Notre Dame Academy in PNG
July 31, 2013
– Sister Bernadine with the students in NDA, PNG
Our educational ministry in Kumdi, Western Highland Province, Papua New Guinea: Notre Dame Secondary School.
Over 40 years ago on February 3, 1969, four Sisters of Notre Dame opened the doors of Notre Dame Academy for 72 girls. During the past 44 years the name has changed, the enrollment has grown, the number of lay teachers has increased, and the spirit of Notre Dame these pioneers imparted is very much alive.
Notre Dame Academy became known as Notre Dame High School which housed grades 7-10. In 2005, the school was raised to the status of a Secondary School, educating young women in grades 9-12.
Those first seventy-two students would be surprised to see the nearly 800 students of today. The first four sisters would be happy that the fruits of their labor have produced more than 7000 educated women of Papua New Guinea. Some of these along with many others have joined the teaching staff of 40. Among these are three Sisters of Notre Dame. Sister Mary Aruna Thomas (Patna) is administrator. She keeps the spirit of Notre Dame alive by assisting the first lay principal, Mr. John Kumie, in countless ways. Part of her job description also includes watching over the spiritual welfare of the students. Sister also teaches Religion.
Sister Bernadine Marie Yabimini (PNG) is a teacher of Social Science and Religion. Sister helps keep the students happy and well fed by supervising the kitchen. This is no small feat—feeding 800 girls three meals a day.
Sister Mary Tina Petrick (Toledo) keeps the spirit alive by leading the Religion Department and teaching Religion. Besides these sisters on the teaching staff, Sister Fabiola Marie Ilowim (PNG) is librarian, leads the Junior League of Mary and runs the canteen.
This year Sr. Marilyn Papa (PNG) is a nurse in the school clinic. She treats the teachers, their families and the students in the spirit of Jesus with compassion and kindness. Even though there have been many changes over the years at Notre Dame Secondary, the spirit of Notre Dame is alive and flourishing in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.
– Sister Tina and her student – Sister Marilyn
– Sister Fabiola – Sister Aruna and her students