#ShesAHound - My take away from my years as a Notre Dame ‘she hound’
Diane (Creurer) Clements ’69 ’70 ‘72
Like the majority of first-time students at a private boarding school, I was filled with both fear and excitement in taking the big jump from home into an unknown school setting. It was definitely out of my comfort zone, but a leap in personal growth that would lead to my discovery later in life of who I was and what value I had to offer others. The welcoming atmosphere of other students and teachers and leaders soon had me feeling at ease. It is hard to explain the dynamic influence Notre Dame has on its community…you have to experience it to understand!
I attended the college in the years when there was not much in the way of female sports, so we aimed to become the best super fans ever in support of the hockey and other sports teams. School spirit was so exhilarating at these events!
Ah, those wild cheers and the Notre Dame anthem! They still resound in my head even after all these years. Notre Dame life in general was all about lessons in teamwork. It was just like living in a big family with everyone looking out for everyone else. We learned how to be supportive and responsible. We learned how to be flexible and thankful. We learned to work hard and play hard, and along the way, we discovered the importance of finding that balance in life.
Becoming part of the Notre Dame Canadians Choral was a fantastic experience. There were so many talented singers and musicians who formed this choir. It was another dimension to life at the college that provided fun and friendship and a sense of commitment. I was part of the lighting crew who managed the multi-coloured lighting scheme for the various musical numbers.
However, the fact that we even had a lighting system was a miracle in itself. It was only through the creativity and hard work of some of the guys, who decided that spotlights were needed to enhance the show’s atmosphere, that we ended up with their home-made but effective portable spotlight system to take the show on the road. Those guys were a true example of teamwork at its best!
At Edith Hall, the residence itself was a setting requiring team participation in daily life from dorm duties to kitchen help to cutting heads of hair for those who were desperate for a trim! There were numerous other projects I found to volunteer for like sewing the dresses for the girls in the Notre Dame Canadian Choral group, making posters for student council elections, writing articles for the Newshound, prepping for the coffee houses at The Cup, and decorating the lower level of Kitson’s Kitchen for graduation. You can’t imagine the creativity that flowed when we transformed the cellar below Kitson’s into a Polynesian atmosphere for graduation, complete with blue sky and TIKI huts…it was a feat only accomplished through cooperation and collaboration of ideas and hard work!
There was a direct spiritual influence, through Pere and through the leadership of the Sisters of Charity, that surrounded our daily life. However, there was also a spiritual aura that was present without us even being aware. Significant but understated. The Tower of God was there for us to pass by many times each day, emitting its inclusiveness for all faiths and backgrounds. It was a subtle daily reminder of who we were and where we came from. It was a subtle nudge each day for us to strive to be the best we could be.
There are so many personal stories that each and every Notre Dame alumnus takes away, and mine include the fact that my brother David was a Notre Dame student prior to me and it is he who persuaded me to join him at the college. I am so thankful for him and my parents for this gift! In the end, he married my lifetime best friend Terry! How great is that? She was the first one at Notre Dame to lead me through the steps of being a new girl. And at Notre Dame, I also found and married my lifetime partner Bruce. Together we have raised five children with the help of the strong values instilled in us through our years at Notre Dame... values that are the foundation of Pere’s teachings on the human spirit … values of family, friendship, trust, loyalty, honesty, generosity, sharing, humility and compassion…all packed into the Notre Dame way of life.
My take away from my years as a ‘she hound’ is still applicable today: It is a gift to attend Notre Dame. Make the most of your ‘she hound’ experience. Get involved in as many of the overall school functions as you can. When you leave you take away so much more than you can ever imagine, and you will reap many of life’s rewards.