College of Notre Dame of Maryland awarded the President’s Medal to the eight young men of Baltimore’s Boys Hope Girls Hope Sept. 25 at the school’s Honors Convocation inside LeClerc Auditorium.
The award is among the college’s highest honors, presented to individuals whose outstanding personal qualities and achievements exemplify its mission. The teens are the youngest honorees in the college’s history.
The young men, all scholars and residents at Boys Hope Girls Hope in Northeast Baltimore, petitioned the ABC television show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” to build a residential facility for girls, so that they, too, can enjoy the mentoring, tutoring and scholarship benefits that the program provides to academically promising at-risk teens.
When the girls’ program was chosen, the boys worked on the building alongside hundreds of volunteers on a grueling nine-day schedule to complete the 11,000-square-foot home.
“Extreme Makeover” aired the emotional Boys Hope Girls Hope program Sept. 25. Throughout the evening, an ad for College of Notre Dame was aired regionally, asking, “Whose life will you change?”
“What these young men started, by appealing to ‘Extreme Makeover’ to build a girls’ home, is remarkable – and changed lives in profound ways,” said Mary Pat Seurkamp, Notre Dame’s president. “Through their action, an entire city came together to embrace the girls.
“Volunteers from every corner of the community worked around the clock, through the most extreme summer weather imaginable, to make the home a reality. I know this is just the beginning of many great things we will see from these extraordinary young men.”
Inspired by the young men’s commitment, Notre Dame offered full academic scholarships for the girls. Loyola University Maryland responded immediately to a request for a partnership and offered the same scholarship opportunities to the young men.
Seurkamp presented Boys Hope House Manager W. Georg Barber and Boys Hope Girls Hope Program Manager Kristy Whitman Norbert with Notre Dame’s “Pro Urbe” award. Meaning “for the city,” the honor is presented to those whose accomplishments within the community have had lasting impact.
Honors Convocation is held each fall, bringing together College of Notre Dame’s academic community to illuminate the meaning of academic honor. According to the college, new students take the Honor Pledge and wear the academic regalia for the first time. Students in the upper levels who have earned honors and awards during the previous academic year are recognized during the ceremony.
Notre Dame is sponsoring the “Whose life will you change” contest for high school and college students, as well as its graduates, who can produce and submit YouTube videos telling their own stories of how they have transformed lives, through actions large or small.
Winners will receive a cash award and a $1,000 donation to the charity of their choice. For more information, visit ndm.edu/contest.