In October 1996, groundbreaking began for St. Julie Boarding School in the Kibaale District of Uganda, East Africa. The Kibaale District was selected because of the desperate need for education in that area. Students reside at the school since it is in a very remote area and travel is difficult. The children come from several villages in the Kibaale District.
Many of the families are subsistence farmers. Some parent are traders or have a shop at the Trading Center. Others work for the government or civil services. School families are able to pay for tuition in Ugandan shillings while others families need to pay tuition "in-kind" in the form of maize, beans, groundnuts and firewood.
The National Leaving Exams are critical exams for the students because they determine admission to further education. The children from St. Julie School do exceptionally well on these tests. Class size is limited to 40 in each of the seven elementary grades.
Notre Dame Academy Senior Secondary School opened with twenty-two students in February, 2003, just five years after the opening of St. Julie Primary School. Today, NDA has one hundred and eighty girls learning in the Notre Dame tradition of education. NDA emphasizes a solid work-ethic, self respect, and personal accomplishment. Every girl is encouraged to set goals for herself and to develop a plan of action.
While many Ugandan schools require rote memorization, students at NDA are expected to apply their knowledge creatively and constructively. It is a fact of educational life in Uganda that grueling exams at the end of secondary school determine a student's future in the system. To date, Notre Dame Academy's test results are always in the top 100 of over 3,500 schools.
The education received at NDA prepares each student to be responsible leaders who make a difference in the world.
In 2008, St. Julie Nursery School was built in Buseesa, Uganda to assist children from 3-6 years of age become better prepared to enter elementary school. Currently over 100 children are enrolled in the school. The nursery school operates Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and these children live in the nearby village.
To watch a video of our St. Julie Nursery School children performing a traditional Ugandan dance, click here.
In February 2011, a second Notre Dame Nursery School opened in Mpala, Uganda. Approximately 120 children from 3-6 years of age are currently enrolled. The program runs from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Many children attend the after-school program. Transportation service is provided. These educational programs are subsidized by the generous support of donors from the Covington, KY, Thousand Oaks, CA, and Coesfeld, Germany provinces. Parents who are able to do so contribute to the cost of their child's education.