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Miracle on campus; Notre Dame Academy celebrates Christmas


Zachary Moran meets Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Notre Dame Academy Christmas extravaganza on Dec. 17. (Photos by Patrick J. Buechi)

Christmas came a few days early to South Buffalo when Notre Dame Academy hosted a Magical Notre Dame Christmas. The Covid conscience Dec. 19 event saw the school campus turned into a winter wonderland with horse-drawn carriage rides, donuts and a hot chocolate bar, along with a performance from the South Buffalo Dance Academy, a magic show with the world’s largest elf, and of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus, who posed for photos with the children.

Although it was quite cold outside, plenty of fun actives took place inside the school for the youngsters, such as ornament making, cookie decorating and coloring contests. Outside they did held a scavenger hunt in search of all the elements mentioned in the “12Days of Christmas.” All the visitors joined in the tree lightening ceremony at the close of the festivities.

“The event actually exceeded our expectations,” said Erin Commerford, one of the organizers. “We had an excellent turnout and great feedback about our Christmas event. We hope this becomes an annual tradition for families of Notre Dame students and alumni.”

The special day started out as a fundraising Santa Breakfast. Covid restrictions sparked the idea of adding an outdoor element.

“Over the course of a month, it went from a breakfast to a full-blown Christmas extravaganza,” said Commerford.

The event was organized by the newly formed South Buffalo Catholic Elementary Schools Alumni Group, made up of graduates of Notre Dame Academy, St. Martin of Tours, St. Ambrose, Holy Family, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Agatha, Trinity, St. Teresa, St. John the Evangelist and St. Bonaventure. Those schools have merged to form Notre Dame Academy. The group already has nearly 900 people on its Facebook page and encourages others to join.

“Our alumni group was formed to create a sense of community for alumni of South Buffalo Catholic Elementary schools that are now closed,” Commerford explained. “What many did not realize is that these schools came together to form Notre Dame. We created the alumni group to welcome alumni into our Notre Dame community and to ensure Notre Dame Academy is a part of the South Buffalo community for years to come.”