Former NDA Teacher Reflects on Her Experience Here


Lauren Van Gheem, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Notre Dame Academy is a place of joy and happiness for many, including Tracie Van Gheem-Rottier who taught at NDA from 1997 to 2002. She now teaches at Pulaski High School.

“I fully believed that God led me to be at NDA. I had two offers from other schools and chose NDA over them due to the supportive and spiritual environment. It was one of the best professional decisions that I have ever made,” said Van Gheem-Rottier.

Van Gheem-Rottier enjoyed contributing to many places and clubs around Notre Dame. Her roles at NDA included Spanish Teacher, levels I and III (1997-2002), Foreign Language Department Head (2000-2002), Forensics Coach (1997-2002), Advisor of Outreach Branch/Student Government (1998-2002), NDA Works Event Organizer ( 1999, 2000, 2001) and Faculty Co-chair.

Van Gheem-Rottier has many great memories of NDA, especially service-oriented activities. She shared her favorite, “The Outreach Branch of Student Government organized an annual basketball game. NDA students competed in a basketball game against a Special Olympics Team. It was so heartwarming. We also organized some wonderful all-school prayer services.”

Although Van Gheem-Rottier loved her time at Notre Dame, during her first year she faced a struggle outside of the classroom.

“My brother, Tyler, sustained a serious head injury during my first year at NDA. He was in a non-responsive state (coma) for over a month,” she said.

She left every day at lunch to visit him and cheer up her mother who spent every day with him. She explained how supportive the staff was during this difficult time.

“The musical even dedicated one of their performances to him. It was all so heartwarming and comforting during such a difficult time for my family and me,” Van Gheem-Rottier said.

She enjoys the students and staff at Pulaski who are like a family. She loves that both Pulaski and Notre Dame are filled with “caring staff, talented students and a service-oriented community.”

Van Gheem-Rottier met two of her most important mentors at NDA, Carolyn Brown and Sr. Pat Clement.

“They were very generous in spirit and amazing role models. They have made such a lasting impact both personally and professionally,” she said.

Challenges do not seem to phase Van Gheem-Rottier as she said, “Challenges are what you make of them. At the end of the day, what matters most is how we treat one another. No matter what the challenge, we can always be our best self and rise to the challenge to bring out the best in each other.”

Outside the classroom she loves spending time with her husband and children, watching them grow in each stage of their life.

“In twenty years I hope to be living out my ultimate dream of being a grandma to happy and healthy grandchildren. This has been my dream for years,” she said.

Van Gheem-Rottier said, “I look forward to every single day. Each day is a gift.”