Notre Dame Academy opened its doors in 1926 under the leadership of Sr. Mary Qualbertina Vanek. The all-girls school opened with 15 students, and by the end of the first academic year, attendance had grown to 26 students from around the Midwest.
The Academy was sponsored and staffed by the Notre Dame Sisters from its inception to its merger with Rummel High School in 1974. With this merger, Roncalli Catholic High School was formed, and continues to carry out the Notre Dame Academy's legacy today.
The Notre Dame Sisters educated thousands of young women throughout the Academy's 48 years, while additionally providing a comprehensive experience in faith, civic responsibility and community living. Even back in the 1920's the Notre Dame Sisters embraced the importance of a well-rounded education, offering numerous classes in a variety of arts and music, along with the core courses provided to the young women. Our Alumnae grew to become teachers, nurses, mothers, doctors, members of religious communities, lawyers, accountants, community volunteers and many more very worthwhile professions throughout the Omaha community and beyond. While our Alumnae are now spread throughout the United States and abroad, we still join together at least once each year to celebrate the many lessons and memories shared from experiences at Notre Dame Academy.
After careful evaluation and prayer regarding the current and future circumstances surrounding the Notre Dame Sisters, their Motherhouse and their Academy, it was decided in 1997 to continue pursuing the Notre Dame Sisters' mission of meeting unmet needs in the community, and convert the Academy into safe, affordable housing for seniors, now Notre Dame Housing.
Today 77 units are housed within the old Notre Dame Academy, with some of the original woodwork, light fixtures and embellishments still intact. December 2011 marked the addition of 30 more units, bringing our total to 105 units of safe, affordable housing for seniors in Florence. While classes are not still in session at the Academy, the spirit that the Notre Dame Sisters worked to instill in their students is still alive and well.
For a more detailed history of the Notre Dame Academy, to take a tour of the building, or further information about the Notre Dame Sisters' mission, please contact the Advancement Office at 402-455-2994.