Notre Dame High School: Decades of shaping female minds in Sunyani

Stories and facts

Notre Dame High School (French: Lycée Notre Dame) is an all-female second-cycle institution located in Fiapre, in the Bono Region of Ghana.

This educational institution has a rich history, having been established on September 28, 1987, through the collaborative efforts of Reverend James Kwadwo Owusu, the then Catholic Bishop of Sunyani, and the School Sisters of Notre Dame, particularly Reverend Sister Dorez Mehrtens.

The local Chiefs and the people of Fiapre also played a crucial role in its founding, contributing significantly to its establishment. The school initially began with an enrollment of 37 female students.

The first premises of Notre Dame High School were rather cramped and temporarily housed in a renovated technical school located near St. Patrick's Primary and Junior Secondary School, behind the Christ the King Cathedral in Sunyani. Since its inception, the school has been led by four substantive Headmistresses, the first three of whom were School Sisters of Notre Dame.

The pioneer Headmistress was Rev. Sr. Joan Schaeffer, SSND, with Rev. Sr. Mary Busson, SSND, serving as the Assistant Headmistress. They were joined by Rev. Sr. Therese Nowakoski, SSND, Rev. Sr. Dorothy Ann, SSND, and three lay personnel who comprised the initial teaching staff.

The first cohort of students at Notre Dame High School generally consisted of those who might have been rejected by more well-endowed schools in Ghana. The vision was to establish the school in Fiapre, on land donated by the local Chief and the community.

However, progress on developing the Fiapre site was slow due to limited funding. Construction eventually began in 1992, and it was not until 1996 that the new Notre Dame Girls Senior High School opened for classes at its present site.

The foundation stone laying ceremony for the new site was performed by Rev. James Kwadwo Owusu, the then Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sunyani, in September 1996. At this time, Rev. Sr. Joan Bellew, SSND, served as Headmistress, with Rev. Sr. Mary Leonora Tucker, SSND, assisting her. The student enrollment had grown to 197.

Following Rev. Sr. Joan Schaeffer, SSND, subsequent Headmistresses continued to uphold the traditions established by the founding members. These included Rev. Sr. Joan Bellew, SSND, Rev. Sr. Vivian Zolleer, SSND, and Miss Margaret Lucy Donkor, who later handed over to Rev. Sr. Carolyn Boisabi Anyega, SSND. By the end of the 2014/15 academic year, the student population had increased to 850 students.



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