Notre Dame High School of Acadia Parish began its operation as a Catholic, co-educational school for students in grades 9 through 12 in September of 1967. It was formed by consolidating the three Catholic high schools in Acadia Parish; St. Michael of Crowley, St. Joseph of Rayne, and St. Francis of Iota. At the time of consolidation it was decided that the facilities of St. Michael be used until Notre Dame could build its own facility or make some other arrangements. On January 31, 1977, the Notre Dame School Board of Directors and seven church parishes purchased proportionate shares of Notre Dame from St. Michael Parish thus giving Notre Dame a permanent home in its present location.
During the Spring preceding the consolidation, committees composed of faculty members and students from all three schools met and selected possible uniforms, school colors, mascots and emblems. A school philosophy was written to guide the new school. Curriculum and faculty began to take shape.
Notre Dame’s shield symbolizes the three principal Catholic ethnic groups which originally settled the area of Acadia. The German people are symbolized by the HERALDIC EAGLE, displayed with wings and outstretched legs. The CEDAR TREE of Lebanon is the chosen symbol of the Syrian nations. And the FLEUR DE LIS (or white lily), a religious symbol, is the national symbol of France. On the base of the school shield is the Christian Cross, surmounting the Greek letter CHI, which is the first letter of the word XPITOS, meaning Christ. The crest of the shield bears the torch of education denoting the high educational goals of Notre Dame.
The words NOTRE DAME mean OUR LADY. Our Lady is perhaps the most extraordinary and prominent title given to the Mother of Jesus Christ. She is the Patroness of our school and her statue in the center of our campus is a constant reminder of our reason for existing.
Notre Dame’s mascot is the pioneer. The old frontier pioneer with his coonskin cap represents those men who pushed back the frontiers of this country. The spaceman represents the astronauts who have pushed back earth’s frontiers into space. A pioneer further symbolizes leadership, a trait which Notre Dame attempts to foster in its students as future Christian leaders. The school colors of navy blue and scarlet red depict the colors of our country and its rich heritage of liberty and justice.
The Catholic church parishes actively participating in the government of the school are: St. Michael, Crowley; St. Joseph, Rayne; St. Joseph, Iota; Immaculate Heart of Mary, Crowley; St. Lawrence, Mowata; St. Leo, Roberts Cove; St. John the Baptist, Lyons Point; and Immaculate Conception, Morse. Each church parish provides leadership in the government of the school and each financially subsidizes the school based on the number of students who attend the school from the parish. Board members are elected lay people from each parish and a Chancellor who represents the pastors of the eight church parishes.
Notre Dame is accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the Louisiana State Board of Education, and it is a diocesan school under the direction of the Bishop and the Board of Education of the Catholic Diocese of Lafayette. The school undergoes periodic professional self-study under the direction of the Diocesan School Board’s professional staff and the SACS accreditation team.