220 year ago, St Julie Billiart and companions began what is now know as the Sisters of Notre Dame. They dedicated their lives to the education, especially those who could not pay for it. In 1898 sisters from this congregation arrived in Leeds and from there grew the school which in 1989 became the present sixth form college.
To celebrate what we now call, 'Notre Dame Day', students and staff were treated to free porridge from Wednesday - Friday. Students had the opportunity to take part in a treasure hunt around the college, and a student organised bake sale by Noor Shubib for Human Appeal raised around £300. On the feast day, February 2nd, students and staff were encouraged to wear blue and gold, the college colours and members of the student executive distributed 'Happy Notre Dame Day' stickers. In addition staff and students had the opportunity to reflect on the importance of the day in song and prayer. The staff choir sang ' The Light of Christ' at briefing as this day is also the feast of Candlemas, when Jesus is presented at the Temple by his parents. The Gospel of Luke says that Jesus was met by Anna and Simeon the latter held the baby Jesus and called him a Light to the World. At lunch time there was a student led liturgy organised by Jasmine Voller to celebrate both Candlemas and the feast day. Money was raised for Mary's Meals, a charity which helps young people study by giving them breakfast, often the only meal they will have in a day. This echoed what St Julie did in the early years, making sure her students were fed so they were able to study. You can find out more about the work of Mary's Meals here.
Catherine Herring, Director of Catholic Life, said 'It was wonderful to see so many staff and students celebrate where we came from'. College Principal Justine Barlow said ' we continue to be a college based on 'Faith, Hope and Love' so that every student has the opportunity to flourish, this is why we celebrate Notre Dame Day'.