Notre Dame Newsletter

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Alicia Blagg narrowly misses BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year Award

Former Notre Dame student, Alicia Blagg, who was included in this year’s BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award nominations, narrowly missed out on the award which was won by gymnast Claudia Fragipane.

Alicia, a diver, was part of the strong field of ten contenders, which also included wheelchair athlete Jade Jones. Previous winners have included household names such as Tom Daley, Andy Murray, Wayne Rooney and Ellie Simmonds, which highlights just how exceptional these sports people are.

18-year-old Alicia represented England at this year’s Commonwealth Games in the 1m, 3m and 3m synchronised diving competitions, after winning the British 3m springboard title in June. A student at Notre Dame until a few weeks ago, she has unfortunately had to move to a college nearer to her training centre in order for her to keep up with her rigorous training schedule.

Notre Dame Principal, Terry Coen, said, “Alicia is an incredibly talented and determined young woman. She is an excellent student in every way and we wish her every success in the future. The whole College will be following her career and cheering her on.”


(posted 18 December 2014)

Notre Dame students inspired to say ‘Yes’ to success

On Monday 1 December 2014, 12 students from Notre Dame travelled to London to kick start their Career Academy programme, and enjoyed a behind-the-scenes visit to Clifford Chance Solicitors. The event, called A Capital Experience, was organised in partnership with national charity, Career Academies UK, which aims to bridge the gap between education and work by giving young people access to real experiences of the world of work.

As part of their visit to Clifford Chance, students were given information about undertaking a career in law.

In the afternoon, the students joined 1,700 other young people from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, all of whom are beginning the Career Academy programme. Students were given the opportunity to hear from motivational speakers and enjoyed entertainment from Citi Bank’s choir, who recently featured in the BBC’s The Choir – Sing While You Work, as well as dance group, CEO Dancers.

Career Academies UK aims to make young people work ready by delivering a programme of mentoring, masterclasses, workplace visits and internships in schools and colleges across the UK. Notre Dame] has been working with Career Academies UK for several years to help our students prepare for the world of work.

Anne Spackman, Executive Director of Career Academies UK, said: “It is always fantastic to welcome students from right across the country to experience work and life in the capital. We know that for some of them it will have been their first trip to London, and to walk into the glass and marble towers of the capital and realise that they are welcome and that someone like them could work there, is an inspirational moment for students.

“We hope that moment of inspiration will stay with them throughout the programme and motivate them to aim higher in their future careers.”

For more information about Career Academies UK, and to see photos from the event, visit:

(posted 12 December 2014)

Staff and Students take part in “Interfaith Day”

The Philosophy, Theology and Ethics department at Notre Dame held an “Interfaith Day” event on Wednesday the 19th of November. Students and visitors from eight different faiths attended the event in order to represent their religion, with presentations given about Buddhism, Sikhism, the Bahai faith, Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Paganism and Hinduism.

All students at Notre Dame follow a Philosophy, Theology and Ethics programme and those who had a timetabled lesson on Wednesday attended the event. There was also the opportunity for all students to meet the visitors at lunchtime. As well as this, a debate entitled “This house believes that God does exist” was held during the afternoon.

The event proved very popular amongst both students and staff. Pictured are some of the visitors along with several representatives from Notre Dame.

(posted 26 November 2014)

Students’ film screened at Leeds International Film Festival

The hard work of four A2 Notre Dame students has been rewarded with their film being screened at the 28th Leeds International Film Festival. The screening took place on Tuesday 18th November at The Hyde Park Cinema and offered the students the opportunity to network with casting directors and producers.

The film, a full length feature entitled “Into Dust”, was made by a group of 20 students from schools and colleges around Leeds. They were brought together by Gage Oxley, a student at Garforth Academy, who selected his cast and crew from a group of friends and acquaintances who all have an avid interest in acting and film-making.

The four Notre Dame students involved in the project are Holly Ainsworth, Emily Cairns, Sian Carry, and Siobhan Flaherty, all former students of Corpus Christi Catholic College. Emily, Sian and Siobhan all acted in the film whilst Holly, as well as playing a role, also helped to co-write the script. She explained, “It took about a year to make the whole thing. We made it because we all want to do something in film for our future careers.”

Pictured are the four Notre Dame students at the screening.

(posted 26 November 2014)

Students and Staff attend celebration of Catholic Education in Leeds

A selection of Notre Dame staff and students were privileged to attend “Christ at our Heart” – a celebration of the ordination of Bishop Marcus, the tenth Bishop of Leeds.” It was the first official engagement of the new Bishop who was installed the previous day. The service took place at Leeds Cathedral on Friday 14th November and was attended by Terry Coen, the principal of Notre Dame, as well as Religious Studies teacher Catherine Herring, Chaplain Andrew Sullivan and three current students – Ciaran Morrison, Harold Rasalan and Alphons Anyoka.

The rest of the congregation of 350 was made up of staff and students from all of the Catholic primary and secondary schools in Leeds, as well as representatives from Leeds Trinity University.

One of the topics covered by Bishop Marcus was the importance of faith. He presented the congregation with a 1960’s shirt box, a treasured possession he found while cleaning out a cupboard, which held his white baptismal garment from 50 years ago. His mum, who recently died, had kept it safely all this time. Bishop Marcus used this to represent faith and how we should always treasure it.

Pictured are the three students from Notre Dame who attended the service with the new Bishop.

(posted 21 November 2014)

25th Anniversary Mass

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of the College back in 1989. As part of the celebrations, we are holding a Mass of Thanksgiving at St Anne’s Cathedral on the College Feast Day of 8 December 2014 (the Feast of the Immaculate Conception). The Mass will be followed by a Reception at the College.

We would love to see as many past students, staff, parents, governors and friends of the College as can make it.

If you are able to join us on the day, please contact us at Hopefully we will be able to accommodate everyone who wishes to attend, but an early response will help us to manage numbers.

Monday 8th December 2014

Mass at 10.30 am

St Anne’s Cathedral, Great George Street, Leeds

To be followed by a Reception at Notre Dame

(posted 7 November 2014)

Notre Dame Students take part in Wordsworth residential

Twenty English Literature students from Notre Dame visited the Lake District last week in order to enhance their study of pastoral poetry. They arrived in Ambleside on a sunny Thursday evening, before taking part in a literature themed quiz.

The next day, they visited the Wordsworth Trust and enjoyed a guided tour of Dove Cottage, Wordsworth’s home when he was a young man, followed by a workshop on pastoral poetry. All students agreed that this helped their understanding of the poems they had been studying at college. After lunch, the students visited Rydal Mount where Wordsworth spent the last 37 years of his life.

The annual residential is one of the many enhancement opportunities offered by the English department in order to develop students’ understanding and appreciation of the subject.

Pictured (l-r): Vanessa Buckley, Arianne Thomas, Kritika Khalia and Catherine Cable in the living room at Rydal Mount

(posted 24 October 2014)

Notre Dame Student receives Sonia McMahon Memorial Award 2014

Eleanor Taylor, a second year student at Notre Dame last year, has been awarded the Sonia McMahon Memorial Award for 2014. The award, now in its third year, continues to assist talented students aiming for a career in law who meet certain social mobility criteria. The award was set up in memory of Sonia McMahon, a partner at law firm Addleshaw Goddard which is partnered with Notre Dame as part of the firm’s diversity and community outreach programme.

Eleanor’s application impressed the three judges, Monica Burch, Ged Barnes and Mary Gallagher, all of whom hold senior positions at Addleshaw Goddard. They agreed that Eleanor demonstrated clear ambition and the determination to pursue a legal career, which was evidenced through her hard work and commitment to her studies.

The award means that Eleanor will receive a bursary of £2000 towards the cost of studying for a degree in Law at the University of Leeds, access to a mentor at Addleshaw Goddard and a period of work experience during her time as a student.

(posted 9 October 2014)

Notre Dame Students Honour WW1 fallen in Belgium

Notre Dame Students Joseph Doyle and Jazmine Bourke, along with 70 other students from the Leeds area, travelled to Belgium and France to commemorate the World War 1 centenary last weekend. The trip was organised by The Centenary Battlefield Tours and forms part of the Government’s commemoration of the start of the war’s centenary. The students experienced a four day tour of the battlefields in Belgium and France as well as several related activities.

Joseph was able to lay a commemorative cross at the foot of a panel marking the sacrifice of Private Stirk, a soldier from Meanwood, at Tyne Cot Cemetery, where more than 45,000 Commonwealth soldiers are buried or remembered. “It’s quite strange to think that somebody who certainly lived most of his life in Meanwood, and probably never left Meanwood before he signed up for the conflict, has wound up at this memorial,” Joseph said.

English teacher Christine Cox, who accompanied the students on the trip, added, “I don’t think I will be able to walk past there, nor will the students, without thinking that man probably played cricket on that field or walked down there. I think for us, Sam Stirk has come alive.”

The students will now have the opportunity to utilise the experience in their studies, by completing an Extended Project Qualification based on the centenary of World War 1.

(posted 9 October 2014)

Notre Dame Students “Sleep Out” for Charity

On Friday 19th September, Notre Dame created its own ‘cardboard city’ as 29 students and 3 staff set themselves the challenge of sleeping under the stars for the night in order to better understand the problems faced by homeless people, and to raise funds for homeless charity “Shelter”.

Prior to setting up camp outside, Anna Case, a Sociology teacher, led a discussion about the problems associated with being homeless, such as bad health and addiction. The students then watched a fly-on-the-wall documentary entitled “Famous, Rich and Homeless” to further develop their understanding of how homelessness affects people. At 11pm, they finally made their way outside and set up their sleeping quarters under the canopies.

Some students managed to fall asleep in no time, whereas others found it a little more difficult to drop off and spent the night tossing and turning. At 5am it began to get light and everyone involved began to pack away their cardboard and headed for home – probably to try and get a little more sleep!

The students found the experience enjoyable but eye opening. Lewis, a lower sixth student said, “It was a really fun night and I was glad to do something for a good cause.” Jess, an upper sixth student agreed, but said she would bring a bigger box to sleep in if she were to do it again!

The total amount of money raised is yet to be finalised, but the group hope to better the £592 that was raised from the same event the previous year.

(posted 26 September 2014)