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notre dame high school

April 26, 2021 - 11:25am

From Kate Edwards, Advancement coordinator, DECA co-adviser, Notre Dame High School:

Notre Dame High School is pleased to announce a generous donation of $2,500 from Gerry and Carm Reinhart. This donation is given in the name of Scott D. "Fletch" Hale and will benefit Notre Dame's hockey and football programs.

Hale was a 1991 graduate of Batavia High School who excelled at hockey and football. He went on to Brockport State College graduating with a degree in Criminal Justice. He will be remembered for his larger than life personality and his kind heart.

For Hale's full obituary, click here.

March 25, 2021 - 4:10pm
posted by David Reilly in Vietnam Memorial, notre dame high school, news.

Thanks to the Class of 1964, the three Notre Dame High School graduates who died in the Vietnam War finally got a plaque memorializing them placed in the foyer of the school more than 50 years later.

Fashioned by VP Graphics, the display remembering Donald Judd ('61) , and Daniel Bermingham and Thomas Welker ('64) can now be seen immediately as you go in the main entrance of the school at 73 Union St. in the City of Batavia.

The story of how the memorial came to be evolved over the past several years.

Dave Reilly and Jim Heatherman, who had attended Saint Mary's Elementary School, Notre Dame ('64) and Saint John Fisher College together reconnected after not seeing each other for almost 50 years. Heatherman had become a lieutenant in the Marine Corps and served in Vietnam while Reilly had gone on to a long teaching career.

Over the course of a number of conversations, Heatherman expressed regret that he had survived Vietnam and had gotten to have a large and loving family, but his classmates Bermingham and Welker did not. Reilly, who had been writing nostalgic articles about growing up locally for The Batavian, encouraged Heatherman to express his feelings by writing his own story.

Heatherman's article* appeared in The Batavian in August 2019. It was read with interest by another '64 classmate, Jim Fix. For many years, Fix had led local tour groups on tours of Washington, D.C., for First Choice Travel, which always included a trip to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. At "the Wall," designed by Maya Ying Lin, Fix would highlight his classmates and include Judd, too, who also was killed in the Southeast Asian war.

A highlight of the group's time at the Wall was when Fix would have the tour members make stenciled grave rubbings of the names of Judd, Bermingham and Welker as keepsakes to remember them by.

So when Heatherman's article appeared the proverbial light went on in Fix's head. His thoughts were that his classmates and Judd had long deserved to be remembered at their high school (There had been a Donald Judd Memorial Trophy that Notre Dame and Le Roy played for in football in the late 1960s and early 1970s.). So, combining the idea of a plaque with the design of the rubbings from the Vietnam Wall, Jim Fix put a plan in motion.

In the meantime, last Memorial Day Reilly carried out a request by Heatherman, who lives in Oklahoma, to place a Marine Flag on Welker's grave in Attica -- even though Welker was a Navy Corpsman, he was caring for Marines as their beloved “Doc” when he was killed -- and a Navy flag on Bermingham's grave in Batavia. He wrote an article detailing this with photos for The Batavian. This further made up Fix's mind to get the plaque project accomplished.

After consulting with Heatherman (who asked only that “Doc” be placed by Welker's name), Fix sent out an email to his 1964 former classmates asking for donations. As you might expect, the response was overwhelming and more than enough funds were raised.

Working with VP Graphics utilizing his grave rubbing stencils and photos and descriptions from the Notre Dame Mater Dei yearbooks, Fix persevered through the COVID-19 roadblocks and completed his “mission,” so to speak, with full cooperation from the current Notre Dame administration.

It took a very long time, but thanks to some hard work and dedication by their schoolmates the three Notre Dame graduates who in the words of Abraham Lincoln,”...gave the last full measure of their devotion,” will now be remembered by those who visit Notre Dame High School.

Photos courtesy of Dave Reilly.

Previously: Memorial Day 2020: Belated thanks to a Seabee and a 'Doc'

Previously: Marine vet wishes he had 'do-over' to get to know two fallen comrades who were Notre Dame schoolmates

Below, Dave Reilly drove to Batavia Tuesday (March 23) to check out the new Vietnam Memorial for fallen members of Notre Dame High School's classes of '61 and '64.

March 18, 2021 - 9:00am
posted by Press Release in notre dame high school, news, 70th Anniversary, raffle.

Submitted photo and press release:

Notre Dame High School is celebrating their 70th Anniversary on May 6 with a day full of special events!

The celebration will start with re-enactment of the ground breaking followed by an anniversary mass at the school including an alumni from each decade speaking at mass. The mission club will hold a May crowing celebration at the grotto and the day will close with a “reception” celebrating 70 years.

The Advancement Committee is having a cash raffle fundraiser with a top prize of $20,000 to be drawn at the reception. More information on the 70th Anniversary Day of Celebration events will be coming in the next few weeks. Tickets for the cash raffle are on sale now.

Important in-person fundraisers, like the annual trip night event, that raise monies used for financial aid and scholarships for students are still not able to happen. The Advancement Committee is trying to come up with creative ways to still raise money and the 70th Anniversary presented an opportunity to do so.

Notre Dame Events coordinator, Kathy Antinore, says “After the success of the Ca$h for Christmas Reverse Raffle, we decided to give an even bigger cash prize correlating with our 70th Anniversary.” The school is hoping to sell 1,000 raffle tickets.

Tickets are $70 each or two for $100 for a chance to win $20,000 or one of 10 $500 cash prizes. The drawing will be held “Live” on the Notre Dame Facebook page and YouTube page on Thursday, May 6th at 6:30 p.m. during the anniversary reception. More information can be found on the school’s website and social media pages.

Interested in purchasing tickets, please contact Notre Dame at (585) 343-2783, ext. 106.

Notre Dame High School, located at 73 Union St. in Batavia, is a private co-educational Jr./Sr. high school. Recognized for the 16th consecutive year as the number one secondary school in Genesee, Wyoming, and Orleans counties by Buffalo Business First.

Notre Dame is a diverse learning community dedicated to academic excellence and rooted in the Roman Catholic tradition. For more information, please visit www.ndhsbatavia.com

March 4, 2021 - 10:56pm

Following a frustrating 3-2 loss to Brockport this afternoon at the Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex in Rochester, Notre Dame Coach Marc Staley reflected upon what otherwise has been a successful ice hockey season thus far for the Fighting Irish, who will play a final regular season game on Saturday before hosting a Section 5 Class A Tournament next Tuesday.

“If you would have said to me five weeks ago that we were going to have a season, I would have been thrilled,” Staley said. “If you said to me five weeks ago that we were going to be 7-2-1 and be the No. 1 seed in Class A, I would have said you’re crazy.”

Both the No. 1 overall seed in Class A and the Section V Division 3 championship are in reach for Notre Dame.

A victory over division rival Irondequoit, 8-2-1, on Saturday (7 p.m. at Lakeshore Hockey Arena and Sports Center in Rochester) will give the Fighting Irish the league title while a win or a tie will enable them to retain their current place as the top seed in Class A.

“We’re playing in the highest class in New York State hockey against teams (from large schools) like Webster Schroeder and Hilton,” Staley said. “I think they (Section V officials) looked at our scores early in the season when we won big (and placed us there). But I don’t care where they put us. There’s not a lot of difference between Class A and Class B.”

Today’s game showed that as Brockport, a Class B entry, burst out of the gate, peppering ND’s freshman goaltender Frank Falleti with 13 shots in the first 10 minutes and cashing in on two of them – a goal by Jeremiah Rausch at 6:54 and a power play goal by Henry Schultz at 9:58 (assisted by Rausch).

Notre Dame had a couple of great chances late in the period but the team’s leading scorers, Gavin Schrader and Vin DiRisio, were stymied by Brockport goalie Joseph Volpe. Brockport outshot Batavia 18-8 in the period.

It didn’t take long for the Irish to cut the lead in half as Schrader flipped a backhand shot past Volpe just 33 seconds into the second period for his 17th goal of the season. Vin DiRisio assisted on the goal. ND tied the score about six minutes later when freshman Joe DiRisio made a nifty move to get past the defenseman and found the back of the net.

Brockport, now 7-3-1, responded, however, tallying what proved to be the game’s final goal with 48 seconds left in the period as Tyler Henshaw put away the loose puck in a 4-on-3 power play after Falleti had turned away shots by Rausch and Jonathan LoMonaco.

In the third period, ND drew a couple of early penalties, including a four-minute major, but was unable to capitalize. For the game, they were 1 for 9 on the power play.

Notre Dame kept the pressure on in the final seven minutes, turning a 32-27 deficit in shots on goal to a 37-32 advantage, but Volpe was equal to the task. In the end, Volpe stopped 37 shots while Falleti had 31 saves.

“It was two different games, right,” Staley said. “We were very flat to start the game and, to their credit, they’re up after the first and we had to reassess the situation. What kids are struggling with is that we can’t sneak up on anybody anymore. When you start the season 6-0, 7-1, everyone is looking for you; they’re going to give you their best games and kids are getting up to play us.”

Staley gave the team credit for clawing back from the 2-0 deficit.

“We bounced back and found some energy down the stretch, but we didn’t execute on the power play as well as we needed to,” he said. “We had chances, but their goalie played great and their defense did a nice job of clearing pucks and winning face-offs.

“We got beat on face-offs most of the night and that is a huge stat. Every face-off is eight seconds of possession in hockey. You win 20 draws a game, you’re talking about an extra three minutes of puck possession.”

He singled out the two freshman, goalie Falleti – “in a year or two he’s going to be something,” he said -- and Joe DiRisio, who has 11 goals this season.

“We have so many good players – and they're young,” Staley said. “We only lose five players (after this season).”

February 13, 2021 - 6:03pm

Sophomore guard Amelia McCulley scored eight straight points in a three-minute stretch late in the fourth quarter this afternoon to lead Notre Dame to a 34-24 nonleague girls’ basketball victory over host Batavia High.

With the score tied at 24 with about 4 ½ minutes remaining, McCulley drove to the hoop for two points, and followed that with a running shot in the lane, another strong drive for two more points and a pair of free throws to put the Lady Irish in front, 32-24.

Two free throws by Emma Sisson closed out the scoring in a contest marked by numerous turnovers and poor shooting from both sides.

McCulley tallied 18 points while Sisson chipped in with nine. Lindsey Weidman added four and Maylee Green sank a three-point shot – the only three-pointer of the game – for ND.

Batavia’s top scorers of Mackenzie Reigle and Bryn Wormley were held to 10 and five points, respectively, while Haylee Thornley had three points and Tianna Rhim, Tess Barone and Rachel Wright scored two points apiece.

The Lady Devils controlled the pace of the game for the first 12 minutes, forging a 12-7 lead, before Notre Dame closed out the second quarter on a 10-1 run. McCulley scored eight in the period.

The teams combined for only 11 points in the third quarter, which ended with the Lady Irish on top, 22-19.

A basket by Sisson made it 24-19 before two free throws by Reigle, Wright’s basket and a free throw by Thornley pulled Batavia into the 24-24 tie.

Notre Dame improves to 2-1 while Batavia is 0-3.


Photo: The 12th-graders on the Batavia High varsity girls' basketball team were honored by their families and coaches on "Senior Day" prior to their game against visiting Notre Dame.

From left are: Tess Barone, Haylee Thornley, Bryn Wormley, Mackenzie Reigle, Kennedy Kolb, Bella Houseknecht and Rachel Wright.

Photo by Mike Pettinella.

December 11, 2020 - 4:32pm
posted by Press Release in notre dame high school, batavia, catholic education.

Press release:

The Notre Dame High School Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the appointment of the following new members to the 2019-2020 Board: Dawn Daniels, Marty Macdonald, James Sutherland and Katie Wujcik.

Daniels, D.C., is a chiropractor at Daniels Family Chiropractic in Warsaw, where she is in partnership with her husband Terry, D.C. They are proud parents of a daughter at Notre Dame.

Macdonald is the pastor of City Church and resides in Batavia with his wife, Karen. He is a proud grandfather of a Notre Dame grad and several current students.

Sutherland, graduated from NDHS and is an employee of Crickler Vending. He resides in Batavia with wife, Tracey, and they are proud parents of two Notre Dame graduates.

Wujcik is a recruitment director at Nixon Peabody, Rochester. She resides in Le Roy with husband, Jim, and looks forward to her children attending Notre Dame.

November 24, 2020 - 4:30pm

Notre Dame High School is having a virtual fundraiser, Ca$h for Christmas Reverse Raffle, with a chance to win up to $10,000! NYS mandates and restrictions on attendance numbers, due to COVID-19, prevent the school from holding in-person fundraising events.

The Advancement Committee was challenged with getting creative to find ways to raise mone. A reverse raffle is held as part of the annual Trip Night event and is a lot of fun and always sells out, so they decided to put together a virtual reverse raffle on a bigger scale.

Notre Dame Events coordinator Kathy Antinore says “ticket sales are going well as everyone could use $10,000 right before Christmas.”

The Notre Dame Foundation raises funds to use for financial aid and scholarships for students. Those needs are greater now than ever, yet the important fundraising events can’t be held. The object of a “Reverse” raffle is to be the last number drawn.

That lucky person wins $10,000. Between the immense need and the great cash prize, the school is hoping to sell 1,000 tickets.

Tickets are $25 each and there is 20 chances to win at least your money back. Any tickets not winning a cash prize go into a second chance drawing for gift cards and other prizes.

The drawing for the last 50 numbers and all second chance winners will be “Live” on the Notre Dame Facebook page and YouTube page on Thursday, Dec. 3rd. More information can be found on the school’s Facebook page.

Interested in purchasing tickets, please contact Notre Dame at (585) 343-2783 or email events coordinator Kathy Antinore at: [email protected]

Notre Dame High School, located at 73 Union St. in Batavia, is a private co-educational Jr/Sr high school. Recognized for the sixteenth consecutive year as the number one secondary school in Genesee, Wyoming, and Orleans counties by Buffalo Business First. Notre Dame is a diverse learning community dedicated to academic excellence and rooted in the Roman Catholic tradition. For more information, please visit www.ndhsbatavia.com.

November 4, 2020 - 12:56pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notre dame high school, covid-19.

Notre Dame High School Principal Wade Bianco today reported that a teacher is under quarantine until Nov. 14 after being exposed to a positive case of COVID-19 on Oct. 31.

In the email to ND staff, students’ families and directors, Bianco wrote that “the Genesee/Orleans County Health Department determined on Nov. 4 that this teacher be tested for COVID-19 and quarantined until Nov. 14.”

“This teacher will continue to lead the learning for their students long distance and we will assign a substitute teacher to assist and supervise the students. Please contact me if you have any questions,” he added.

Bianco said the email was issued as part of the school’s standard operating procedure.

May 30, 2020 - 12:12pm

Submitted photos and press release:

The Genesee County Interagency Council awarded two $1,000 scholarships to local seniors.

The goal of the scholarship is to support students who have a strong drive to contribute to the field of Human Services. The Council was seeking applications from high school students as well as college students who were pursuing their education in a Human Services major.

The Genesee County Interagency Council awarded $1,000 to Ariana Green (photo left).

Green is a Notre Dame High School senior and will be attending Niagara University in the fall to study Social Work. Her long term goal is get her Doctorate Degree in Social Work and then become a Psychiatric Social Worker where one day she hopes to have her own private practice to focus on mental health disorders. 

The Genesee County Interagency Council awarded $1,000 to Jacob Humes (photo below right).

Humes is a senior at Batavia High School and will be attending Onondaga Community College in the fall to study Psychology. His goal is to become a Child Life Specialist as the work he has done with children has shown him that there is a need for more support outside of the home for many children.

Applicants had to be in a good academic standing, majoring in Human Services, Social Work, Sociology, or Psychology. Applicants needed two letters of recommendation from a guidance counselor, teacher, or other professional person. 

They also had to describe why they were deserving of this scholarship.

The mission of the Genesee County Interagency Council is to create fellowship and understanding among community human services agencies.

The council helps to identify community issues and encourages development of resolutions. 

The Council is happy to have been able to award such deserving candidates and wishes them nothing but success for their future!

February 13, 2020 - 2:33pm

Press release:

The Notre Dame High School family will be honoring the legacy of excellence of Notre Dame Basketball Coach Mike Rapone (Class of ’71) with a reception in the school cafeteria following the boys Section V playoff game on Tuesday, Feb. 25.

Coach Rapone currently has 697 career victories as he coaches in his 40th season here at Notre Dame. The 697 wins make him the all-time leader in Section V coaching victories with the second place coach more than 150 wins behind.  

He began his coaching career at his grade school alma mater, Holy Family School in Le Roy in the 1972-73 season. During his four years at Holy Family, he guided the team to four straight Parochial School League championships.

Hired as the JV coach at Notre Dame at the beginning 1976-77 season, he led his teams to three winning seasons including the only undefeated season ever produced during our time in the Bishop Smith League in Buffalo.

Rapone took over the varsity team for the 1981-82 season and promptly won the first of his record nine Section V Titles in his opening year.

As impressive as Rapone’s coaching resume is, what is even more impressive is his love for Notre Dame and all its students. This is evident through his daily commitment to our school, and his constant effort to ensure that each student has the best possible high school experience.

We hope that you can all join in the celebration on Feb. 25 at Notre Dame, 73 Union St. in Batavia.

Highlights of Mike Rapone's 40-year Varsity Basketball Career:

  • #1 in NYS active coaching victories – 697;
  • #1 in Section V coaching victories – 697;
  • #1 in Section V coaching championships – 9;
  • Has guided ND to the highest winning percentage in all classification of Section V since 1975;
  • Only coach in Section V history to win championships in 4 different classifications;
  • 2 New York State Championships 1992 & 2001;
  • 31 Genesee Region League Championships;
  • 18 Section V title game appearances with 9 championships;
  • Section V Tournament #1 seed 17 times;
  • 5 NYS Far West Regional Championships;
  • 81 percent career winning percentage;
  • Averaging 17.5 per year wins over 40 seasons;
  • 18 of 20 teams have earned NYS Scholar Athlete recognition;
  • Has coached 21 of the Top 25 Scorers in ND history;
  • 2013 Team was Board 60 Sportsmanship Award Winner;
  • 1996 Inducted into Notre Dame High School Athletic Hall of Fame;
  • 2016 Inducted into Section V Basketball Hall of Fame.

Basketball Coaching Timeline of Mike Rapone                   

  • 12/05/1980                  First Coaching Victory vs. Attica
  • 03/07/1981                  First Section V Championship vs. Romulus
  • 01/07/1986                  Victory #100 vs. Holley
  • 01/15/1992                  Victory #200 vs. Pembroke
  • 03/21/1992                  First New York State Championship vs. Bishop Grimes
  • 03/16/1996                  Inducted into Notre Dame High School Hall of Fame
  • 12/18/1996                  Victory #300 vs. Kendall
  • 03/17/2001                  Second New York State Championship vs. Hamilton
  • 04/06/2001                  Named Section V All-Greater Rochester Coach of the Year
  • 12/19/2001                  Victory #400 vs. Elba
  • 01/14/2008                  Victory #500 vs. Kendall
  • 03/03/2010                  Victory #546 Breaking Section V Record vs. Arkport.
  • 01/29/2013                  Victory #600 vs. Kendall
  • 11/05/2016                  Inducted into Section V Basketball Hall of Fame
  • ??/??/2020                  Victory #700

(File photo of Notre Dame Coach Mike Rapone taken in January 2017 by Jim Burns.)

February 11, 2020 - 4:54pm

Submitted photo and press release:

Tobacco-Free Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties (TF-GOW) and Reality Check youth champions from Notre Dame High School were at the New York Capitol on Feb. 4, talking with lawmakers about the success of the state’s Tobacco Control Program.

Notre Dame freshman Morgan Wahl, junior Benjamin Streeter, and senior Maddie Payton joined a pair of Reality Check peers from Warsaw High School in the Albany rally, Shelby Pietron and Katie Pietron. Brittany Bozzer, Reality Check coordinator at TF-GOW attended, too.

They focused their messaging on lowering the average smoking rate to 12.8 percent and about the unmet needs in tobacco control efforts, particularly among youth and certain communities. They met with Assemblyman Stephen Hawley and Assemblyman David DiPietro.

During legislative meetings, the youth stressed that cigarette smoking among high school youth statewide declined 82 percent between 2000 and 2018, but e-cigarette use by high schoolers continues to rise, now at 27 percent. In contrast, only 3.8 percent of adult New Yorkers use e-cigarettes. Additionally, nearly 40 percent 12th-graders use e-cigarettes statewide.

Research shows that youth who use e-cigarettes are four times more likely to start smoking conventional cigarettes than their peers who do not vape.

“Successfully reducing the average adult smoking rate to 12.8 percent in New York State is a significant achievement, but new and emerging nicotine products—like e-cigarettes—could reverse the substantial gains we’ve made in reducing smoking,” Bozzer said.

“We know that marketing attracts youth to e-cigarettes, and flavors are what gets them to try them. Nicotine is what keeps them addicted.”

Higher smoking rates among certain communities

New Yorkers with low education, low income and reporting frequent mental distress smoke at higher rates than the state average.

“Although the average smoking rate is down, cigarette smoking rates among certain communities are considerably higher than average," Bozzer said. "For example, throughout New York State, 25.5 percent of adults reporting frequent mental distress smoke cigarettes, as do 20 percent of those with less than a high school education and nearly 20 percent of those with an annual household income of less than $25,000.

“Income, education, and mental health status shouldn’t determine smoking rates, but they do, and our program has a local and statewide program in place to further tobacco-free norms."

While at the Capitol, the Notre Dame youth talked with lawmakers about work being done in their communities and provided an interactive display in The Well of the Legislative Office Building, revealing the true facts behind Big Tobacco’s misleading marketing.

More Facts: The Costs of Tobacco Use in New York State

  • Annual health care costs directly caused by smoking in the state are $10.39 billion;
  • This expense results in a tax burden of $1,410 for each household every year;
  • There are 28,200 deaths in New York State each year due to smoking, and thousands who are living with illnesses related to tobacco use;
  • The CDC recommends a $203 million annual investment in New York State’s Tobacco Control Program; the state’s investment is $39 million.

Reality Check New York empowers youth to become leaders in their community in exposing what they see as the manipulative and deceptive marketing tactics of the tobacco industry.

The organization’s members produce change in their communities through grassroots mobilization and education. Reality Check in this area is affiliated with Tobacco-Free Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties (TF-GOW) program managed by Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The NYS Tobacco Control Program is made up of a network of statewide contractors who work on Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities, which includes Community Engagement and Reality Check, the Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free New York, the NYS Smokers’ Quitline and Surveillance and Research.

Their efforts are leading the way toward a tobacco-free society. For more information, visit:

Photo: Back row (from left) Maddie Payton, Benjamin Streeter, as well as Notre Dame freshman Morgan Wahl (kneeling in front) took in the grandeur of the New York State Senate Chambers on their recent trip to educate lawmakers at the NYS Capitol. Earlier that day, they talked with Assemblyman David DiPietro, right, about tobacco control work being done in their communities and revealed the true facts behind Big Tobacco’s misleading marketing. Also pictured (middle row, from left) are Warsaw High School students Shelby Pietron, Katie Pietron, and Brittany Bozzer, Reality Check coordinator at TF-GOW.

January 30, 2020 - 2:06pm

Genesee County residents Jason and Nancy Kota lost their son Matthew in 2008 who died at the age of 17 due to complications from brain surgery.

Twelve years later, they’re still keeping his memory and spirit alive.

On Saturday, Feb. 1, Jason and Nancy Kota along with their children Sean, Sara and Tyler will host the 12th annual Matthew Kota Memorial Blood Drive in his honor at Notre Dame High School.

Time is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The school is located at 73 Union St. in the City of Batavia.

The family gathers every year, with many family members, friends and the general public, to make this blood drive a big community event and scholarships are raised for Notre Dame and Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School.

The Kota family has collected 625 units in their first 11 years of hosting the blood drive in memory of their late son and brother, Matthew.

The public is invited to donate blood for this worthy cause. Proper ID is required. Walk-ins are welcome. For an appointment, please call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org

There will be a bake sale, too, and donations are accepted to benefit the Matthew Kota Scholarship Fund.

January 23, 2020 - 2:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in education, news, notre dame high school.

Press release:

Have you seen the new Notre Dame High School? Notre Dame High School will be holding an open house for new and prospective students from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30th.

Come see what the #1-rated high school in the GLOW region has to offer!

Hear about our academic program, fine arts, athletics and inclusive education, meet our staff and tour our newly renovated school.

All eighth- through 12th-grade students and parents/guardians are welcome!

The school was founded in 1951. It a private, Roman Catholic high school within the Diocese of Buffalo. It is located at 73 Union St. in the City of Batavia.

November 13, 2019 - 5:11pm

Notre Dame High School held its 2019 Athletic Hall of Fame dinner and awards ceremony on Saturday (Nov. 9).

Above, from left, are Athletic Hall of Fame inductees Dick O'Connor -- Class of '64, John Dwyer*, Christopher Sabato -- Class of '97, Maureen Del Plato Braunscheidel -- Class of '98, Lou Cinquino** -- Class of '80, and Jennifer Sutherland Forsyth -- Class of '00.

*[John Dwyer represented his father Edward Dwyer, who was inducted as a Contributor, and John's daughter Amy Dwyer -- Class of '83, who was unable to attend.]

**[Lou Cinquino represented Sacramento Kings NBA Assistant Coach Bob Beyer -- Class of '80.]

Above are Notre Dame High School 2019 Athletic Hall of Fame Service Award recipients, from left, Patty Daansen, Dan Coughlin and Kris Coughlin.

Above are members of Notre Dame Wrestling Teams [1967 - 1968 - 1969] inductees.

Front row, from left: Rick Tepedino, John Sorenson, Tony Peca, Dave O'Connor, Bob Balbick, Mike Cinquino and Sal Cintorino.

Back row, from left: Dan O'Connor, Dave Jamalkowski, Tony Forti, Don Linsey, Tony Cinquino, Charlie Mullen, Ron Kelly and Bob Cline.

Not pictured: Dennis O'Connor, Bruce Briggs, Mike Carragher, Joe Chimino, Bill Fava, Bill Gear, Bill Johnson, Tim Lippold, Tom Murray, John Yanilk [Mgr.], Don Kelly* and Dave Dudek* [Deceased *].

Notre Dame Father -- Daughter Hall of Fame members Bill Sutherland -- Class of '67 [HOF 1995] and daughter Jennifer Sutherland Forsyth -- Class of '00, who was inducted into this year's Athletic Hall of Fame.

Bill and Jennifer are the first father - daughter inductee combo in the history of ND's Hall of Fame Inductions!

The four Darien Center O'Connor brothers are now ND Athletic Hall of Fame Members!

Congrats to brothers (from left) Dick -- Class of '64 [HOF '19], David -- Class of '67 [HOF '17], Dan -- Class of '69 [HOF '16], and Dennis -- Class of '72 [HOF '96] O'Connor!

For more information about the inductees, including school photos, bios and their achievements, click on the previous story here.

October 11, 2019 - 1:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in notre dame high school, hall of fame, sports.

Submitted photos and press release:

Notre Dame High School is proud to announce that its 2019 Athletic Hall of Fame Induction will be held on Saturday, Nov. 9, at Notre Dame High School, located at 73 Union St. in Batavia.

This fall’s program will begin with a social hour at 5:30 p.m. followed by a dinner at 6:30 p.m. The alumni student-athlete, contributor, service awards and 1967-1969 Varsity Wrestling program recognition portion of the program will follow at 7 p.m.

Inductees to be honored will include:

  • Richard O’Connor ‘64
  • Robert Beyer ‘80 
  • Amy Dwyer ‘83
  • Christopher Sabato ‘98
  • Maureen Del Plato Braunscheidel ‘97
  • Jennifer Sutherland Forsyth ‘00
  • Members of the 1967, 1968 and 1969 ND Varsity Wrestling Teams
  • Edward Dwyer – Contributor Category
  • Patty Panepento Daansen, and Dan and Kris Coughlin – Service Recognition

Tickets for this annual event will be $45/person and a table for 10/$400. Tickets will be available through the Notre Dame Advancement Office [585] 343-2783, ext. 106, or visit the Community Tab on the ND website -- www.ndhsbatavia.com

Richard O’Connor ‘64

Hailing from Darien Center, Dick O’Connor was regarded as one of ND’s finest all-around student athletes in the decade of the 1960s. A three-sport athlete, Dick earned a total of eight varsity letters – four as a four-year starter on the Fighting Irish varsity football team and two each as a key two-year member of both his Fighting Irish varsity wrestling and track and field teams.

As a member of the varsity football team, Dick earned Bishop Smith League All-Catholic Honorable Mention recognition as a halfback in 1962 and as a fullback in 1963. He had a reputation for being a hard-nosed competitor who played every down like it was his last, a reputation he handed down to his three eventual ND Hall of Fame brothers Dave ’67 [HOF 2017], Dan ’69 [HOF 2016] and Dennis ’72 [HOF 1996].

Dick’s senior season was unfortunately cut short by a season-ending knee injury incurred in the 1963-64 opener at Cardinal O’Hara in Tonawanda. Despite not being able to finish the season, Dick’s support of his teammates never wavered as he continued to offer encouragement and leadership on the sidelines until season’s end.

Dick’s passion for always giving it his all on the gridiron carried over to his two varsity seasons as a member of the Fighting Irish wrestling and track and field teams. Wrestling in the heavyweight class, Dick went undefeated in dual meets during his junior season.

He nearly replicated this feat as a senior coming up short in his last match of the year versus an unlimited weight class opponent from St. Mary’s of Lancaster. Revenge would be his as he would rise to the occasion and defeat this same opponent two weeks later in the first New York State Cathoic High School Wrestling Championships held in Rochester, thus becoming ND’s first ever New York State Catholic High School wrestling champion!

As a member of the Fighting Irish track and field team, Dick went undefeated in Bishop Smith League competition in both the shot put and discus during his junior and senior years. He finished second in shot put during his senior year in the All-Catholic meet, which featured all teams from both the Bishop Smith and Bishop Burke Leagues in competition.

In recognition for his outstanding senior year athletic accomplishments, he was recognized by the Batavia Lions Club with their prestigious Bill Cook Award designating him as the top student-athlete at Notre Dame High School.

Dick is the recipient of an AAS degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing from Erie County Technical Institute in 1970 and a Doctor of Optometry [OD] degree from Southern College of Optometry in 1975. He began his Optometry career in New Orleans, working in an inner city health clinic and private office specializing in vision therapy in 1975.

He has worked in the optometry field in Western New York since 1977 and currently heads up Vision Development of WNY in Elma, providing behavioral optometry/vision therapy while specializing in children with learning problems and adults with traumatic brain injuries.

Dick’s 2019 induction marks the first time that four brothers are now charter members of the ND Athletic Hall of Fame! Dick and his wife, Debbie, currently reside in East Aurora.

Robert Beyer ‘80

A native of Le Roy, Bob Beyer entered ND at the beginning of his junior year and would proceed to produce eye-popping performances during both his junior and senior years as a member of Fighting Irish football, basketball and baseball teams.

As a member of ND’s varsity football program, Bob was a key member of two Genesee Region [GR] Championship teams [1978, 1979] as well as the 1978 Section V NYSPHSAA Class D Championship team. He earned GR All-Star status and Democrat and Chronicle All Greater Rochester Honorable Mention recognition during both his junior and senior years of competition, while playing a key role in leading ND to a two-year overall record of 15 – 3.

On the hard court, Bob also earned Genesee Region [GR] All-Star recognition during both his junior and senior years while leading the Irish hoopsters to an overall two-year record of 37 – 6 and two Genesee Region [GR] boys basketball titles [1979, 1980). He was recognized as a member of the Medina Mustangs Christmas All-Tournament tournament as well as the ND varsity boys basketball team MVP during his senior season at ND.

On the diamond, Bob was a key member of two Genesee Region [GR] Championship baseball teams, as well as two NYSPHSAA Section V Class D Championship teams during his junior and senior years. He helped propel ND’s varsity baseball to a two-year overall record of 38 – 2.

He was the recipient of the Batavia Lions Club prestigious Bill Cook Award during the conclusion of his senior year. The Bill Cook Award is presented annually to the most outstanding student-athlete at both Notre Dame High School and Batavia High School by the local chapter of the Lions Club.

Bob graduated with honors from both Notre Dame and Alfred University and earned his master's degree at the University of Albany. He played collegiately as a star member of the Alfred University Saxon basketball program until a knee injury suffered in his senior year ended his actual playing career.

Staying close to the hardwood, he has continued his love of basketball by pursuing a very successful coaching career courtside at both the college and professional levels for the past 35 years.

His 20-year collegiate coaching résumé has included men’s basketball stints at Albany, Siena [as both an assistant and head men’s basketball coach], Wisconsin, Northwestern, Texas Tech and Dayton. His 15-year NBA coaching career has included assistant coaching positions in Toronto, Orlando, Charlotte, Golden State, Detroit and Oklahoma City prior to his current role as assistant in the Sacramento Kings organization.

He currently resides in Sacramento, Calif., and serves as an assistant coach for the NBA Sacramento Kings.

Amy Dwyer ‘83

A Batavia resident, Amy Dwyer will go down in the annals of Notre Dame High School Lady Irish athletics as one of the most all around talented student-athletes to have ever played at 73 Union Street!

Amy was a four-sport [soccer, volleyball, basketball and softball] varsity level participant throughout her high school career and earned a total of 16 varsity letters in the process! She also had the distinction of captaining each of her athletic teams during her senior year.

As a volleyball team member, she played a key role in helping ND Coach Rhonda DiCasolo’s volleyball program earn back-to-back Section V NYSPHSAA Class D Championships [1981, 1982] while also compiling a perfect 17-0 record during her senior [1982] season. Amy was also named ND’s Outstanding Defensive volleyball team member as a senior. ND’s overall record from her sophomore year on was an eye-popping 41 – 3!

She also earned honors as both her varsity basketball and varsity softball team’s MVP as a senior [1983] in addition to being named ND’s women’s basketball team Outstanding Offensive Player during the same season. She also earned the distinction of being the leading goal scorer during her senior ND soccer season.

Amy’s stellar senior season for the Blue and Gold resulted in her receiving the prestigious Father David J. Scheider Sports Loyalty Award, the Dave Darron Courage Award and the coveted 1983 ND Female Athlete-of-the-Year Award.

Upon graduation from ND in 1983, Amy entered Nazareth College of Rochester where she continued her love of competing by playing collegiate volleyball at the Division III level prior to earning her B.A. degree in Sociology in 1987.

A Pittsford resident, Amy is currently in her 14thyear with Rochester-based Wegmans Food Pharmacy where she received has received ongoing recognition for outstanding sales, as well as serving as an active member of Wegmans Food Safety Team.

Christopher Sabato ‘97

A career 16-varsity letter recipient, Corfu resident Chris Sabato will go down in the annals of ND athletics as a stellar three-sport [football, wrestling and track and field] student-athlete. A mainstay and key member on each Fighting Irish varsity level team he was a member of, he received the ultimate recognition of 1998 ND Male Athlete-of-the-Year.

Chris earned four varsity letters as a member of the Coach Bill Sutherland’s ND football program and received Genesee Region [GR] first team All-Star recognition in both his junior and senior years. He served as team captain during his senior year, rushing for 1000+ yards and setting the ND single game rushing record [256 yards] versus the Livingston County league York Golden Knights on Sept. 27, 1997.

He began his varsity wrestling career as a seventh-grader at St. Joseph’s Elementary in Batavia en route to earning six varsity letters as a stalwart member of the Fighting Irish varsity wrestling team. Chris was a three-time Genesee Region [GR] champion [1994, 1997, 1998], a two-time Section V NYSPHSAA Class D champion at 140 lbs. [1997, 1998] and a one-time Section V NYSPHSAA Class D 112 lb. second-place finisher [1994].

Chris captained the ND wrestling team as a senior and still holds school records for career [134] and single season [32] wins as well as career pins.

He also began his star-studded track and field career as a St. Joseph’s seventh-grader and earned four Genesee Region [GR] All-Star team recognitions [1995 – 1998] by the time he graduated.

He was a member of ND’s 1995 Genesee Region [GR] Championship team, as well as winning the 400m run and helping the 1600m relay team set a new GR league record [3:38]. He was also a key member of this same 1600m relay team which captured the 1995 Section V NYSPHSAA Class D title.

Chris earned Genesee Region [GR] recognition for winning individual titles in the 100m, 200m, long jump and pole vault in both his junior and senior years, as well as a seventh-place finish in the 1998 NYSPHSAA Class C/D state meet in the 100 meter dash. In addition to being a member of ND’s school-record-setting 1600m relay team, Chris also finished his solid track and field career as ND’s 220m [22.7] school record holder!

Chris attended Alfred University after graduating from ND where he earned a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering [2002]. He continued to pursue his love of track and field at Alfred where he was a three-time All-Conference NYSCTC [New York State Collegiate Track Conference] pole vault champion.

He served as a collegiate track and field coach working with sprinters and jumpers for 11 years [two at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., and the other nine at Willamette University in Salem, Ore.] He has been at Willamette University for the past 15 years where he currently serves as assistant athletic director for Media. In this position, he is responsible for digital and creative content for the Willamette University Athletics Department including brand management and broadcast services.

Chris and his wife, Megan, are the proud parents of their 6-year-old daughter, Lucy, and currently reside in South Salem, Ore.

Maureen Del Plato Braunscheidel ‘97

Maureen Del Plato Braunscheidel was a solid four-year, three-sport student-athlete who captained her volleyball, basketball and softball varsity-level teams as a senior, the same year she was also honored as ND’s Female Athlete-of-the-Year [1997].

She was a two-time Genesee Region [GR] volleyball All-Star [1995, 1996] and senior year [1997] Coach’s Award recipient who helped lead coach Rhonda DiCasolo’s Lady Irish team to an 41-3 overall record, a Section V Class D semifinal appearance during her junior season [1995] and a Section V Class D final appearance [1996] during her senior year. Maureen capped off her successful volleyball career by being selected to the 1996 Section V Class D NYSPHSAA All-Tournament team.

A key contributor on ND’s first ever Section V Class D NYSPHSAA Sectional basketball title in 1997, Maureen captained her team as a senior and was a two-time Genesee Region [GR] All-Star [1996, 1997] playing for Coach Bill Wade. She was also named to the Section V Class D NYSPHSAA 1997 Sectional All-Star team. She finished her hoop career as 25thall-time on the ND girls basketball scoring list.

Maureen earned Genesee Region [GR] All-Star recognition and the ND Coach’s award as a member of her Lady Irish softball team during her senior [1997] year. She finished her softball career as the leader in career triples.

The President of the ND class of 1998 and a NYSPHSAA Scholar-Athlete academic award recipient throughout her ND playing days, Maureen earned a bachelor's degree in Elementary and Special Education from Canisius College of Buffalo in 2001 and a master's in Exceptional Education from SUNY Buffalo State in 2006. She returned to Canisius to earn a building and district level certificates in Educational Administration in 2009.

She has served as a teacher [2001-2008] and Assistant Principal [2008-2013] in the Amherst Central School District, as well as the Principal of Douglas J. Regan Intermediate School in the Starpoint Central School District [2013-2016]. Maureen presently serves as the assistant superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Technology in the Starpoint school system, a position she has held since 2016.

While in Amherst, Maureen also served as the Middle School Modified Girls soccer coach [2002 – 2006] as well as the Amherst JV Girls basketball coach [2004 – 2007]. She is the founder of EdCampWNY, an annual educational professional development opportunity conference which is currently heading into its third year this month!

She currently resides in Williamsville, New York and is the proud parent of daughters Molly [10] and Megan [7]!

Jennifer Sutherland Forsyth ‘00

Jen Sutherland Forsyth left her mark in the annals of ND women’s sports lore as a stalwart member of Lady Irish volleyball, swimming and track and field teams in the latter half of the 1990s.

Jen was a key four-year member of Coach Rhonda DiCasolo’s varsity teams in the decade of the 1990s, which compiled a 66-10 win-loss four-year record between 1996-1999. She was a member of three Genesee Region [GR] Championships teams [1996, 1998, 1999] and received Genesee Region [GR] All-Star recognition as well as Section V Class D NYSPHSAA All-Tournament team recognition on two occasions [1998, 1999]. Her junior and senior year all-star performances were instrumental in qualifying ND for consecutive [1998, 1999] Section V Class D Sectional volleyball final appearances.

As a senior, Jen received the Coach’s Award, was named team MVP and also received coveted All-State volleyball recognition when named a 3d team All-State selection.

As a four-year member of the varsity swim team, she was a four-time Genesee region [GR] All-Star and earned the 1997 Most Improved Award as well as the 2000 team MVP award for helping to lead her Lady Irish swim team to the 2000 Genesee Region League title. As a junior and as a senior, she was undefeated in the 200m and 400m freestyle relay which, incidentally, set a school record during the 1999-2000 season. She finished her outstanding swim career as a member of seven of ND's top 10 record-holder lists.

Jen earned Genesee Region [GR] league track and field All-Star recognition as a junior and as a senior. She was a member of ND’s GR Champion 1600m relay team during her senior year [2000] when she also received the ND Coach’s Award.

Jen closed out her award winning career at ND by being named ND’s Female Athlete-of-the-Year in 2000.

Jen attended Alfred State College upon graduation from ND in 2000 and earned an associate degree in Liberal Arts and Social Sciences [2000-2002]. While at Alfred State, she captained the Women Pioneers collegiate volleyball team for two years and was named MVP in 2001. She also ran track for one season and medaled in the NJCA [National Junior College Association] 4x800m relay event.

She attended West Virginia University after receiving her Alfred State degree and graduated in 2004 with a B.S. Degree in Sociology. While a student at West Virginia, she was a member of the Mountaineer Womens’ Crew team and was awarded the Most Improved Crew team award in 2003 and a prestigious Division I Big East Scholarship.

Jen currently works at the Arc of Genesee Orleans in Batavia as a Quality Assurance Assistant/Investigator, as well as the co-facilitator of the “Friends for the Future” Self-Advocacy Group.

Jen and her husband Kevin [ND ’98] currently reside in Basom and are the proud parents of daughter Nora [1]. They are also currently awaiting the birth of their son Patrick in 2020!

Jen now joins her dad Bill ’67 [ND HOF ‘95] -- legendary Fighting Irish Football and Baseball Coach, Social Studies teacher and Administrator– as the first father-daughter ND Hall of Fame inductees in school history!

Team Recognition: ND Varsity Wrestling Program 1967, 1968, 1969

Coached by the legendary Ed Sullivan, Fighting Irish Wrestling teams from 1967 – 1969 combined for the best three year span dual meet record [37 – 5] in school history, which included three consecutive Bishop Smith League Championships and two overall All-Catholic Tournament Championships! A breakdown of team accomplishments includes:

1967 – Overall dual meet record [13 – 2], second place in the Medina Mustang Tournament, Co-Bishop Smith League Champions with St. Mary’s of Lancaster and the first All-Catholic Tournament Championship in school history! Six team members earned individual All-Catholic recognition: brothers Mike and Tony Cinquino; brothers Dave [captain] and Dan O’Connor; Bill Johnson and Tony Peca.

1968 – Overall dual meet record [11 – 2], third place at the NYS Catholic High School Wrestling State Championship Tournament held at Cardinal Mooney High School in Rochester, second consecutive year as both the Bishop Smith League Champions and overall All-Catholic Champions. Tony Cinquino and Dan O’Connor earned individual All-Catholic title recognition.

1969 – Overall dual meet record [13 – 1], third consecutive year as Bishop Smith League Championship and overall All-Catholic Tournament Champions. Four team members earned individual All Catholic recognition including Tony Cinquino [school record 61 consecutive dual meet wins], Dan O’Connor [captain], Don Kelly and Bruce Briggs. Cinquino’s and O’Connor’s individual championships were their third in consecutive years.

A collective roster of Varsity Wrestling team members from 1967 - 1969 being honored includes [in alphabetical order]:

Bob Balbick, Bruce Briggs, Mike Carragher, Joe Chiminio, Tony Cinquino, Mike Cinquino, Sal Cintorino, Bob Cline, Dave Dudek, Bill Fava, Tony Forti, Bill Geer, David Jamalkowski, Bill Johnson, Don Kelly, Ron Kelly, Don Linsey Jr., Tim Lippold, Charles Mullen, Tom Murray, Dan O'Connor, Dave O'Connor, Tony Peca, John Sorensen, Ricco Tepedino, and John Yanik [Mgr.]

Contributor – Edward Dwyer

Edward Dwyer, affectionately known in Batavia and throughout the New York-Penn professional baseball league as “Mr. Baseball,” was truly a civic-minded businessman who was widely respected for his leadership and promotion of many community and church organizations such as the Batavia Chamber of Commerce, Batavia Jaycees, St. Joseph’s Church Holy Name Society and the Notre Dame High School Sports Boosters Club.

He was an individual who preferred not to call attention to himself or the countless good deeds he did for others, whether it was serving as the past President of the Genesee County Baseball Club promoting the growth of Batavia’s first professional baseball team -- the Batavia Clippers -- or through his ongoing behind-the-scenes support of Notre Dame High School and the Notre Dame Sports Boosters Club.

A strong supporter of Catholic education in Genesee County, Dwyer generously promoted and supported the existence of Notre Dame High School from its beginnings in 1956 as well as being one of the founding fathers of the ND Sports Booster Club.

He specifically made it a point to support the initial growth of the ND baseball program in its early days by helping to provide the necessary supplies needed to start a program from scratch through his ties to the Batavia Clippers professional baseball organization and Wilson Sporting Goods organization. As previously mentioned, all of his gracious support was rendered without fanfare and without his need to be recognized publicly.

It is, therefore, for his unwavering support of Notre Dame High School and our original Sports Boosters Club from its early years of existence, that the Notre Dame Athletic Hall of Fame is proud to induct Ed Dwyer to the Hall of Fame in the category of Contributor.

Special Service to ND Recognition Award Acknowledgements -- Patty Panepento Daansen, and Dan and Kris Coughlin

Patty Panepento Daansen and Dan and Kris Coughlin are being recognized this year for their longstanding loyalty to and support of the Notre Dame Boys Basketball program.

Patty Panepento Daansen began keeping score for ND JV and Varsity basketball teams in 1983 and, with the exception of one year [2000] when she was living in Austin, Texas, has volunteered to serve in the capacity of official scorekeeper for legendary ND hoop coach Mike Rapone ’71 [HOF 1996] for the past 35 years! During this time period, she has enjoyed being courtside to watch and cheer for her sons Pete ’88, Dave ’89 and Rob ’93 during their ND basketball careers. Being courtside during Coach Rapone’s 1stNYSPHSAA Class D Championship in Glens Falls on St. Patrick’s Day [1992] in which son Rob played a key role was a memory she’ll never forget.

Currently a Registered Nurse, Patty began her nursing career at UMMC and has worked at Rochester General Hospital for the past 25 years as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Neurology and Critical Care.

Dan and Kris Coughlin’s connection with the Notre Dame Boys Basketball program also began with their sons’ Daniel’s ’97 and Patrick’s ’00 involvement in boys basketball; first as fifth- and sixth-grade members of St. Joseph’s Elementary School level teams, then as members of ND junior high Modified level teams and eventually as ND JV and Varsity team members.

Dan initially served as a youth coach for St. Joe’s Elementary level teams and then moved on to ND to assist Kevin Smith as the ND Modified level coach. He moved to the high school level when Dan was a freshman on the ND JV team at ND [1993] and has been running the score clock for ND boys basketball games ever since for the past 25 years!

Kris also began her dedicated service to the Boys basketball program as the official scorer for St. Joe’s fifth- and -sixth-grade level teams. She also began keeping statistics for the ND boys basketball program during son Dan’s 1993 JV season and, like husband Dan, has been also been doing so for the past 25 years. On occasion she also doubles as scorer table shot clock operator. Of note, Kris never missed a ND boys basketball game, home or away, between 1993 and 2000!

Dan retired from Xerox Corporation Research and Development in 2016. Kris has served as a RN since 1980. She worked at the Genesee County Health Department as a Public Health Nurse for 18 years before moving on to the NYS Health Department where she provides oversight of home care agencies in the 17 WNY and Rochester Region counties.

September 27, 2019 - 3:17pm

Press release:

Notre Dame High School is proud to announce that its 2019 Athletic Hall of Fame Induction will be held on Saturday, Nov. 9, at Notre Dame High School.

This fall’s program will begin with a social hour at 5:30 p.m. followed by a dinner at 6:30. The alumni student-athlete, contributor, service awards and 1967-1969 Varsity Wrestling program recognition portion of the program to follow at 7 p.m.

Tickets for this annual event will be $45/person and a table for 10/$400.

Tickets will be available through the Notre Dame Advancement Office [585] 343-2783, ext. 106, or visit the Community Tab on the Notre Dame website.

Notre Dame High School is located at 73 Union St. in the City of Batavia.

Inductees to be honored will include:

  • Richard O’Connor -- Class of ‘64
  • Robert Beyer -- Class of ‘80 
  • Amy Dwyer -- Class of ‘83
  • Maureen Del Plato Braunscheidel -- Class of ‘97
  • Christopher Sabato -- Class of ‘98
  • Jennifer Sutherland Forsyth -- Class of ‘00

Members of the 1967, 1968 and 1969 ND Varsity Wrestling Teams

  • Edward Dwyer – Contributor Category
  • Dan Coughlin and Kris Coughlin and Patty Panepento Daansen – Service Recognition
August 23, 2019 - 3:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in notre dame high school, Vietnam, batavia, alexander, veterans.

Above, Marine veteran and former Batavia resident Jim Heatherman. Photo courtesy of Jim Heatherman.

Editor's Note: Eighteen days apart in 1968 two 1964 Notre Dame High School graduates were killed in Vietnam. Today, on the 51st anniversary of one of their deaths, their classmate and fellow Vietnam vet Jim Heatherman remembers them and wishes he got to know them better.

Story by Jim Heatherman.

It has been 50 years since I was a Marine lieutenant in Vietnam. It doesn’t seem like it but it’s true. Longer still since I graduated from Notre Dame High School in Batavia. I think of those days often. Notre Dame was a fine school but certainly not heaven on Earth.

My friends and I were by no means angels when we went to school there. I remember helping to make hydrogen sulphide in the chemistry lab, which permeated the entire school with the smell of rotten eggs and nearly caused an evacuation.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a proud graduate of Notre Dame in 1964, a college graduate later, and a Marine Vietnam combat veteran later still.

Many of my family grew up, lived, and died in Batavia. My brother, Pat, and I regularly visit their gravesites although I now live in Tulsa, Okla. My friend, Dave Reilly, has written wonder articles for The Batavian reminiscing those youthful days in Batavia.

Incidentally, we older people think in our minds and hearts that we are still young people living back in the 1960s. We try to ignore the pains in our knees...and, well, everywhere else, too.

I don’t think we spent much time thinking of the world situation including Vietnam when we were in high school. We were accepting our role as average teenagers thinking mostly of driving, girls, and sports. Since most of the girls didn’t particularly care for us we were able to focus mostly on the other two things.

Of course there were other guys in our class who were better looking, smarter, and all around cooler than we were and they got the girls. I wonder whatever happened to them. And then we had other classmates who were not members of our group and we didn’t think much about knowing them at all.

One of them was Daniel Bermingham (inset photo, left), who I remember as a pleasant person but not particularly cool...like we thought we were. (He was killed on Aug. 23, 1968 in Vietnam.)

Another was Thomas Welker (inset photo, below right), who with others was bussed into Notre Dame daily from a farm community.

Like Dan, Tom was an outsider to our group and we hardly got to know him. Unfortunately that did not change through four years of high school. I’d like to think that we are now wiser than we were then. That is our blessing but it is also our curse.

Well I graduated from Notre Dame, went on to college and joined a Naval ROTC unit. When I graduated from college I was happily commissioned a Marine 2nd Lieutenant. I come from a Marine Corps family so that result was expected and inevitable.

After additional training at Quantico, Va., I got orders to WESTPAC Ground Forces. That meant Vietnam, of course. I was fortunate to survive my combat tour in Vietnam as an infantry platoon commander and battalion staff officer.

I spent several more years in the Marine Corps and then returned to civilian life. I got married and had five children. They all went to Catholic school, too, and are all college graduates.

The four boys are Marine combat veterans in Iraq and Afghanistan, later became federal agents, and one is now a United States Attorney.

My daughter is a wonderful teacher in a Catholic school in Tulsa. I go there and mostly talk about Revolutionary and Civil War battles, although the kids want to talk about Vietnam, too. I have 15 grandchildren. I go to many, many sports events. I think often how blessed I am to have that family.

Then I think of Dan and Tom -- the guys that we never really got to know in high school. When most of us were happily running off to college in 1964 they were both preparing to join the Navy.

Dan became a member of a Naval Construction Force battalion -- the Seabees -- and was eventually sent to Vietnam. People in those positions rarely die in combat but Dan was killed.

He is buried in St. Joseph Cemetery in Batavia, only 50 yards from my grandparents. I want to visit there often and leave a memento.

Tom received medical training in the Navy and became a Corpsman. Eventually he was sent to Vietnam and, of course, assigned to a Marine infantry unit.

As a Marine myself, I can tell you that no one is more revered by the Marines they serve than the Navy Corpsmen. They are always known as “Doc.” Tom was killed on a patrol with the Marines he served. He is buried in Attica.

I read in an article that his mother never really recovered from the loss of her son. I’m sure she is not alone.

Looking back now, I think of two things. As a very fortunate head of a family of 27 people today, I think of the void and unfulfilled promise that was cut down for Tom and Dan and so many others in Vietnam. The wives, children, and grandchildren that never were. Also, as a wiser and a bit more humble person now, I think that just being the goofy teenagers we were in those days should not have been an excuse for not knowing and appreciating our Notre Dame classmates, Tom and Dan, more.

Yet I’m sure we are not alone either. Wouldn’t it be nice after all these years to have a do-over?

Inset photos courtesy of Dave Reilly.

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