Notre Dame Academy Graduation

May 26, 2023 By Notre Dame Academy


Notre Dame Academy, the first all-girls Catholic day school in New England, celebrated its 170th Commencement on Friday, May 19, awarding diplomas to the 83 members of the Class of 2023. Special recognition was given to valedictorian Aisling McLaughlin of Weymouth, who will head to Harvard University in the fall, and salutatorian Colleen Kennedy of Hingham, who will attend the University of Richmond.

The student address was given by Emily Breen of Duxbury, who will attend Boston College in September. Breen was selected by a committee for her speech entitled, “Impact of Notre Dame Academy: Becoming the Change.” She urged her classmates to continue to “educate our hearts to be kind, compassionate and empathetic to others. Let’s remain active members of our communities fighting for global and local social justice issues.”

Notre Dame Academy’s President, Annemarie Lynch Kenneally ’80 P’13 ‘15, echoed the theme of moving confidently forward while reminding the graduates of their mission, first outlined by the founding Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1853, and the legacy of the NDA sisterhood. The young women inherit a world almost unimaginably different from the one the president found when she graduated over 40 years ago.

“But every alumna can tell you, your calling is no different,” she told the graduates. “In these times of rapid changes in seemingly every facet of our lives, with profound challenges and incredible opportunities abounding, what is expected of you as a graduate of Notre Dame is the same as it has been for nearly two centuries – to use your NDA education, your faith and your leadership to stand up, speak out and remake the world.”

Hingham Graduates: Meghan Chase, Anna Clair, Sadie Finnerty, Summer Foraste, Caroline Holland, Colleen Kennedy, Clare Kerrigan, Gillian Mohr, Claudia Montenegro, Lindsey Welch.

Retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Margaret “Peg” DeLuca Klein ‘75 delivered the 2023 Commencement address. She has served on the NDA Board of Directors since 2015, and as Chair since 2020. Upon graduation from NDA, she attended the Naval Academy and went on to receive a Master of Science from the University of Southern Maine, and a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Achieving the rank of Rear Admiral, she served as the Secretary of Defense’s Advisor for Military Professionalism, as Chief of Staff for U.S. Cyber Command, and as director of operations for the Navy’s Network Warfare Command. She has commanded an American military force of five ships, 30 aircraft and more than 3,300 Sailors and Marines in combat operations in the Mediterranean Sea. She also served as the 82nd Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, the first woman to hold that position, which was the second-in-command to the Superintendent. Upon completing her Naval career in 2017, Rear Adm. Klein served as Dean of Leadership and Ethics at the U.S. Naval War College, where she currently serves as a professor.

Dr. Mary O’Brien Merrigan of Hull has been serving as Principal since August. Merrigan was delighted to participate in her first Commencement Ceremony, “I am so proud of these 83 young women. This is an accomplished group who have worked extremely hard, and I know they will go out into the world and represent NDA well.”

As the first all-girls Catholic day school in New England, Notre Dame Academy has been delivering a unique student experience based on the teachings of the founders, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, since 1853. Their mission “to educate and empower the next generation of female leaders” is evident today on the Hingham campus, home to over 450 students in grades 7-12.

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