and White Pandas

Class of 1981 - The Brown and Gold Honeybees

Class of 1974- The Purple and Lavender Pirates

Class of 1967- The Red and White Warriors

Spirit Week winner[edit]

Since 2012, the school does not have an overall spirit week winner, but rather only announces winners for each individual event

2011 - Class of 2012, Cobras

2010 - Class of 2010, Bandits

2009 - Class of 2009, Ninjas

2008 - Class of 2008, Tigers

2007 - Class of 2007, Pirates

2006 - Class of 2006, Phoenixes

2005 - Class of 2005, Comets

2004 - Class of 2004, Dragons

2003 - Class of 2003, Flames

2002 - Class of 2003, Flames

2001 - Class of 2002, Wizards

1992 - Class of 1992, Dolphins

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Notre Dame High School of San Jose (NDSJ) provides a wide variety of activities outside of classes, including numerous clubs, sports, and interaction with the San Jose community. Clubs can range from different cultures (i.e. Filipino Student Association, Latinas Unidas, Vietnamese Student Association) to hobbies (i.e. Culinary, Art, Lit Mag, Improv/Comedy Sportz, Film Fest) to helping students reach their goals in the future (i.e. Future Business Leaders Association, California Scholarship Federation). Different clubs can hold their own activities that may interact with other high schools around San Jose, giving the students a chance to socialize not only with the other classes of Notre Dame, but also with their peers from other schools. Each club is appointed a moderator, who is a teacher who oversees the club's meetings and activities, and a main council (president, VP, treasurer, secretary, athletic coordinator) that collaborates to organize and set up meetings and club-sponsored activities.

Big Sister/Little Sister Program[edit]

Notre Dame's close-knit community perpetuates sisterhood through its Big Sis'/Lil Sis' Program. Paired by homerooms, each third year student is appointed a frosh student. The junior student takes on the big sister role as a mentor for the frosh, since the transition between middle school to high school may be difficult for incoming students. The Big sis'/Lil sis' pair continue the following year when the frosh becomes a sophomore and the junior becomes a senior. When the senior graduates, her Lil Sis' becomes a junior who then takes on the Big Sis role and consequently gets matched with an incoming student the following year.

Community service[edit]

One graduation requirement of students is community service hours. The point in adding community service as a graduation requirement is to teach girls how to be "socially responsible and answer the call to be a person of justice." NDSJ tries to integrate justice into their students by making the girls look at their surroundings and try to make a difference in the San Jose community.

The service hour requirements are as follows:

Freshmen: 10 hours working with women and children.

Sophomores: 15 hours working with the marginalized and vulnerable populations (ex. elderly, physically/mentally impaired, refugees, and/or migrant workers).

Juniors: 20 hours of service at one agency to address a local issue of the student's choice (ex. environment, health care/hospital work, immigration, literacy, or socio-economic disadvantages.) 10 hours may be completed during the summer prior to junior year.

Seniors: Student designed Senior Service Learning Project. (SSLP) 25+ project portfolio and group reflection session. All hours may be completed during the summer before senior year.


  • Every year Notre Dame chooses a Rene Lepiane[7] Leadership Award Recipient from the class of incoming students. The award is in recognition of exceptional young women who exhibit leadership and compassion.
  • For incoming freshmen at Notre Dame, they have the opportunity to receive the Julie Billiart Scholar Award, meaning they scored on the 98th-99th percentile on their High School Proficiency Assessment, and as a student at Notre Dame, if they maintain a 3.8 GPA during their 4 years they are also recognized at their graduation.[8]

Notable alumnae[edit]

  • Mary Birmngham ’56 Emery, J.D. - First female graduating class of Santa Clara University's Law School. Library Directory and Associate Dean of Santa Clara School of Law.[9]
  • Shirlee DiNapoli '46 Schiro - 2013 Grand Marshal of Willow Glenn Founder's Day Parade, Property Developer.[10]
  • Michelle Do '01 - Youngest member in history of the U.S. Women’s Table Tennis Team, for the 2000 Olympics.[11]
  • Princess Kapiolani of Hawaii, Class of 1921.
  • Joan Leahy '1947 Egan - First Woman Pharmacist in Los Gatos. Grand daughter of Dennis and Mary Ann Lunney Leah, early San Jose pioneers.[12]
  • Shirley Minardi Lewis '50 - San Jose Symphony director. San Jose City Council Member for the Berryessa District for 12 years.[13]
  • Kathleen O'Shea '65 Muller - Executive director of the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy and the San Jose Historical Museum Association.[14]
  • Linda Park '96 - Actress. Famous for her role as Hoshi Sato on Star Trek: Enterprise.[15]
  • Louise Prevost Auzerais - An early 1840s San Jose pioneer. Auzerais Avenue in downtown San Jose is named after their family.[16]
  • Patricia Sunseri '58 Schott - Philanthropist. Stephen and Pat Schott were owners of the Oakland Athletics MLB team (1995–2005) and Citation Homes.[17]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Notre Dame High School San Jose - Traditions & Symbols – Mascot History: Regents, mascot used to be Gremlins". Retrieved 2015-09-02. 
  2. ^ WASC-ACS. "WASC-Accrediting Commission for Schools". Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  3. ^ San Jose Historic Walk
  4. ^ "Image: Final-1910-timeline_WEB.jpg, (620 × 948 px)". 2013-04-09. Retrieved 2015-09-02. 
  5. ^ "Early History | Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur". Retrieved 2015-09-02. 
  6. ^ Honorable and Mrs. Myles P. O'Connor donate their home to the school.
  7. ^ "Our Rene". Retrieved 2015-09-02. 
  8. ^ "Notre Dame High School San Jose - Scholarships". Retrieved 2015-09-02. 
  9. ^ "Santa Clara Magazine - Mary B. Emery". Retrieved 2015-09-02. 
  10. ^ "Grand Marshal - Willow Glen". Archived from the original on 2014-04-22. Retrieved 2015-09-02. 
  11. ^ "Ping-Pong Wizard / Michelle Do, a 17-year-old at Notre Dame High, is a member of the U.S. table-tennis team. - SFGate". Retrieved 2015-09-02. 
  12. ^ "Mrs Joan Marie Leahy Egan (1929 - 2012) - Find A Grave Memorial". Retrieved 2015-09-02. 
  13. ^ "Metroactive Features | Bellarmine Preparatory School". Retrieved 2015-09-02. 
  14. ^ "Notre Dame High School San Jose - Kathleen O'Shea '65 Muller". Retrieved 2015-09-02. 
  15. ^ "Cannot open file..." (PDF). Retrieved 2015-09-02. 
  16. ^ Carolyn Feroben. "JOHN E. AUZERAIS- SAN JOSE PIONEER BANKER". Retrieved 2015-09-02. 
  17. ^ "Stephen and Patricia Schott Professor". Retrieved 2015-09-02. 

External links[edit]