Notre Dame Preparatory School to celebrate 150th anniversary

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Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson will celebrate its 150th anniversary with a host of events starting Sept. 22.

The celebration will begin at 8:45 a.m. with an assembly for students, including speakers, a video and a livestream of the prayer service from Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore, where the school was first located.


A vehicle procession from the university to the Towson campus will start at 9:15 a.m. Upon arrival at the high school, students will line the driveway to welcome the procession. Following the procession, Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop William Lori for the Notre Dame Prep community, according to a news release.

Later in the day, a celebration for students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni and the public will take place starting at 5:30 p.m., and will feature food trucks, music, and a varsity soccer game at 7 p.m.


On Sept. 23, the Notre Dame Prep community will participate in a Community Day of Service at First Fruits Farm. On Sept. 24, the Annual Blazer Dash 5K, which raises funds for scholarships, will be held.

The all-girls school educates more than 800 students in grades 6 to 12 yearly and has over 60 clubs covering a variety of interests, including the Cybersecurity Club, Women in Medicine, The Diversity Council and Green Schools. The school is administered by the School Sisters of Notre Dame, an international order of Catholic women.

Originally located in North Baltimore at 4701 N. Charles St., the prep school opened its doors to 69 students on Sept. 22, 1873. The school grew to include an elementary, middle and high school, and offered students the option to commute or reside on campus, according to the release.

In 1895, what is now Notre Dame of Maryland University, was founded and became the first Catholic college for women in the United States to award the four-year baccalaureate degree. While the college is a separate entity from Notre Dame Prep, it was possible to go from first grade to college without leaving the campus, according to the Notre Dame Preparatory School website.

In the 1950s, leaders of the school began planning the move to Towson to accommodate the growing number of applicants to the elementary and high schools. They purchased 66 acres on Hampton Lane for $200,000 and broke ground on the new campus in 1958.

Two years later, in fall 1960, Notre Dame Prep welcomed students from kindergarten through grade 12 to its Towson campus. By 1982, the school no longer taught kindergarten through grade 5, the release said.

Head of School Sister Patricia McCarron began her career at Notre Dame Prep in 1984 as a math teacher. She worked at the school for four years and provided leadership as the junior varsity basketball coach and an adviser for the student government.

“I absolutely loved my first year teaching,” McCarron said in an interview. “The students were so engaged, enthusiastic, gifted and talented. I had wonderful mentors who helped me along the way, and showed me how to not only be an excellent teacher, but showed me the Notre Dame way.”


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Before McCarron returned to Notre Dame Prep School to become head of school in 2005, she was the academic dean at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, now Notre Dame of Maryland University.

“I was asked to consider returning to NDP and I absolutely loved my time at the university level, but I realized that it was a call from God and the School Sisters of Notre Dame to return, and I have been very blessed to have worked as head of school for the 18-plus years.”

Service to the community is also an important part of Notre Dame Prep education. The school has one of the oldest direct-service programs of any school in the Baltimore area. All grades participate in direct service activities including Stone Soup Day, Dinner with Our Elders, Penny Queen, Christmas Families, Red Cross blood drives, Coffee House, and Camp Umoja, founded in 1985, an opportunity for children living in public housing in Baltimore City to experience a weeklong summer camp on the campus including arts, crafts, computer classes and swimming.

“The service opportunities are so important because we find that by serving others, we ourselves are the ones who are transformed,” said McCarron. “So those service experiences are a way of life for us at Notre Dame, not just something that we do.”

The theme of the anniversary celebration is “Where a Gateway Opens,” which references the gateway that students in sixth and ninth grades walk under when they are officially welcomed to the school. When the students graduate, they walk under the gateway again after their commencement walk, symbolizing their entry into the world beyond Notre Dame Prep, according to the news release.

“This year we’re so full of gratitude and we’re celebrating all of the wonderful blessings that God has given NDP over the last 150 years,” said McCarron. “This year we are honoring tradition, celebrating the present, and looking toward transforming the future.


To register for the events, visit