Lower School Success Stories

Success Story: Gabriel Bas
Written in Fall 2015

Four years ago when the Bas family of Tyngsboro was looking around for a private school for their son, Gabriel, they searched for a school that could provide a challenging and wholistic educational environment. And that’s just what the Academy of Notre Dame (NDA) delivered according to Christophe Bas.

“We found that the curriculum in many private schools we looked at catered to learning styles that is better suited for the way girls tend to learn,” said Bas, Gabriel’s father. “But NDA does a great job of balancing curriculum and teaching styles that embrace both boys and girls. Dr. Murphy is a godsend. He really understands how to handle both genders and is very fair in all decisions he makes.” 

Dr. Robert Murphy is the principal of the Lower School for pre-kindergarten through grade eight at the Academy. He says boys and girls learn differently, but can both benefit from exposure to a variety of teaching styles. “Gabriel participated in our REACH program for Math and Reading/Language Arts,” explains Murphy. The program aims to teach students at their own level of individual readiness and often results in students who are able to matriculate one grade level ahead.”

For the Bas family it was a major reason for choosing the Academy for Gabriel’s 6th through 8th grade years. "So far I haven't learned any new material in English,” reports Gabriel in reflecting about his first year at Central Catholic High School (CCHS). “The reason for that is because I was so well prepared by Mrs. O'Connell in the REACH program at NDA who taught me so much more in eighth grade than most kids get. I want to extend a huge thank you to her and Mr. Byrnes (former Math teacher) as well as all my other teachers at the Academy for preparing me so well and pushing me to the level I'm at now." 

Gabriel graduated from eighth grade at the Academy in the spring of 2015. He was recently selected as one of only four students in his grade at CCHS to be invited to a special breakfast to recognize the best performing and most promising students. “I am motivated by everything I haven't achieved yet. My dream is to be a pediatrician."

“The Academy exceeded beyond my expectations in terms of preparing Gabriel for high school,” says Natana DeLong-Bas, Gabriel’s mother. “NDA did more than just teach him content - the teachers really encouraged him to think critically and participate thoughtfully in class discussions and debates.”

Another reason the Bas family chose the Academy was for its solid mix of male and female teachers. DeLong-Bas worries that for all the attention given to the need for positive role models for girls that boys are being left behind. “They need strong role models, too, particularly of men who set alternative examples of what it means to be a man from what we see on TV. Gabriel needed to see in his own world that men can also be nurturing, compassionate, intelligent, and intellectually demanding. NDA provided that at many levels and I will always be grateful.”

Gabriel and his parents are thankful for every academic challenge whether it was in foreign languages, math, literature, religion or guitar. They offer advice for those considering schools now. “I would encourage parents who are looking for a serious academic program to strongly consider NDA. The foundations are solidly provided and NDA has both a strong track record and a solid future vision of what it is trying to achieve in terms of forming educated, whole persons,” says DeLong-Bas. Gabriel’s advice for other students is to explore their interests, be prepared for tests, do personal reading, and to listen to their teachers. “It’s tough, but worthwhile.”

The Academy of Notre Dame holds Shadow Days for prospective Lower School students and also has a scheduled Open House in January. To learn more about these opportunities, visit www.ndatyngsboro.org/admissions, email admissions@ndatyngsboro.org, or call 978-649-7611, Ext. 351.