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Welcome to Notre Dame High School, a school sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, committed to excellence in education since 1955. Today, 64 years since our founding, the school has 250 students enrolled who understand the importance of scholarship, leadership and service to others. 

We strive to educate the whole person providing programs that challenge our students to develop their full potential, encouraging them to participate in the classroom as well as the many and varied co-curricular activities that are available. We are a small school, rich in tradition, preparing our students for the next level of education as well as being active contributors to their local, world and church community. 

We hope that your visit to our website is enjoyable as well as informative. Please know that you are always welcome to visit our campus. 

Sister Mary Walter Hickey, RSM 
President Emerita


Mission Statement
Notre Dame High School, a ministry of the Sisters of Mercy, is a Catholic school that seeks to prepare students for college by providing a challenging academic environment that stimulates students intellectually, physically and spiritually, in a community that respects a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives, thus inspiring life-long learners, critical thinkers, and compassionate, responsible citizens of the world.


Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Notre Dame High School will thrive as a faith-based regional college preparatory school providing a comprehensive and challenging educational experience based on best practices that develop the whole person. Notre Dame High School will prepare students to actualize their potential and become morally, socially and globally responsible adults in a safe, inclusive and diverse setting where individuals show compassion and respect for others. Notre Dame High School will enjoy the support of all of its various stakeholders, including alumni, parents, students, faculty, administration, staff, businesses, area colleges and the religious community, in order to provide a lasting legacy of Mercy education.


Here at Notre Dame, we believe in: 

  • Centering our education on a Christian value formation harmoniously blending together faith, culture and life; 

  • Continuously striving for higher academic excellence, enabling our students to achieve their maximum potential; 

  • Stressing the importance of challenging students spiritually, academically and physically; 

  • Creating a safe environment that promotes self-discipline, accountability, self-worth, responsibility and respect; 

  • Showing compassion, respect for the uniqueness of each individual, service to others and social justice;

  • Forming a close partnership of school working with student, family, church and community; 

  • Fostering a global consciousness that encourages students to be faithful, peace-making adults who are responsible stewards of the earth.

The formation of students is dynamic in nature. The religious dimension of the school is integrated into the general education of the students. Teachers create a positive and supportive climate and students are encouraged to be active agents in their own development. Emphasis is placed on the priorities of human life and the understanding of continuity between the past and today’s culturally diverse society. This focus fosters awareness in regards to the need for social justice in the world, and a personal commitment to alert, responsible and active citizenship.

As educators, we recognize the urgency to nurture our students into healthy, faith-filled peacemaking adults who will not only function in, but also provide stability and morality in a technologically driven 21st century, which will be marked by innovation.

                                           Equal Employment Opportunity and Nondiscrimination Statement

Notre Dame High School is an equal opportunity educational institution and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, gender, disability, or sexual orientation in the administration of its educational policies and programs, scholarships, tuition remission, fee waivers, athletics or extracurricular activities.  Further, Notre Dame High School will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation or military status in the hiring of personnel.  Notre Dame High School is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students, staff, and volunteers.

Sponsorship from the Sisters of Mercy

Animated by the Gospel and Catherine McAuley’s passion for the poor, we, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, are impelled to commit our lives and resources to the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy: 

  • To practice non-violence 

  • To deepen our response to racism 

  • To reverence the earth 

  • To embrace our particular concern for women 

  • To stand in solidarity with immigrants


Our history


The seed was sown for Notre Dame High School with the opening of Elmira Catholic High School in 1930. Twenty students entered that first year, attending classes in two rooms at the St. Peter and Paul's Grammar School. Two years later, the growing school moved to more spacious quarters on the third floor of St. Patrick's School. The new school offered an up-to-date laboratory, an auditorium and five bright, airy classrooms. Teaching responsibilities were shared by Sisters of Mercy and Sisters of St. Joseph. Notre Dame de Lourdes High School opened its doors to a greatly expanded student population in September 1955. In addition to former Elmira Catholic High students, young people enrolled from all Elmira city parishes as well as from Corning, Horseheads, Waverly, Athens, and Sayre. $1.6 million was invested in building this modern facility on a tract of land just south of the city. More than $500,000 was raised through the Bishop's High School Campaign conducted throughout the diocese. The Sisters of Mercy invested $300,000 of their own funds and assumed financial and operational responsibility for the school. 

The Catholic Courier-Journal declared the school a monument to the sacrificing spirit of Elmira Catholics and the daring enterprise of the Sisters of Mercy, and reported the school had launched with an enrollment of over 366 students, surpassing all expectations. A state-of-the-art auditorium offered opportunity for full-scale theatrical productions. Students made full use of modern science and business laboratories, a fully stocked library, music studies and ensemble practice rooms, and a full scale athletic program as they prepared themselves for their future. 

Today Notre Dame carries on those same traditions. With a student population of 250 students, the school continues to draw from a large geographic area in the Southern Tier of New York and the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania. The school is widely recognized for its high level of academic achievement, active community service, and winning competitive sports programs. This ministry of the Sisters of Mercy still plays a vital role in the education of our region's young people.