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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.

June 20, 2019 - 4:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in notre dame high school, batavia, news, education.

Press release:

Notre Dame High School is pleased to announce that they have several new hires that will be joining the Fightin’ Irish family over the summer. These individuals have been added in the following departments:

Art Department: Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith has a passion for motivating students to explore their creative talent, while guiding them with lessons that allow them to express their thoughts and ideas in a safe, instructive environment. She has a bachelor’s degree in Art Education from Buffalo State College and comes to Notre Dame after teaching in several local school districts, including Oakfield, Elba, Akron and Alden. She has served as a long-term substitute for Art this year and we are so excited to have her here permanently -- Welcome Kristin!

English Department: Sarah Wessel

Sarah Wessel brings vast experience in many aspects of education and communication to the English Department of Notre Dame High School. She holds a master’s degree in Curriculum and English Language Arts from the University of Phoenix and has worked as an adjunct professor for Onondaga Community College and Monroe Community College. We are so excited for her addition to our English Department -- Welcome Sarah!

Advancement: Kathy Antinore

Kathy Antinore brings a unique passion to her work at Notre Dame, as her sons are graduates of the school. She will be stepping into the role of event coordinator and comes to Notre Dame with extensive experience in marketing, customer service, and management. She previously served as the Advancement Coordinator at Notre Dame and we are excited to have her back – Welcome Kathy!

Advancement: Kate Edwards

Kate Edwards has a true passion for the students and alumni of Notre Dame. She counts her son and daughter as graduates of the school, holds a master’s degree in Reading/Language Arts and has worked extensively with Notre Dame as a substitute teacher and DECA advisor. She will be stepping into the role of part-time director of advancement and we are so excited to have her in this unique role – Welcome Kate!

May 20, 2019 - 3:21pm

Press release:

A total of 120 teen leaders from New York State, including six from St. Joseph Catholic School and Notre Dame High School in Batavia, targeted Altria Group executives and shareholders on Thursday, May 16th, with an anti-tobacco, anti-nicotine message for the fourth consecutive year.

Their actions, centered outside the Richmond Convention Center in Richmond, Va., and areas nearby, focused on why the tobacco giant baited consumers and public health officials with the promise of withdrawing pod-based nicotine products from the market in order to combat teen vaping use, only to invest billions in an e-cigarette company.

“Altria blamed nicotine pods and fruity flavors for fueling a surge in teen vaping,” said Brittany Bozzer, coordinator of the Reality Check program of Tobacco-Free GLOW. “If that’s the case, then why did they invest in Juul, the company that made these types of e-cigarettes so popular?”

Altria Group poured $12.8 billion into the e-cigarette company Juul Labs. This investment will allow Juul products to be displayed alongside regular cigarettes in the nation’s retail outlets, a combination that undercuts earlier promises Altria made with former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to clamp down on the youth vaping “epidemic.”

“Despite what they say, Altria spends billions marketing their deadly products right in front of us, first cigarettes and now Juul,” said Krysta Hansen, a Notre Dame High School sophomore and Reality Check champion.

“Their goal is to create a new generation of customers—just in a different product. Enough is enough, already!”

The demonstrating teens represent Reality Check of New York and some were dressed in waders and carried fishing poles with a fresh catch of Juul nicotine pods and Marlboro cigarettes dangling from them.

Eight Reality Check teens and two youth leaders were given shareholder proxy tickets and went inside the meeting to address corporate tobacco executives and ask questions.

Some youths took their stories right to the biggest fish – the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Altria Group, Howard Willard.

They want Altria executives, as well as the entire tobacco industry, to know that they won’t be “Fuuled” by Big Tobacco investment in Juul and will continue to carry out the awareness-raising work they start in Richmond in their communities back home.

Public health officials and youth leaders for Reality Check, who have successfully fought to eliminate youth-attracting marketing tactics like colorful packaging and candy flavors in cigarettes through the years, see this as their next big battle to reduce teen tobacco use.

Studies show that kids who shop in stores with tobacco marketing, such as gas stations and convenience stores, are 64 percent more likely to start smoking than their friends who don’t.

Reeling in more information:

Findings on youth tobacco use and tobacco industry marketing in places where children and young adolescents can see it indicate:

  • The average age of a new smoker in New York is 13 years old, and 90 percent of adult smokers say they first tried smoking by age 18.
  • The U.S. tobacco industry spent an estimated $9.5 billion on advertising and promotion of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco in 2013. This includes nearly $220 million annually in New York State, or nearly $602,000 a day.
  • Stores popular among adolescents contain almost three times more tobacco marketing materials compared to other stores in the same community.

Last week's Altria shareholders demonstration was a joint effort between Reality Check NY, No Limits of Nebraska, and Counter Tools of Chapel Hill, N.C., a nonprofit organization that provides training to public health workers who are working on point-of-sale tobacco control.

Reality Check is a teen-led, adult-run program that seeks to prevent and decrease tobacco use among young people throughout New York State.

In preparation for demonstrating on Thursday, the Reality Check youth spent all day Wednesday learning about tobacco control policies; how the tobacco industry contracts with retailers; and how they can stand up, speak out and make a difference in the fight against Big Tobacco.

For more information about Reality Check, visit realitycheckofny.org.

The New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Tobacco Control funds Tobacco-Free GLOW to increase support for New York State’s tobacco-free norm through youth action and community engagement. Efforts are evidence-based, policy-driven, and cost-effective approaches that decrease youth tobacco use, motivate adult smokers to quit, and eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.

July 20, 2018 - 2:01pm

Submitted photos and press release:

Notre Dame High School sophomores Benjamin Streeter and Krysta Hansen, as well as junior Maddie Payton -- local leaders in exposing what they see as the manipulative and deceptive marketing tactics of the tobacco industry -- have just returned from the annual Reality Check Youth Summit at Cazenovia College in Central New York.

During leadership workshops and teambuilding exercises with 150 other youth from around the state they made plans for raising awareness in their own communities about the impact tobacco marketing has on youth.

“The average age of a new smoker in New York is just 13 years old, and no one wants to see a kid start smoking,” Maddie said.

“It seems like tobacco companies are trying to deceive kids with packaging that looks like candy and thousands of flavors that appeal to kids like strawberry and bubble gum,” Krysta said.“The more kids see tobacco the more likely they are to start smoking. And we’re here to say we’ve seen enough tobacco in our communities.”

“Tobacco companies put most of their marketing in stores where 75 percent of teens shop at least once a week,” Benjamin said. “We’re speaking out in our communities and all across the state to protect youth from tobacco marketing and the dangers of tobacco use.”

Youth Demonstrated How Bright Colors, Tobacco Displays Appeal to Kids

During the Youth Summit, Reality Check members demonstrated how they believe tobacco companies’ deceptive marketing draws kids to tobacco products, using large displays of what would normally be considered kid-friendly items including large cutouts of:

  • A kids’ birthday cake with cigarettes for candles, and a banner reading “The average age of a new smoker is 13”;
  • A crayon box with cigarettes instead of crayons that reflect startling statistics about tobacco marketing and youth smoking;
  • A claw machine filled with packs of cigarettes instead of stuffed animals and toys;
  • An ice cream truck promoting tobacco product sales rather than ice cream sales; and
  • Open packs of cigarettes on the blades of a working 8’ tall x 5’ wide mini-golf windmill.















At each demonstration, Reality Check youth explained how the supposed kid-friendly exhibits grab the attention of passersby just as the tobacco industry is grabbing youth’s attention with tobacco marketing in stores.

Reality Check empowers youth to become leaders in their communities 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, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties (TF-GLOW).

#SeenEnoughTobacco is an online campaign with the goal of safeguarding children from the billions of dollars of hard-hitting tobacco promotions in places where children see them.

Parents, community leaders and others interested in protecting youth are encouraged to learn more at SeenEnoughTobacco.org.

September 7, 2017 - 3:06pm

Press release:

The families of David Swinton and Christina Volpe are proud to announce "Play It Forward," a basketball event and fundraiser to be held at 6 p.m. on Nov. 4 in the Notre Dame High School gym at 73 Union St. in Batavia.

Join us in celebrating these recently deceased Batavians for their achievements in sports and their impact on local youth.  

Members of the school alumni and staff, as well as former teammates of Christina, will play to raise funds for local charities.  

One-hundred percent of all money raised will be donated to local causes. 

The evening will begin with a welcome and greetings from Wade Bianco, principal of Notre Dame High School, and Mike Rapone, the school's Athletic director. The event will feature basket raffles, and food and beverages will be available for purchase.  

The event will center on an alumni game, which we are certain all will enjoy.

Alumni of all ages and skill levels are welcome to participate. The more the merrier, with family fun being the entire measure of success. We are planning a co-ed pickup style game, with a running clock, in which players can sub in and out as freely as necessary.

We will have officials, but we hope to see a premium of offense, and  minimum defense!

In October 2015, Christina Volpe died suddenly at St. Francis Hospital in Greenville, S.C. A graduate of Notre Dame High School and Roberts Wesleyan College, Chrissy was an outstanding player in volleyball and basketball. Many of her records set at Notre Dame are still unbroken.

Throughout her educational career, she was a source of motivation for teammates and aspiring athletes.

In November 2016, David Swinton passed away tragically while enjoying the great outdoors, one of his many passions. As a beloved and respected teacher, Dave worked with students at Genesee Valley BOCES in crisis intervention. He coached varsity soccer and softball at Notre Dame, as well as modified basketball.  

His kindness and good humor were major keys to his success.

The community is invited to come for an evening of sport and camaraderie as we remember the lives of these two people who eagerly played it forward.  

Please call to get your name on the list to play in the Alumni Game. 

"It is when you give of yourself that you truly give." (Kahlil Gibran)


  • Mike Rapone, ND Athletic Director  

           [email protected]

           [email protected]      

           (585) 343 278, ext. 115

  • Margaret and John Volpe   


  • Jane Swinton  


August 9, 2017 - 2:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Announcements, notre dame high school.
Liz Barrett and Marguerite Badami are trying to organize a reunion for the members of Notre Dame High School Class of 1972.
Tentative plans for a 45th reunion call for a social after the Homecoming Football game on Sept. 30th.
Please contact us at the following website if you are a member of our class and share with us your ideas for a reunion:
Thank you,
Liz Barrett and Marguerite Badami
October 13, 2016 - 4:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in notre dame high school, batavia, news.

From 6 to 8 p.m. next Wednesday, Oct. 19, Notre Dame High School will hold its annual Fall Open House for prospective students. Everyone is invited to come “Experience the Difference” of a Notre Dame education.

Teachers will be on hand along with many clubs and sports coaches. The Notre Dame experience is affordable for all, with more than 80 of students receiving financial aid and scholarships.

Notre Dame is a Catholic school with a physically and emotionally safe learning environment welcoming to all. Its Tradition of Excellence continues with a graduation rate of 100 percent for the Class of 2016, earning $4.6 million in scholarships. Please visit to learn more about this small school community with big school possibilities.

Notre Dame is located at 73 Union St. in the City of Batavia. Phone is 343-2783​. Email is:    ​[email protected]

September 20, 2016 - 6:10am


Batavia varsity Lady Devils Volleyball Team played last night in their annual matchup at home versus the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and won 3 sets to 1. Batavia’s first set came out on top, winning 25 to 16, led by freshman Courtnee Yasses serving one ace and servicing numerous times. Senior Courtney Burns added five kills.

In the second set, Batavia continued to start strong going on a 10-2 run, Notre Dame called time-out. They changed their game up a little and then slowly chipped away Batavia’s lead, which eventually tied the game at 18. Batavia called time-out to regroup but Notre Dame won the set 25-21. Thea Bochicchio and Julia Streeter added combined four kills. Natalie Thorton had seven digs.

Third set, Notre Dame continued the momentum to lead by a few points 10-7, then Batavia’s Courtney Burns served an ace and Batavia called time-out. Notre Dame increased their lead to eight points until Batavia regained the serve and Courtnee Yasses started to serve. The freshman continued to win points for Batavia to tie the set 19-19, Notre Dame called time-out.

Both teams exchanged the lead until the end where Batavia won by two points 25-23 to lead two games to one after three. Batavia Junior Taylor Stefaniak had six digs and Senior Maria Canzoneri had three aces and four digs.

Fourth quarter, Batavia jumped on a lead of 16-3 then Notre Dame called time-out. The Irish made some errors that let the set slip away; Batavia won 25-10, to win the match three to one. Batavia’s Stefaniak sisters each had three kills and senior Maria Canzoneri added three aces.

For more photos and to purchase prints click here.







October 8, 2015 - 9:59pm

Stroll, twist, and jive your way to "Let's Go To The Hop!" -- an old-fashioned sock hop dance organized by Notre Dame High School, the Batavia Peace Garden, and the ARC of Genesee and Orleans Counties.

Prizes will be awarded to the best dressed and to the best dancers! And what's a sock hop without having it in a gym? Student volunteers from Notre Dame High School will be decorating the gymnasium for a 1950s dance, complete with streamers, lights and a balloon arch.

Live music will be provided by The Union Blues, playing all of your favorite hits from the '50s and '60s, including songs by Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Sam Cooke, Buddy Holly, Bill Haley and the Comets, and much more! 

In addition, the ARC culinary program will have a buffet featuring root beer floats, hamburgers, soft pretzels, and more for just $5 per person. All proceeds from the buffet will benefit ARC programs.

Tickets to the dance are $10 general admission and $5 for anyone 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased at the door or at the following locations: Roxy's Music Store (228 W. Main St., Batavia), the Holland Land Office Museum (131 W. Main St., Batavia), from any Peace Garden volunteer or from any member of The Union Blues. Ticket sales are limited to the first 400 people! For more information, call 585-757-2451.

September 23, 2015 - 1:39pm

Press release:

On Saturday, Oct. 3, Notre Dame High School is proud to present the wildly funny, interactive experience of “Joey & Maria’s Comedy Italian Wedding.” You are an invited guest to an anything-but-traditional Italian wedding. The craziest two Italian families you’ll ever meet will make you dance the Tarantella, witness the vows, and take part in some unconventional surprises.

Tickets are $30/person or $55/couple, which includes appetizers provided by the Culinary Arts Department of ARC, salad, homemade spaghetti dinner (sauce compliments of Margie Misiti), homemade meatballs (compliments of ND’s principal, Wade Bianco, his wife Darlene, and Darlene’s 91-year-old mother), dessert, beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages, basket raffles, 50/50 raffles, and door prizes.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., cocktails start at 6, and dinner starts promptly at 6:30. Pre-sale tickets are strongly recommended, seating is limited. Seats are filling fast, don’t miss out.

Visit Great Lakes Productions Joey and Maria at www.joeyandmaria.com and watch the video link at the bottom of the page. See you at the wedding!

February 5, 2015 - 2:54pm
posted by Billie Owens in notre dame high school, byron, Blood Drive.

Press release from the American Red Cross:

At a very young age, Matthew Kota, of Byron, knew exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up — a doctor. But sadly, his dreams were cut short. In memory of Matthew and his 24th birthday, the Batavia community and surrounding areas are encouraged to give the gift of life and donate blood at a special American Red Cross blood drive on Saturday, Feb. 7, at Notre Dame High School in Batavia.

The recent winter weather and widespread flu have impacted the ability of some eligible, healthy donors to give blood. Dozens of blood drives have been cancelled and thousands of donations have gone uncollected because of the storms. Despite the weather, hospital patients still need blood.

“Matthew never waited for anything to happen, he made things happen,” said Jason Kota, Matthew’s father. “He was truly one of a kind and I’ve yet to meet anyone else on this earth like him.”

Matthew enjoyed the outdoors and had a smile that would light up a room, but it was his humanitarian spirit that friends and family say was contagious. Matthew had a desire to help people, and that’s one of the reasons why he became a blood donor and also volunteered with the Red Cross. He had hoped to join the Gallon Donor Club and even though he did not achieve that goal, his family and friends are now carrying out his wishes by holding blood drives in his memory.

“Matthew was our son, a friend, leader and now our Angel,” Jason Kota said.
Matthew, the eldest of four children, was just 17 years old when he passed away in 2008 from complications of brain surgery. Matthew had a large arterio-venous malformation or AVM. A vein in his head was significantly larger than it should have been. Doctors believe AVM is congenital and dates to birth.

Matthew’s family and friends say hosting this blood drive is a unique way to memorialize what Matthew stood for — helping others. They are now giving back by turning their heartbreak into hope for other families in need. Matthew’s younger brother, Sean, graduated from Notre Dame High School.

Donate Blood in Memory of Matthew Kota
Saturday, Feb. 7
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Notre Dame High School
73 Union St.

To make an appointment to donate, download the Blood Donor App, call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org

All presenting donors will receive a $5 Dunkin' Donuts card as part of the “Dunkin’ Donors Make a Difference” campaign.
The Red Cross urges healthy, eligible donors to make an appointment to give blood or platelets to help hospital patients and maintain a stable blood supply. Blood donors of all types are needed, particularly O negative, A negative and B negative and platelet donors. One blood donation can help save up to three lives.
How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org <http://www.redcrossblood.org> or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.

For more information, please visit redcross.org <http://www.redcross.org> or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross <http://www.twitter.com/redcross>.

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